Golica’s Daffodils / Cycling Bled to Bohinj

Golica is one of the most known peaks in the Karavanke range and is at its most popular during May when the daffofils which grow on its slopes are in full bloom.

If I crane my neck I can just about see Golica from my bedroom window so I had been looking daily to see whether the snow would melt quickly enough to coincide with the daffodils blooming. A few weeks ago the snow was beginning to melt but then a cold snap brought rain to the valley and snow at higher altitudes, meaning Golica was once again snow-capped. Now however, thanks to the glorious temperatures of the past week, the sunny side of Golica i.e. the Slovene side, is largely snow free and now is the perfect time to make the trip – be quick though, the daffodils on the lower slopes are already almost past their best, but up higher they are just coming into their peak bloom.

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It’s always one of my favourite times of the year as the blossoming of the daffodils is a sure sign of the end of winter and the promise of the sunnier, warmer months to come.

There are a number of ways of reaching Golica. Among then, routes lead from the villages of Planina pod Golico, Javorniški rovt or from the Dom Pristava mountain hut. Always one to choose a circular route if it is possible, I usually opt for the route which leads past the Sava Caves (Savske jame) and upwards through pastures, before traversing the high ridge with stunning views of Slovenia on one side, and Austria on the other. After the final ascent to the highest point of Golica (1836m) a gully leads down to the mountain hut Koča na Golici (1582m), where drinks and traditional Slovene mountain food can be bought and enjoyed – with stunning views at no extra cost! From the hut, a path leads down through the forest, eventually returning to the start of the route. Note – there is also a more direct, steeper ‘winter’ path down through the forest which is, true to its name, steep, and involves a couple of sections of secured climbing.

Last Sunday saw the revival of a tradition dating back 80 years, whereby visitors from far and wide come to Radovljica by train (or otherwise) to the event entitled ‘By Train to Lectar for Goulash, Ritoznojčan and Rolls’ (Z vlakom k Lectarju na golaz in ritoznojčna – kot nekoc). After boarding the train, complete with entertainment and schnapps upon arrival in Radovljica, visitors were escorted on the short few minute walk from the train station into the medieval town centre where they were greeted by Lectar’s ever-jovial owner, Jože, live music, gallons of cauldron-cooked goulash and the ‘Ritoznojčan’ wine – transported by old-timer bus by vintners from the Ritoznoj hills in the Štajerska region of Slovenia. The event was a great success, well attended both by those visiting Radovljica and locals, some even went to the effort of dressing up in period clothing, and looks set to be another valuable addition to the ever expanding Radovljca Events Calendar. More photos of the event can be seen on Pinterest.

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There has long been call for there to be a cycle path between the popular tourist destinations of Bled and Bohinj – alas it has never come to fruition and in truth, it is unlikely to do so, at least for the foreseeable future. Although it is possible to cycle between the two places, the road, particularly during the height of summer, is narrow and busy and although I have cycled it on several occasions, it’s really not suitable for family cycle trips. Those with mountain bikes and an acute sense of direction can make the long trip up over Jelovica – but the plateau is vast and it would be very easy to lose your bearings, so for visitors again isn’t advisable unless you are with a local and/or guide. The good news however is that in recognition of this need, the Bled-Bohinj Cycle Day was started last year and its intended it will now be an annual event. This year the event will be held on Saturday 31st May, beginning at 8am when groups of cyclists will set off towards Bohinjska Bela and cycle beside the Sava river to Nomenj. Sections of the road will be closed at 11am to ensure the safe passage of cyclists to Ribčev Laz and Bohinj Lake. At 1pm the event will end at the Senožeta Sports Centre in Srednja vas, where cyclists will be rewarded with refreshments. The recommended return route is by bike to Bohinjska Bistrica then by train to return to Bled. Weather permitting, it promises to be great day out for all the family. Prior registration is required and more information can be found here – http://www.bled.si/si/dogodki/2014/05/31/1324-Kolesarski-dan-Bled-Bohinj

This past week was also marked by a minor celebration on the achievement of my blog receiving its 20,000 reader – something which is all the more astonishing since it means that in the first 5 months of 2014, there have been as many readers as in the whole of 2013. To date, readers have come from over 90 countries. To say I’m delighted is an understatement and I hope the trend will continue. Thanks to all of you for finding and reading my blog and for all the lovely feedback and messages I have received – which help to make the effort worthwhile. Long may it continue!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014



Taste Radol’ca – Joštov Hram, Podnart

It has long been a matter of debate as to whether or not Slovenia is a member of the Balkans or not. According to many official sources, the Balkan region takes its name from the Balkan mountains, which run from the east of Bulgaria to the east of Serbia, and Slovenia is listed among the countries which lie within its boundries. However, opinions still remain firmly divided about this; some saying that the borders are hard to define and it may be that only parts of Slovenia lie within the Balkans; others state that despite Slovenia being part of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia’s economy, architecture, heritage, culture and numerous other factors, set it miles apart from other Balkans states. No doubt we could all put in our two-pennies worth about this, but I won’t be entering into the debate other than to say that Balkans or not, Slovenia can surely only be richer for its ties, geographically or otherwise, with its neighbouring countries.

It’s also these ties that leads Slovene cuisine to being so diverse. Over the years its own national cuisine has been influenced by both its neighbouring Balkan countries, and the other countries it borders; Italy, Austria and Hungary, with each region of the country also having its own specialities.

The restaurant Joštov Hram in Podnart is a shining example of this diversity. It could be described as offering ‘Balkan cuisine’, but its also so much more than that. I’d perhaps label it ‘Balkan cuisine with Slovene finesse’ – hmm, that could be a catchy new slogan!


is a small village at the end of the Jelovica plateau and Lipnica Valley, and beside the Sava river. From the outside the restaurant looks somewhat unprepossessing, and in truth the interior is perhaps slightly underwhelming and dated but this belies the ambience and the food, which is certainly far from unprepossessing. I have cycled past countless times, as the restaurant lies directly on the Lowland Cycle Route (http://www.radolca.si/en/lowland-cycling-trail/), and I had always said to myself that I would one day stop off to take a peek. However, since Jostov Hram is also now one of the 7 restaurants that participate in Taste Radol’ca, and as I am working my way around visiting them all, this gave me the perfect opportunity to go, albeit on this occasion I went by car as rain was forecast, and boy did it arrive too! Taste Radol’ca is particularly ideal for a restaurant such as Jostov Hram, as due to its slightly more remote location, it could so be easily overlooked, but by participating in this, as well as being one of the regular participants in the Ljubljana Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhinja), it has assured them greater, and deserved, recognition.

A friend and I visited on a mid-week evening and although the restaurant was quiet, the bar area was busy with locals partaking in a schnapps or two! We dispensed with the need for menus and surrended ourselves to the chef and owner, Miso’s, suggestions and recommendations i.e. a bit of everything! Miso is also ably assisted in the kitchen by his mother – and his bubbly wife Anja, who came to chat with us during dinner to – ensuring its a real family affair. I did also however take a moment to look at the menu just to suss out what else was on offer for future visits (of which there will certainly be), and its fair to say there’s something to cater for all tastes.

  • We began with roast red peppers, stuffed with cheese and coated in a light batter (and a glass of white for good measure!).


  • Followed by leskovački ustipaki. There really is no direct translation for these so I’ll describe them – small meat patties made with minced meat, bacon, cheese and seasoning.


The next plate of delights comprised vešalica (pork loin) wrapped in pancetta, served with šobska salad (cucumber, pepper, onion and white cheese – the usual accompaniment to grilled dishes), prebranac (akin to oven-roasted baked beans) and lepinja (a round flat bread).


  • Dessert was candy for the eyes as well as the palate. A whole apple, peeled and stuffed with apricot jam, in a vanilla and chocolate sauce. Need I say more!


In fact, the whole experience has just left me with one problem – how am I ever going to be able to cycle past again without diving in for sustenance! 
Here are just some of the f
orthcoming events and news in the Radol’ca and Bled areas for the week ahead:

I am the bearer of some very good news for visitors to the area. Following February’s ice-storm, and the huge devastation it left behind, the ever popular Vintgar Gorge re-opened to the public on Friday 16th May. More about Vintgar Gorge can be found here – http://www.vintgar.si/gorge.html

Tuesday 20
thMay – Bees and Blossoms (Cebela in cvet)

Opening of an exhibition at the Lesce Bee Centre at 6pm, to celebrate the birth of Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern apiculture.


Saturday 24
thMay – Octet Lip Bled

A concert by the Lip Bled Octet choir will begin at 7pm in the Baroque Hall of the Radovljica Manor – entrance is free.

Saturday 24
th May – Through the Alpine Valley by Bike or on Foot (Po alpskih dolinah s kolesom ali peš)

This event, organised by Triglav National Park, offers recreative cycle tours and walks for all the family. It begins at 10am at the Slovene Alpine Museum in the village of Mojstrana – http://www.bled.si/si/dogodki/2014/05/24/1841-Po-alpskih-dolinah-s-kolesom-ali-pes-v-Radovno-in-Krmo

25th May – Magical Day in Bled (Čarobni Dan)

A day full of magical treats for the whole family. Sports activities, dancing, and a whole host of events and special offers including reduced price entrance to the castle, horse and carriage rides, boat trips, mini-golf, summer sledging and more. More information can be found here – http://www.carobnidan.si/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014

Potica of Our Roots / The Babji Zob Cave

Potica is probably one of the best known Slovenian sweet treats. It can best be described as something of a cross between a cake and a bread; a dough filled with one of a variety of different fillings. Some of the most popular fillings are poppy seeds, walnuts, curd cheese or tarragon, though there are actually up to 80 different varities of potica including some which are savoury. Although these days potica is available throughout the year, it is most widely sold, and consumed, at Christmas and Easter, when supermarket and bakery shelves are laden with a wide assortment and no family gathering is complete without it. Many people opt to make their own and there are no doubt countless recipes that have been handed down through the generations and which remain a closely guarded family secret.

So it was with interest that I read about a ‘new’ potica that has been created to evoke memories of old. Potica naših korenin, meaning ‘Potica of Our Roots’ was created by one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin (seen with co-owner Marcela, below), from Vila Podvin in Mošnje. The idea behind the creation was to use the best Slovene ingredients to create a unique two-flavoured potica, uniting two of the most popular ingredients, walnut and curd cheese, and enriched with dried pears and honey.

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I have already written about Vila Podvin in a previous blog (http://wp.me/p3005k-ai ) and you can read more about it in the ‘Taste Radol’ca’ section page. However, on reading about the new potica, I decided it was high time to pay another visit! Since my last visit Vila Podvin now also has an in-house ceramics studio and have launched their own range of pottery, and it was on this that I was served a nice cup of tea (so English!), some of the new potica and, as an added treat, chocolate-covered miniature pears (tepke) and pear schnapps – all of which I can attest were delicious.

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So once again after all that eating, it was time to get moving and exploring again and the 1st May Traditional Walk to the Babji Zob Cave was just the ticket. Babji Zob itself, meaning ‘Hag’s tooth’, is a rock which stands on the northwestern edge of the vast Jelovica plateau and high above the villages of Bohinjska Bela and Kupljenik, near Bled. The entrance to the Babji Zob cave, suggested by some sources to be the second oldest cave in Slovenia, is found at an altitude of 1,008m, so a little effort is required to reach, the path leads steeply up through the forest, but it’s worthwhile. Its relatively remote position makes it all the more surprising that it was discovered ‘by coincidence’ some 200 years ago by a local villager. Unlike some of the larger ‘tourist’ caves in Slovenia, such as those in Postojna and Skocjan, the Babji Zob cave is not open for mass tourism and is usually only open to the public for the traditional 1st May walk, during the summer on Sundays at 10am, and by prior arrangement with one of the professional guides. There are no fancy Disney-like experiences to be had here but the guides, from the local cave exploration society, have installed makeshift staircases and lighting and with caution, and good footwear, it is possible to see a 300 metre stretch of the cave’s fascinating interior with its dripstone formations and calcite crystals. You can read more about Babji zob, and arrange guided visits here – http://www.bohinjskabela.si/znamenito/index_en.html

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Forthcoming events and news:

Friday 16th May – The Opening of Vurnik’s Days in Radovljica.

IVAN VURNIK (1884–1971) was an architect and urban planner who, along with Jože Plečnik and Maks Fabiana, was considered one of the pioneers of modern architecture and fathers of urban planning in Slovenia. To mark the 130 years since his birth, there will be a series of exhibitions, talks and trips beginning on Friday 16th May with the opening of exhibitions in the Šivec House Gallery and the Radovljica Mansion. There will be a number of events taking place until the beginning of June and an additional feature will be a special ‘culinary surprise’ Vurnik’s Menu at Vila Podvin restaurant, available until the 2nd June. More information about Vurnik’s Day can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/kaj-poceti/dogodki/vurnikovi-dnevi-v-radovljici/83/434/


Saturday 17
th May – Triglav National Park Market, Bled

Every third Saturday in the month, there is a small market held at the Triglav National Park Information Centre in Bled from 10am – 12 noon. A variety of local products are offered such as fruit and vegetables, honeys, dried meats, dairy products, herbs and more.

Sunday 18
th May – International Museum Day

To mark International Museum Day, events will be taking place throughout Slovenia. In the local area free entrance will be available to Radovlijca’s museums; Museum of Beekeeping, Municipal Museum, Šivec House Gallery, Iron Forging Museum in Kropa, Museum of Hostages in Begunje. More information about Radovljica’s museums can be found here – http://muzeji-radovljica.si/

Triglav National Park – The Pocar Farmhouse

Additionally, at 12noon on Sunday 18th May, Triglav National Park’s Information Point in Upper Radovna (Zgornja Radovna) will host an unveiling of restored paintings, an exhibition and short talk at the Pocar Farmhouse (Pocarjeva domacija). The farmhouse itself, one of the oldest homesteads within Triglav National Park, is now a museum. More information can be found here – http://www.tnp.si/experience/C206/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014

Taste Radol’ca – Gostišče Tulipan

Regular readers of my blog will notice that it has received something of a facelift! The new layout and design has additional pages and I have also made it easier for you to connect directly to my Facebook page (be sure to ‘like’ it if you want to keep updated with the latest news and events in the area) and Pinterest (for photos). There is also a search box where you can enter any key words, such as ‘The Julian Alps’, and you will find all posts from the archives related to that, plus a ‘Follow‘ box whereby you can opt to automatically receive new posts every time they are published. I hope you like it!


One of the great things I’ve discovered about writing my blog is that it has also helped me to discover some of the great things on offer in Radovljica and the surrounding areas that are right there under my nose but I have, thus far, neglected to see and do. It’s so often the case isn’t it, that we become blinkered and fail to stop and appreciate what is on our doorsteps. For example, when I was working in London I rarely, if ever, took the time to stop and admire the architecture, to appreciate the diversity of the culture on offer and to visit the many sights that are so appealing to tourists. Now however, when I visit the UK as a tourist myself, I see it from an entirely different perspective and revel in feeling like a tourist once again. This could so easily also the case here in Slovenia, but despite having lived here for 7 years now, I still find myself with an unquenchable desire to explore, to find new places to hike, cycle, visit, eat and to meet more interesting people. Writing my blog is also a driver of this as it gives me the impetus to ‘get out there’ and discover and make the most of what surrounds me.


And so it was, that after 7 years of having driven past but inexplicably never been inside, I visited the restaurant and guest house Gostišče Tulipan in Lesce. Having done so, I simply cannot understand why I hadn’t been before, more fool me, since after visiting for the first time on a surprisingly busy midweek evening, I then found myself there again 3 nights later with a friend visiting from the UK, and once again during the following week. I’m in no doubt that I will be frequenting their establishment in the near future again too – what a revelation!


Gostišče Tulipan consists of a large main restaurant, the smaller Hunter’s Room, a winter garden, terrace and 6 guest rooms. What I particular noticed was the warm welcome I received and the complimentary aperitif received whilst perusing the menu was a nice touch. In fact, despite the long and comprehensive menu, the decision was made easy for me as I discovered that due to the success of the menu specially prepared for the week of the Radovjlica Chocolate Festival, they had decided to continue offering the menu for the entire month so I plumped for that with no hesitation.


The speciality of the restaurant is that everything that is used is either home-grown, in their own garden, and/or sourced locally and only the freshest, seasonal produce is used. They offer a wide menu with a variety of house dishes and specialities including game, fish, meat, pasta and a salad bar laden with choice. The menu I chose consisted of the following and was excellent value at 13 euros for 3 courses:


  • ‘Chamois’ Soup with a pheasant dumpling and vegetables


  • Roast chicken fillet with teran sauce and strawberries, homemade chocolate strukelj with prunes, asparagus cream

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  • Chocolate cake (known as hind of deer due to its shape) with greengage jam and tarragon ice-cream


Gostišče Tulipan is also one of the 7 restaurants that participate in the Taste Radol’ca project. I have now added an entire section of my blog about this – see the ‘Taste Radol’ca tab above. More about Tulipan can be found here – http://www.tulipan-azman.si


This past week there were 2 public holidays as well as it being school holidays all week. I had quite a few things planned but the weather was rather unpredictable all week, with heavy afternoon showers every day, which somewhat curtailed my plans but nevertheless I still managed to get out hiking and cycling every day and on the 1st May holiday I visited the mysterious world of the Babji zob cave and also visited Vila Podvin to test out the new kind of potica, which is a traditional rolled filled cake ‘potica iz naših korenin‘ – more about both of these next week.


Meanwhile, this week on Friday 9th May a ‘European Village‘ will be created in Linhart Square in Radovljica’s old town. This now annual event sees pupils from schools in the local area setting up stalls representing each of the different EU countries and presenting their culture, food and other traditions. The ‘village’ will be open from 9am – 1pm and entrance is free. More information about this and other events can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/


In Bled the International Cocktail Competition will take place on the 6th and 7th of May at the Panorama Restaurant and the 46th International Writers’ Meeting will take place from the 7th – 10th May with this year’s theme being based on 1st World War literature entitled ‘Faces of Peace – A Farewell to Arms’. More information about both these events can be found here – http://www.bled.si/en/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014