Despite the mountain of work awaiting me, and despite my best intentions to spend the day tackling it, when I woke up on Sunday morning to see the perfect blue, cloudless sky above Stol, theI lure of the mountain ‘proper’ won out over the lure of the mountain of work – and so off I went.
At 2236m, Stol, meaning ‘chair’ due to its shape, is the highest peak in the Karavanke range, is a landmark in the Gorenjska region. Luckily for me, I can see it from my bedroom window. It is quite common for its peak to be shrouded in cloud and often accompanied by a strong wind too. However, this Sunday there wasn’t a cloud in sight other than a few whispy ones that disappeared as quickly as they appeared. There was also no wind blowing, not even a breeze, and also neither searingly hot nor unpleasantly cold – in short, a perfect day for it. Many people choose to drive up and start their hike from the Valvasor mountain hut (1181m), cutting about an hour off the time needed for the ascent. I however prefer to begin from the valley floor in Završnica. Setting off from the car park next to the small reservoir, I followed the path, first to the Valvasor hut, then onwards and upwards via the (slightly steeper and shorter) Žirovniška path, descending via the (slightly longer and less steep) Zabreška path – this making it a circular route. As can be seen in the photos below, there’s still a little snow up there, in the gully between the top of Stol, to the left, and the Prešeren mountain hut (Prešernova koca), to the right. However, as the route up is on the sunny, southern facing, side it has almost all gone. The same cannot be said of the Julian Alps, where there is currently still a lot of snow remaining. As the Karavanke form a natural border between Slovenia and Austria, Stol can also be climbed from the Austrian side, though the ascent is more exposed, more rocky and, at this time of the year, more snowy than the southern facing Slovene side. Of course, with it being such a lovely day, I certainly didn’t have the place to myself. You can probably just about make out the ant-like looking line of people on the top in the photos below.
On Saturday afternoon, I popped to Bled to the opening of the summer season programme of the Sava Bled Hotels group, on the terrace at Hotel Park overlooking Lake Bled. The hotel is famous for its Bled cream cake ‘kremšnita’, which it has been producing for over 60 years. The cake comprises a thick layer each of cream and custard between two sheets of thin pastry. As well as the ever popular cake, this year some new flavours of the cake have been created, including chocolate and forest fruits. Not one to turn down such an opportunity, and seeing as they were on a special 2-for-1 offer, I, of course, indulged and, being the chocoholic that I am, can confirm they are both equally delicious with the chocolate one perhaps just edging it for me! You can read more about the Bled cream cake here – http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/symbols-of-bled/cream-cake
The Bled Sava Hotels also have a packed programme of musical events throughout the summer including traditional Slovene evenings, music and dance nights by the lake, acoustic music evenings, a cappella performances and more – and even better they are free to attend too (though of course some form of eating and/or drinking will be encouraged!).
Talking of hotels, last week, coincidentally on the same day, saw the official opening of 2 new exciting additions to Slovenia’s range of hotels. In Ljubljana, the Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons opened. This was quite a major event as it is the first globally branded hotel to enter Ljubljana for over a decade. Meanwhile, in Bled the new eco-tourist green resort – Garden Village Bled – also opened. I have yet to go and take a peek (its on my ‘to-do’ list) but it looks pretty exciting and unique and I will write more about it once I’ve had a chance to get there in person.
Schools in Slovenia officially break up today (24.6.). Yes, the school summer holidays here are very long! Tomorrow, 25th June, is a public holiday – Statehood Day (dan državnosti).
With the holidays here there are now even more events happening around the Radovljica/Bled areas, just some of which I have picked out and listed below:
Wednesday 25th June – Free Guided Tour of the Path of Peace (Pot miru) in Brezje – Meet at the restaurant Pr’Finžgarju – 9am
Thursday 26th June – Slovene Evening with Live Music at the restaurant Gostilna Tulipan in Lesce – 7.30pm
Friday 27th June – Free Guided Walk of the new Bled Fitness Promenade – 5pm
Friday 27th June – Open-Air Cinema at Linhart Hall, Radovljica (and every Friday throughout the summer) – French comedy film ‘9 mois ferme’ (9 mesecev šoka) – 9pm
From 1st – 17th July – The 19th International Music Festival Bled – A variety of music; classical, jazz, cross-over in different locations around Bled. More information can be found here – http://www.bled.si/en/events/2014/07/01/1329-19th-Festival-Bled-2014
© AdeleinSlovenia 2014