Indulgent Radovljica: Chocolate and Hiking

The Radovljica Chocolate Festival is rapidly approaching – just 5 days to go now. The Festival will take place over two days; Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April, from 9am – 7pm both days. Chocolate has been even more at the forefront of my mind of late having translated the Festival website and programme, meaning I’ve had plenty of time to suss out which events in the programme I will be attending. I will be sure to coincide my visit(s) at the time when the giant 90kg Gorenjka chocolate bar is going to be dished out among visitors as well as for other events in the programme including the Three Chefs’ Cookery Show, where three of Slovenia’s top chefs – Uroš Štefelin, Bine Volčič and Igor Jagodic, will be creating chocolate masterpieces. There will also be workshops and entertainment for children, and for adults, such as ‘Cognac, Cigars and Chocolate’, a Chocolate Fashion Show, chocolate body painting and more. If you are planning to visit, check out the programme to plan which events you wish to attend – http://www.festival-cokolade.si/en/

For those who are Facebook users, be sure to ‘like’ my ‘Adele in Slovenia’ Facebook page (the like button is opposite) to keep updated with hot-off-the-press news about the Chocolate Festival and about other events and news in the Radol’ca area.

Additionally, some of the restaurants involved in the Taste Radol’ca project are offering special chocolate themed menus all this week. So yet another reason/excuse for a little (over)indulgence and at just 13 euros for 3 courses, a bargain too! I’m having a hard time deciding which of them to visit as all the menus sound so appetising, and there are only so many days in a week, but I’m certainly planning on visit at least a couple of them. So all in all it looks like a gluttonous and overindulgent week, and weekend, in store for me! Anyone care to join me?!

In light of the above, its just as well that the weather is conducive to outdoor pursuits and that I am able to make time for some long hikes too, as I did on Sunday. For a change of scenery I set off early from home to Preddvor, approximately 40 minutes from Radovljica, and then started my hike at the small Black Lake (črno jezero). As well as being the starting point for many hikes in the surrounding hills and mountains, the small lake, the Bor Hotel and the 16th century Hill Castle (Grad Hrib), make an idyllic, and romantic, destination for a short stroll and from where to admire the peaceful and scenic surroundings at the foot of the Storžič and Zaplata mountains.

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My first destination was St. Jacob’s church (Sv. Jakob). From Preddvor, the route up to the church takes approximately one hour and is a very popular one, especially on a sunny Sunday following a rainy Saturday as was this one. Fortunately as I set off early, most of the people I encountered were on their way up as I was already making my way back down. The majority however only go as far as the church and then stop to enjoy the view and/or some refreshments at one of the two huts – Planinska koča Iskra na Jakobu (961m) and the Planinska Koča pri Franciju (930m). It is a rarity to find two huts so close together so hikers here are spoilt for choice.

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Unfortunately it was pretty hazy so the conditions weren’t conducive for getting any great snaps but I’ve included a few anyway, and more can be seen on my Pinterest account. As can be seen, this area offers a wealth of hiking possibilities and tours can be as long or as short as desired. On this occasion I continued from the church directly up to Potoška gora (1283m) then on to the peak of Javorjev vrh (1434m), which offers far-reaching views across the Kamnik Savinja Alps; towards the peaks of Srednji vrh, Kozji vrh and onwards towards the Jezersko valley. To my surprise the route was entirely snow free, although there is still significant snow on the north facing slopes of these peaks.

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The fine spring weather also means that work clearing up the damage from February’s ice-storm is progressing well, at least in this area. I encountered a few areas with damage and fallen trees during my hike on Sunday but once above 1000 metres, the damage is minimal. At this time of year the forests are also carpeted in wild garlic, which has a very pungent though not unpleasant smell and you can expect to find dishes featuring wild garlic, such as soup and risotto, featuring widely on seasonal restaurant menus. Here’s hoping the fine weather continues this week so I can get out hiking and biking this week too – in between the indulging that is!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014

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