Snowy Slovenia and Happy 2015!

Although Christmas Day itself wasn’t ‘white’, just 2 days later, as had been forecast, the snow arrived – and plenty of it too. On Sunday morning I woke up to the familiar winter sound of snow ploughs and people outside shovelling snow from one pile to another, digging out their cars and clearing their pathways and driveways. Those that know me, and regular readers of my blog, will know only too well that I’m far from a fan of the white stuff although actually I don’t mind the virgin, powder, dry snow; what I don’t like are the inevitable icy pavements and paths that follow and wish it were possible to just enjoy the snow for a few days and to then wake up one day and find it all gone – if only! This was the view from out of my window on Sunday morning, and the path down to the Šobec camp (right).

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Of course, owners of Slovenia’s ski resorts will be doing cartwheels to celebrate this big dump of snow as it means their season can start in earnest and will provide a much needed boost to their coffers. Some of the country’s largest and most popular are; Krvavec, Vogel, Cerkno, Maribor’s Pohorje, and Kranjska Gora. Others include Golte, Stari vrh, Soriška planina and many more. Sadly, Kanin, Slovenia’s highest ski resort in the Soča valley, still remains closed and it can only be hoped that a rescue package can be found for what was once a thriving winter destination. The advantage of many of Slovenia’s ski resorts is their ease of access and, in comparison with neighbouring countries, the relative cheapness of ski passes.

It all looked so different on Christmas Day when I took my parents, who were visiting from the UK, for a surprise trip to see the Live Christmas Nativity in the Postojna Caves. A visit to the caves is magical whenever you visit, but on this occasion it was made even more so by the cast of actors and singers performing nativity scenes and Christmas songs. Before reaching the entrance of the caves, there is a working watermill, as seen below, and which you can visit to see flour-grinding demonstrations.

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The Postojna Caves are one of the top tourist attractions in Slovenia and really worth a visit. The experience begins with a ride on the mini-train which takes visitors into the heart of the vast cave system and thereafter a large part of the trip is made on foot, accompanied by guides, before returning to the train to exit the caves. The UNESCO listed Škocjan Caves are equally as impressive (minus the train) so if you are visiting Slovenia, do make sure to visit one of Slovenia’s karst caves, you won’t be disappointed. I’m afraid since flash photography is not permitted, I don’t have any great photos of the interior of the caves; all the more reason then to come and see them for yourselves!

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In Radovljica meanwhile, we were entertained on Boxing Day by Tobia Circus performing live in the old town centre with an impressive, though bizarre, act which consisted entirely of various tricks performed with brooms!

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So, it’s almost the end of another year and thus time for reflection on the highs and lows of my year. I’ll get the ‘lows’ out of the way first, since there really was only one; the weather! It began with the devastation caused by the glaze ice in February (, the effects of which are still very much in evidence in forests and woods, particularly in the central area of the country. Otherwise, it was the rain and lack of sun that meant it was a bit of a wash-out of a year, meaning my hiking and biking trips were less frequent and ambitious than I had hoped.

Now, on to the ‘highs’. On the professional side, after almost 8 years living here, my efforts seem to be finally paying off and I have a marked increase in the amount of translating and proofreading work I have been doing of late. But perhaps the astonishing success of my blog is one of my proudest achievements of the year. When I began writing it in 2013, I had no idea if anyone would find it/read it, however, in it’s first year, it had 10,000 readers; this year it has racked up over a further 30,000 readers taking the total to over 40,000 since I began writing it. Along the way I’ve had lots of positive feedback, helped many readers who have contacted me for advice and/or assistance, and met some of my readers too. I believe the thirst for information about Slovenia will continue to grow and I hope to try to keep providing as much up-to-date information about my life here in Radovljica and the surrounding areas; my hikes, bike trips, and trips further afield. My Adele in Slovenia Facebook page has also mirrored the success of the blog and I will also endeavour to keep providing relevant up-to-date information there too, as well as photos on my Pinterest page.

On the personal side, well my year is ending much the same as it began i.e. alone. However, I don’t see that as a negative. This year for me was about regaining some of my lost confidence and assertiveness, meeting new people, building friendships, and continuing to live a relatively quiet, but content, life in this tiny corner of Europe. So all in all, 2014 was a good year and here’s hoping 2015 will be even better!


© AdeleinSlovenia 2014

Festive Spirit(s) come to Radovljica

Last week, following the recent competition to find a new winter drink for Radol’ca, the entries were whittled down to the final 3, and on Saturday afternoon the public were invited to come and taste and vote for their favourite drink which will become Radol’ca’s official winter drink.

I, of course, obliged and joined the tasting panel and cast my vote and today the winner was announced, drum roll……. Radovljica’s new winter drink will be Radol’ca Punch, which is made from milk, dark chocolate, rum, honey, and a few other ingredients too which aren’t to be divulged!

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In addition to the drinks tasting, there was also many more festive events this weekend in Radovljica’s old town. On Saturday morning, a group of Bernese mountain dogs came to enthral the crowds – young and old – they were adorable, remarkably gentle and good-natured, and complete with matching carts and scarves.

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The entertainment continued on Sunday afternoon with the arrival of Father Christmas himself, in a horse-drawn carriage and accompanied by his elves and a brass band.


The ice rink in Radovljica’s sport park is always popular, particularly as it offers free skating for children up to 18 years of age (with their own skates), whilst adults pay just 2 euros. However, in the past, using it has always been weather dependant but this year the new cover is a very welcome addition, meaning skating can take place whatever the weather. The ice rink is open on weekdays from 3-6pm and at weekend and public holidays from 10am-6pm.


We were treated to an absolutely glorious weekend of winter sunshine, with temperatures more akin to autumn. In this topsy-turvy year of weather that Slovenia has had, some parts of the country, particularly in the south-east, recorded temperatures of 18 degrees on Saturday, and I even managed a short bike ride. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve been out on my bike in December since I’ve been living here but in fact I wasn’t alone. People were out in their droves enjoying the sunshine and doing various activities; cycling, hiking, playing football, ice-skating, and/or just soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the sun. I just love to see so many people outdoors, partaking in sports and other recreational activities, it serves as another reminder, as if I needed one, of why I love living here in Radovjlica. The only people who are no doubt not so happy about these unseasonably warm temperatures are the operators of the ski resorts who, despite their best efforts in making artificial snow, are struggling to operate at full capacity although some of the higher lying resorts, such as Vogel and Krvavec, are at least partly open.

So, with Christmas just a matter of days away, and my parents having just arrived to spend Christmas in Slovenia, we will be busy visiting Christmas concerts, Christmas markets and I have a few other things up my sleeve too (but since they read my blog, I’m not going to give the game away here!).

I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and hope Santa brings you all you hoped for – not that Christmas is about presents of course! Enjoy spending time with your families and loved ones and take a rest from the usual hustle and bustle of life – after all – Christmas comes but once a year!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014



Slovene Christmas Customs, Traditions and Gifts

One of the customs I love in Slovenia is that of always removing your shoes before entering anyone’s home and being given a pair of cosy slippers to wear; whatever the time of year. I found this a little odd at first as in the UK I’d never thought twice before about going into other people’s homes wearing shoes – the same shoes which I’d been walking around in outdoors – but it makes perfect sense really as who knows what could be lurking on the soles of your shoes. Now, I’m so accustomed to this, that even when I visit friends and family in the UK, I automatically remove my shoes at the front door even though it means getting cold feet since I’m not offered slippers! So I was particularly delighted this week when, on the occasion of a little pre-Christmas get-together with friends, I was given an early Christmas present; of a pair of beautiful hand-made, personalised slippers which I’m now wearing with pride – thanks Anja!


We had a lovely evening with an array of Christmas treats too – some healthy, some less so – including my homemade mini-Christmas cakes, which were the star of the show!  CIMG8235

So, this got me thinking about other customs and traditions in Slovenia and, it being the festive season and all, I thought I would elaborate a little further this week, in particular about Christmas and New Year traditions.

I should probably begin by saying that Christmas is actually a relatively new tradition in Slovenia since during the times of Socialism, under Tito’s rule, Christmas per se i.e. 25th December, wasn’t celebrated. Instead, there were (still are) 2 festive celebrations; St. Nicholas (Miklavž), who secretively delivers small gifts to children on 6th December, and Grandfather Frost (Dedek Mraz), who delivers presents, usually in person (ahem!) on New Year’s Eve.

These days of course, Slovenia has rapidly caught up on celebrating Christmas and festive food and gifts starts to appear in shops late-autumn, though thankfully not in July, which I read wass when Harrods opened its Christmas Department this year!

As in many other countries in Europe, the evening of the 24th is when most families celebrate and get together for a special meal – which is usually some kind of roast meat though not especially turkey – exchange gifts, and/or attend midnight mass. If you are visiting Slovenia at that time it is worth noting that many restaurants may be closed on this evening or close earlier than usual. Shops are usually open on the 24th but close a little earlier than usual. All shops are closed on the 25th and again this is a family day, often for some recreational activities perhaps skiing, hiking or visiting relatives. The 26th is also a public holiday, ‘Independence and Unity Day’ and therefore again many shops and business will be closed although some of the larger ones may open for a few hours in the morning.

Talking of shopping, which many of you, myself included, have probably been doing frantically in the run up to Christmas, I don’t know about you but I find there’s always someone who is SO difficult to buy for; the person who has everything and is choosy to boot! So, this week when I discovered the new range of gifts from the Slovene Centre for Architecture, it was a revelation! Their range of gifts are made in Slovenia, unique, stylish and practical too. The gift range includes towels, notebooks and other stationery, jewellery, water bottles and even chocolates and feature motifs related to individual works of Slovenian architecture, both traditional and modern.

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The products will be on sale at selected Tourist Information Centres, including in Radovljica, or can be ordered directly from the centre. More information can be found here –

The Christmas programme continues in Radovljica and on Saturday evening we were treated to an impressive display by the flaming circus act, Cupakabra. As you can see from the photos below, it was quite a spectacle and drew plenty of spectators to the old town centre.

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The week ahead will see more concerts and entertainment, as well as the Christmas market which takes place each Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday throughout December. The full programme of events can be found here –

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, last week we had a WHOLE WEEK without rain, fog or low cloud. Thanks Santa!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014



Fine Art, Festivities and Food in Radovljica

Ok, I admit, ‘fine art’ probably isn’t exactly the right choice of word, ‘fine pottery’ would be a more accurate description, however, it had a nice ring to it as a title for this week’s blog and it goes some way to describing the skills of two of Radovljica’s stalwarts, Oli and Urban Magušar. The couple, who have long resided and operated a pottery workshop in Magušar’s House (Magušarjeva hisa) in Radovljica’s old town centre, have now finally opened a shop selling and exhibiting their, as well as other local artists, creations. I attended the shop’s opening last weekend and as well as being able to see the products up close, we were also treated to a BBQ in the courtyard! Who knew that the Magušars were such talents chefs as well!

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The shop will be open throughout the year on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5-8pm, on Saturdays from 10am-1pm, and at other times by appointment. The arcaded house itself is also fascinating with its open courtyard and worth a snoop if you get the chance.

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You can read more about Magušar’s House, as well as about Radolca’s other galleries and museums here –

Next, on to the ‘festivities’ part. Of course the festive season is now upon us and with Radovljica’s old town now adorned by Christmas lights, festive garlands and the like, the first of the Christmas events began on Friday with the official switch on of the Christmas lights, followed by the start of the small Advent Market. The Advent Market will take place every weekend during December and to accompany it there are a wide variety of events and entertainment for all the family including creative workshops for children, circus acts and street performers, concerts with live music, carol singing, and not forgetting the all important arrival of Father Christmas, accompanied by his elves on 21st December at 5pm. The full programme of festive events can be found here –

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And finally the ‘food’ part. Some weeks back I blogged about my visit to the Globočnik Excursion Farm in Globoko, which are now part of the Taste Radol’ca project. For the final weekend of this year’s Taste Radol’ca, they held a demonstration of sausage making; the traditional Slovene pečenice pork sausages and also black pudding krvavice. To accompany them, the farm’s neighbour and legendary bread maker came to do her magic with bread baked at its most simple with minimal ingredients and maximal care and attention. After mixing the bread in the specially made wooden vessel, it was then left to prove next to the warmth of the log burner before being baked in the stone oven. Once the sausages were cooked and the bread baked, there was a chance to taste them too. However, since I had to rush off to the opening of the pottery shop, I didn’t get a chance for a taste and therefore, not wanting to miss out completely, vowed to return the next day to polish off what was still left! I can contest that it was all delicious and even more so as I had seen everything being made and knew there were no nasty additives or hidden ‘E’ numbers, preservatives etc. Good, honest food at its best.

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Don’t forget to get your entries in for the competition to find a new drink for Radol’ca. The competition is open to every one and you could win yourself a luxury weekend at Vila Podvin. More information here –

Need I even say that yet another week passed us by without so much as seeing the sky, let alone the sun. Since I’ve been a very good, hardworking girl this year, I’ve now written my wish list to Santa – I bet you can guess what is at the top of the list! And perhaps he has already received my letter because as I sit here writing today, I can now seem a glimpse of blue sky…..

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014


The Wonders of Slovene honey / Create a Drink for Radol’ca Competition

Being home to the Museum of Apiculture, Radovljica is synonymous with beekeeping and thus, honey. Additionally, Lesce is home to the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska, or CRICG for short. The centre organise various events throughout the year, some more aimed at beekeepers themselves whilst others are intended merely for lovers of bees and all things honey. CRICG houses a beeswax processing plant, a honey bottling and packaging room, a tasting room, and a shop selling a wide range of honey and honey-related products. There is also currently a fascinating exhibition of bees’ honeycomb which will be on view until the end of December! You can find out more about CRICG here –

The centre is also visited by beekeeping enthusiasts from far and wide, such as this Indian beekeeper who recently came and made this short video about his visit –

One of the events CRICG organises, is the annual ‘Honey in Cuisine’ workshop which was held last week in Radovljica and which I always eagerly attend. The workshop was led by one of the school’s professors whilst the dishes were demonstrated and cooked by some of the school’s talented and enthusiastic students who had given up their free time to do so. For us participants, we were able to help a little, watch, mingle, and then – the best bit – eat all the delicious dishes. In an effort to show it’s versatility, each dish, of course, included honey, even the savoury dishes where the honey acted merely as a subtle flavour enhancer rather than being instantly detectable or overpowering. These are just some of the dishes that were cooked up:

To start: Canapes and a duo of soups – Carrot soup & Fruited Barley Soup

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Main courses included Slovenia’s famous kranjska klobasa sausage cooked in teran wine, buckwheat krapi, štruklji, and baked polenta

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Finally, desserts included a specially concocted and very colourful, creative and original ‘bee’ drink, made using layers of honey liqueur, advocaat, ice-cream and cream.


Slovenian beekeeping is also well-known for its colourful and unique painted beehive front panels, called ‘panjske končnice’ and the oldest one in the world can be seen in the Museum of Apiculture in Radovljica’s old town centre. You can also watch a DVD about beekeeping in Radovljica, the English version of which features my dulcet tones! More information can be found here –

With Christmas fast approaching, Radovljica’s residents gathered last week to help decorate the old town centre and turn it into a winter wonderland. The Christmas tree is almost finished, the lights up, and the decorations in place so we are now officially ready for the festive season! This year, each weekend in December, Radovljica will be hosting an Advent Market together with a full programme of accompanying events for all the family. You can read full details of the programme here –

Additionally, this year, Tourism Radol’ca have launched a competition to find a new winter drink; something to make a change from the usual bog-standard mulled wine which is usually on offer at this time of year. The drink must incorporate at least one typical local ingredient such as honey, chocolate, honey liqueur…. and may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. The prize will be a luxury weekend break for two at Vila Podvin in Mošnje where the food is prepared and cooked by one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin. You can read more about Vila Podvin here –

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More information about the competition, the rules, the prize etc. can be found here –

I actually feel that I’m beginning to lose the plot of late due to the constant rain, low cloud and lack of sunlight. Actually, right now I’d be happy to see the sky, let alone the sun! I used to make notes in my diary, to record the weather, where I’d been etc. so I could write here about it. However, these days I don’t bother since there seems to be little point in recording yet another soggy walk with my umbrella. So, dear readers, I do hope that at some point, in the not too distant future, I’ll be able to get back to blogging about all the great outdoors things there are to do in Slovenia; after all that was my original intention. However, at the moment, given the weather, glorious hikes in the mountains seem but a distant memory. Thank goodness then that I live in Radovljica where, whatever the weather, there is always plenty going on!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014