The Draga Valley: The Lamberg Trail and the Draga Inn

The Draga Valley lies at the far end of the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem. The valley is little more than a couple of kilometres in length yet is a very popular destination, particularly as it is the start point for hiking to numerous destinations in the Karavanke mountains. The road through the valley has a monument and cemetery in remembrance to hostages of the second world war who were held in the Gestapo prison in the nearby Katzenstein Mansion in Begunje.

The Draga Inn (Gostišče Draga) is situated at the end of the valley alongside the Begunščica stream, making it an oasis of calm and tranquillity. During the summer months its position affords welcome relief from the heat, thanks to the freshness of the stream, whilst in the winter the Inn is toasty warm thanks to the log-burning fire –  just perfect for me! The Inn is particularly popular with weary hikers looking for some sustenance after a long hike. However, it also offers a more gourmet experience for those looking for something finer.

One of the most popular destinations to visit from the Draga valley is the Roblek mountain hut. From the valley it takes around 2 hours to reach the hut at 1672m and since it was dark when I went for dinner, and since the valley was shrouded in pesky low cloud most of the weekend and I just knew that the sun had to be up there somewhere, I returned over the weekend to take some photos and to hike up to Roblek in search of the sun. I didn’t have to go for as it was sunny up above 800metres, so I was rewarded for my efforts with fantastic views and warm sunshine up above the clouds. Other than the final 10 minutes, most of the path was free of snow but, as you can see from the picture below, winter has already arrived in the mountains.


1507170_10203852839699943_8035695420377107589_n  Roblek 22.11.2014

You can visit the valley by car, by bike or on foot, and a great way to reach the Draga Inn is via the Lamberg Trail which officially begins at the car park opposite the Avsenik Restaurant and Museum in Begunje. However, you can also park, as I usually do, at the Krpin Recreation Ground in Begunje and begin the walk from there. The trail runs behind the ruins of Kamen Castle and ends at the Inn, passing several information boards and sights of interest. The path is a little undulating but not difficult and takes about 45-1 hour minutes each way. More about the trail can be found here – Keep your eyes pealed for wildlife though, who knows what you might encounter!

CIMG8179  CIMG8181

As it is still November, and therefore the month of Taste Radol’ca, my friend and I decided we just had to take the chance to sample the Taste Radol’ca menu, and in fact because Gostišče Draga are offering 2 Taste Radol’ca menus, we plumped for one of each so we could try each others too (don’t we all do that?). However, since I don’t eat fish and menu 2 is predominantly fished-based, I lost out a bit there! The food was thoughtfully presented, tasty, and with generous, but not over-the-top, portion sizes, which was just as well as there were 4-courses to try.

We began with game pate with cranberries (menu 1) and smoked trout (menu 2). This was followed by pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds.

CIMG8161  CIMG8163

Next came fillet of deer (in my case substituted for beef) in a honeyed-pepper sauce, cheese strukelj and, one of my favourite things on their menu, house dumplings filled with cranberry sauce. Menu 2 was trout fillet in cornmeal with buckwheat and mushrooms.

CIMG8165  CIMG8166

Dessert was apple strudel (menu 1) and hot-chocolate soufflé (menu 2).

CIMG8167  CIMG8171

Oh, and of course all capped off with a little glug of one of the myriad flavours of schnapps on offer!


In addition to the Taste Radol’ca menu, Gostišče Draga offer a full and varied menu with an emphasis on game and fresh fish. Their philosophy is based on traceability of ingredients; many of the ingredients used, such as fruit, vegetables and flour, are home-grown and produced. More information can be found here –

So, I have now completed the (arduous!) task of reviewing this year’s new additions to Taste Radol’ca and am no doubt a few kilogrammes heavier for having done so! More information about all the participating restaurants can also be found under the Taste Radol’ca heading at the top of the blog.

With the festive season rapidly approaching, this week Radovljica’s residents are invited to help decorate the old town to help make it into a festive winter wonderland. Decoration, and the making of decorations, will take place on Wednesday (9am – 1pm), Thursday (9am – 1pm and 3pm – 7pm) and Friday (3pm – 7pm) in the atrium of the Radovljica Mansion. Come and join us and get in the festive spirit!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014

The Globočnik Excursion Farm (Izletniška kmetija Globočnik)

These days, people are more than ever looking for somewhere different to go, somewhere off-the-beaten track, away from the masses and the hubbub of modern life, and if that places just so also happens to serve great homemade food, then more so the better! So, this week I have the answer; The Globočnik Excursion Farm (Izletniška kmetija Globočnik). Situated in the tiny settlement of Globoko, next to the Sava river, the Globočnik farmhouse offers genuine, traditional, home-cooked and produced food, which can be enjoyed either outside, during fine weather, or in the centuries old farmhouse which is complete with an original black kitchen and in winter is toasty warm thanks to the log fire and wood-burning stove. The house dates back to 1628, as witnessed by the preserved stone on the façade of the house. The house really has a unique ambience and you feel right at home from the minute you step inside, much in part also to the owner, Cene, a larger-than-life character with a wealth of tales to tell, ably assisted by his wife and family.

09-IMGP5532  07-IMGP5529

The house is packed full of interesting artefacts, each of which have stories to tell, and many of which are from the time Cene spent working on the railways.

01-IMGP5523  04-IMGP5526

Other than the occasional distant rumble of a passing train, (Globoko station is just a few minutes away on foot making it easy to visit the farmhouse even for those without a car) the farmhouse is a haven of peace, surrounded by fields and forest, and a hark back to bygone-days. Just a few metres away is the Barbana Breeding House which is dedicated to the breeding of the famous white Lipizzaner horses and where, upon prior arrangement, visitors can take a horse and carriage ride –

This year, Globočnik have also joined the Taste Radol’ca (Okusi Radol’ce) collaboration and therefore during the whole month of November, they are offering a special menu in addition to their regular range of dishes. The food on offer is rustic, hearty and plentiful – perfect for this time of year and for the Gorenjska climate.

Additionally, as part of Taste Radol’ca, on Saturday 29th November from 4-6pm Globočnik will be holding a demonstration and tasting of homemade sausages, made using home-reared pork, together with other goodies and homemade bread.

Dishes on offer at Globočnik include farmers mixed platter (cold meats, cheese, pate) and various soups to start; main courses include – farmers feast (grilled sausages, black-pudding, roast pork, stewed beef or roast duck), goulash, tripe, and various stews; a wide selection of side dishes such as steamed sauerkraut, roast potatoes, turnips, buckwheat with mushrooms, cheese štruklji; and, if you’re not bursting at the seams (which I was but of course still managed to find room for something sweet!) desserts on offer include apple strudel or stuffed apples with walnuts and honey.

15-IMGP5542  11-IMGP5536-2

Note – The Globočnik Excursion Farm is only open Friday, Saturdays and Sunday and prior reservations are essential. More information can be found here (in Slovene only) –

Whilst in the area, you can also visit the village of Mošnje, home to the Villa Rustica Archeological Site – and/or take a walk along the Mošnje Archaelogical Trail

They say the sun always come out after the rain but it was beginning to feel as if we would never see the sun again after 13 days of incessant rain, low cloud and general dullness. My Sunday morning began much as had the previous 13, lying in bed listening to the rain on the roof, and not feeling terribly enthusiastic about going for another walk clutching my umbrella. Imagine my delight then when I finally forced myself out of bed, lifted the blinds and saw blue sky and sun – even though it was still raining! And there was even a perfect rainbow to cap it off whose brilliant colours were the perfect way to banish the blues!


© AdeleinSlovenia 2014



Humanfish (proteus) in Slovenia / Hotel and Restaurant Krek

In last week’s blog, written when it was dry, sunny and mild, I mentioned the new Sava River Trail, vowing to write more about it this week once I had had time to further explore it. However, once again the weather scuppered my plans. I must admit, I did wonder about the wisdom of erecting the signage and arranging the path at this time of year which is notoriously wet, since, as the name suggests, the path runs alongside the Sava river and even during the driest of months will be wet in places.

After last week’s torrential rain and flooding, it will be impassable in places so I’ll write about that at another, drier, time of year; goodness only knows when that will be though as this year anything is possible! Last week it started raining on Monday evening and continued until the early hours on Sunday – literally – it didn’t stop, not even for five minutes. This has inevitably led to more widespread flooding, villages being entirely cut-off, and more heads being scratched and questions asked in a year that has, so far, seen an unprecedented 15 extreme weather events in Slovenia; beginning with the glaze ice in February and continuing fairly unabated since then. The sheer frequency alone should surely be more than a warning that we, and by ‘we’ I mean all of us – not just here in Slovenia – need to take climate change more seriously and, although we can’t interfere with nature, we can at least take more preventative measures and governments need to be assigning more funds to addressing flooding and other climate related issues. Oops, I’ll get off my soap box now!

However, the flooding did turn up one interesting discovery, the very rare proteus, sometimes also known as a humanfish due to the colour of its skin, which was found in the flooded cellar of a house in Kompolje. These rare cave dwelling vertebrates live, eat, sleep and breath in the subterranean waters of the karst caves, and are an endemic species of the Dinaric Alps. They are only found in Slovenia, specifically at the Postojna caves, and occasionally in neighbouring parts of Italy and Croatia which share the same karst characteristics. In this case, it was carefully captured and collected by the relevant cave experts who could ensure a safe return to its habitat.


Also in last week’s blog I mentioned the arduous task facing me(!) of visiting the remaining restaurants which have now joined the Taste Radol’ca collaboration, and which I have yet to review. This week then, it was the turn of Hotel and Restaurant Krek in Lesce. The hotel is situated just off the motorway at the exit for Lesce/Bled, next to the services, a casino and a coupe of supermarkets. It is a particularly popular destination for those transiting through Slovenia, as well as those looking for a mid-priced, convenient hotel close to Bled, Radovljica and the surrounding areas. The hotel’s restaurant is particularly popular at lunchtime with locals who pop in for daily light lunches (malice) and it’s large function area also regular hosts business events, seminars etc. Lesce Sports Airfield, from where panoramic flights across the Julian Alps can be taken, is just a few minutes from the hotel.

Aerial view  dec jan 10 11 013

Having lived here for over 7 years now, I have been past the hotel hundreds of times, on my way to the shops and/or for petrol. However, I will admit, that it never occurred to me to go there for lunch or dinner. Having met and had a similar discussion with the management, I realise this is perhaps a common misconception as one wouldn’t necessary think of going to a hotel restaurant for dinner, thinking of it as being merely for hotel guests. However, this is certainly not the case and by joining the Taste Radol’ca collaboration, Krek hope to further spread the word among locals and visitors about their restaurant and fortunately I also now know and can contest it is worthy of a pit-stop.

A friend and I had the special ‘Taste Radolca’ menu, which is available for the whole month of November at 15 euros for 3 courses (the same price applies at all the other participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants during November). However, the restaurant also offers a full menu of other typical Slovene, and non-Slovene, dishes.

The food was beautifully presented, tasty and excellent value;  mushroom soup to start (although I requested pumpkin soup as having tasted it at last week’s opening event, I knew just how delicious it was!), followed by the main course of roast pork with honeyed-apples and a trio of struklji, for dessert triple-chocolate cake which was rich and chocolately enough even for me!
JUHA  IMG_41280000 PECENKA IMG_414600000

The Slovene television programme Na Lepše, about tourism in Slovenia, broadcast a feature about Taste Radol’ce (Okusi Radol’ce) in last Friday’s edition. You can watch it here, with a thankfully minor appearance by me, here –

Of late, Slovenia seems to be cropping up increasingly in articles published in the press and online, and in various ‘Top Ten’ lists. Many of the articles are inevitably about Bled, which is indisputably picturesque, however it has all kind of been said before. So this week it was nice to see Slovenia’s only national park, Triglav National Park, featuring in one of these lists. Despite it being referred to as ‘Solvenia’, the Park appears at number 9 in this list of 24 awe-inspiring National Parks

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014



Taste Radol’ca 2014

Following the success of last year’s inaugural ‘Taste Radol’ca’, this year’s event is even bigger, better and yummier! In addition to the great food on offer, what I personally love about Taste Radol’ca is the co-operation between the great restaurants and talented chefs in the Radol’ca area, who, rather than being in competition with each other, can see the benefits of collaboration, strength in numbers and jointly presenting and promoting the best of what the area has to offer.

The event kicked-off on Thursday afternoon with a farmer’s market and tastings of products and dishes from local producers and the participating restaurants. All the dishes on the menus at the participating restaurants, both for the opening event and for the menus on offer throughout the whole of November, are prepared using these local ingredients; something which to many people these days is of great importance; the traceability of food and food miles.

CIMG8080  CIMG8084

The opening event then moved to Lectar Inn in the old town of Radovljica where we were treated to a sumptuous five-course dinner, prepared by the talented chefs from the 10 participating restaurants and with accompanying wines from Radovjlica’s Sodček wine bar (Vinoteka Sodček).

We began we a dish which included a spinach roulade, bear pate with pine tree syrup, beetroot and alfafa sprouts, created by Gostišče Tulipan in Lesce.


This was followed by pumpkin soup with honey and seeds, courtesy of Restaurant and Hotel Krek in Lesce.


The next course was the work of the chefs from Joštov hram in Podnart and Vila Podvin in Mošnje, and comprised a white bean puree, paste with river crab, trout fillet with a vegetable crust, garlic cream and herb sauce.


Next came a dish jointly prepared by Lectar Inn and Lambergh Chateau and Hotel. It included rabbit in sauce and a pastry basket, beef stuffed with perch, parsley puree and pancetta wrapped beans.


Finally, it was time for dessert! This was prepared by Gostilna Kunstelj in Radovljica and was a creamy carrot cake with vegetable ice-cream. Who knew vegetables could taste so good!


We were also treated to live music including a performance by Joze Andrejaš, the owner of Lectar Inn, who is a master of the mouth organ, which you can watch and listen to here –

To say it was a great evening, and to say I waddled my way home feeling like a barrel, would be an understatement! No-one need leave Radol’ca hungry, and especially not during the month of November as all the participating restaurants have special menus for the whole month at a set price of 15 euros for a minimum of 3 courses.

This year there are also some new restaurants participating; Gostišče Draga, Izletniška kmetija Globočnik, and Hotel and Restaurant Krek, I’m very much looking forward to visiting them and providing reviews and recommendations – as I have for the other restaurants (see the Taste Radol’ca window above) – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!

You can read more about Taste Radol’ca here and also watch a TV broadcast (in Slovene) about it here –

On Thursday, I was also interviewed for the television programme ‘Na Lepše’, which covers tourism in Slovenia, for which I was totally unprepared as it was sprung upon me unawares. This time, at least they wanted me to speak English, and to give my opinion about food in Slovenia among other things. Of course in hindsight I can think of a hundred things I should have said, especially when asked about food in Radovljica and I could have talked about Lectar Inn’s gingerbread and Linhartov cukr, as well as the new choco-o-bee chocolates, but since I had about 0.5 seconds to prepare, I did my best! It will be broadcast next Friday evening so I think I’ll be found somewhere cowering behind the sofa for that!

To work off all that excess, I headed out for an early morning run alongside the Sava river on Friday and immediately noticed the new signs that had been erected. Never one to miss a trick, I swiftly set about exploring and discovered the new Sava River Trail (Pot ob Savi). I’ve walked it one way, just need to do the other way and will write more about that next week….

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014