Multi-culinary Slovenia

One of the features of Slovenia’s cuisine that makes it so unique is its diversity, which is largely due to the influence from surrounding countries – Austria, Italy, Hungary. These days it is perhaps even more diverse due to the emergence of some world-class chefs who are taking traditional Slovene food and giving it a modern twist, and also due to the increasingly multi-cultural population consisting, in particular, of people from other former-Yugoslav nations.

An example of this was the event ‘Multikulinarika‘ event which took place last Friday in Jesenice. Held in the Kolpern Hall at the Stara sava area (which I wrote more about in last week’s blog), the event is designed to showcase food from various nations and unite them all under one roof. There were 21 different countries represented at this year’s events including; Macedonia, India, Mexico, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belarus, Spain, Kosovo and of course Slovenia!

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Taking the lead from Radovljica’s Chocolate Festival – more about that below – tasting takes place through the purchase of tasting coupons. As you can see from the photo below, I bought some and began to work my way through the cuisine of various countries!  The only problem was that there were so many different things on offer, and it was so busy, with the stands so tightly packed together, that I lost track of what I was eating and from which country! I was hoping to have a chance to chat with the stall holders, to find out more about what they had on offer, their country specialities etc., however, the crowds and the lack of space made it almost impossible. So, in the end I just headed to the stalls that were most reachable and managed to come away with plates laden with various types of burek, breads, potica, cakes, baklava and more!

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I can see this event going from strength-to-strength, however, the organisers really need to find a larger venue which allows more space for the exhibitors, the visitors and the accompanying programme. Here are a couple more pictures of the various dishes on offer, more can be seen on my Pinterest page!

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I have been fortunate to be privy to some of the as-yet closely under wraps, and still being finalised, details of this year’s Radovljica Chocolate Festival. The festival takes place over 3 days from 17-19th April and, in addition to the regular programme of chocolate tastings, sales and entertainment, the programme this year has quite a number of exciting new features too including; an extended festival area including a Chocolate Avenue and Chocolate Kitchen; an exclusive children’s entertainment area; a marquee where the chefs from the Taste Radol’ca restaurants will be cooking up special dishes; a Chocolate Party and other evening entertainment. You can also follow the latest news about the festival on the festival website – and on Facebook –


In last week’s blog I wrote about the new route being launched by Adria airlines, Slovenia’s national carrier, offering flights 3-times per week from Maribor, Slovenia’s 2nd biggest city, to Southend-on-Sea in the UK. I’m definitely a supporter of more flight connections to/from Slovenia, especially if they are reasonably priced. The Adria flights went on sale yesterday with prices from 69 euros return and, unlike the so-called ‘low-cost’ airlines, these flights include 23kg of luggage, plus hand-luggage at no extra cost. Additionally, as an opening offer, they are throwing in a free return train ticket to London. What’s not to like! Click on the link on the right-hand-side of my blog to get booking those bargain flights!

Still on the theme of transport, I read this week about a new daily bus route from Vienna to Trieste in Italy, via Ljubljana. This also has to be another useful addition as many tourists visiting Slovenia from further afield, fly into one of the surrounding airports, such as Vienna or Trieste and this offers another choice of ways to reach Slovenia. More information here (in Slovene)  –

This article, published in The Guardian newspaper yesterday, about 10 of Europe’s best national parks, lists Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park, at number 2. Just another reason to come and visit!

Finally, I wish you all a very HAPPY EASTER!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Slovenian Woodenware (suha roba)

I was pleased to read this week that Adria, Slovenia’s national airline, is launching new flights from Maribor, Slovenia’s 2nd biggest city and 2nd largest airport, to Southend in the east of the UK. It’s not terribly helpful for me as my friends and family are scattered far from Southend, though, if the price is right it might be an option and hopefully for some – both in Slovenia and the UK – it will be a boon.

Southend might seem something of an odd choice – the airport is named ‘London Southend’ but a quick look at the map will reveal that it isn’t actually ‘London and isn’t actually even that close, being in the county of Essex. However, Central London can be reached in less than an hour and it will at least hopefully bring some much needed regeneration to Maribor and the Štajerska region as a whole. It also offers an alternative to the so-called ‘low cost’ airlines which, apart from the few months a year over the summer that Adria fly to Gatwick and Manchester, are currently the only choice to/from the UK. It looks the prices should be competitive too, which is even better. You can read more here (in Slovene)  -

On Saturday I visited the Stara Sava area of Jesenice, 20 mins by car from Radovljica or just a few stops on the train, to look around the museum area and the St. Jožef’s Fair, held annually to celebrate the municipal holiday and the patron saint. Granted, from the outside Jesenice really doesn’t appear to have much going for it, dominated as it is by the chimneys and pluming smoke from the Akroni steel factory, however, the town is surrounded by some wonderful nature and the Stara sava area in particular has been nicely restored and exhibits the technical heritage of the area. The area comprises the 16th century Ruard Manor, the 17th century Church of St. Mary’s Assumption and typical worker’s houses from the 18th century, as well as being the museum, cultural and tourist centre of the town.

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There was a small market selling a range of typical Slovene goods including ‘suha roba’, meaning ‘woodenware’, which are traditional handmade wooden products, originally made in Ribnica in the southeast of Slovenia, where the tradition dates back as far as the 14th century. These days suha roba products can be found on sale from mobile vans, stalls, and even hawkers who walk around selling the various products hanging from their every limb, at many markets and other larger events throughout the country. If you are looking for a gift to take home for friends or family, you will surely find something; kitchen implements, garden tools, toys, small items of furniture, and myriad other useful household objects.



It’s now only 24 days until the 4th Radovljica Chocolate Festival – not that I’m counting or anything! If you share my love of all-things chocolate, take a look at this short video of last year’s event to see why its become so popular. Hope to see you there – but you’d better get there quick before I eat ALL the chocolate! –

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Spring in Slovenia; cycling, flowers, chocolate and more!

In last week’s blog I wrote about the St. Gregory’s Day celebrations which take place annually on the eve of St. Gregory’s Day, in this case, last Wednesday 11th March, in the villages of Kropa and Kamna Gorica. I was a little disappointed that due to work commitments I was unable to go this year, however, as luck would have it one of the locals from Kamna Gorica, put together this short video so I, and now you, can have a glimpse into the custom and see the colourful creations made by local children.

What struck me initially on watching it is that it was still daylight, whereas last year when I attended on the same day and date -11th March 2014 – it was already dark. This year spring seems to have come early, and with it, longer and warmer days, and the forests are now carpeted with beautiful spring flowers. Ok, I know its a bit early to be celebrating spring ‘proper’, after all it could, and probably will, still snow. However, after last year’s washout of a spring and summer, this dry, mild(ish) period is much appreciated.

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So, with spring in the air, my thoughts have started turning to cycling and I began dusting off my bike this weekend. After month’s of not cycling, and with a nip still in the air, the first rides of the year are always gentle ones, on flat, easy surfaces, such as from Radovljica via Lesce and Hraše to join the 12km-long Imperial Road (cesarska cesta), a gravel road that leads towards Žirovnica

Another such flat(ish) and easy(ish), as well as being particularly scenic and traffic-free, cycle path is that from Bohinjska Bistrica to Bohinj Lake then onwards towards the villages of Stara Fužina, Studor and Srednja vas. The cycle path is well-marked and the views of the Julian Alps and the surrounding villages and lake certainly take your mind off the couple of short, but very steep, inclines. This section, seen below, leads from Srednja vas towards Studor. with the imposing Baroque St. Martin’s church on a small hill directly above the village.

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It’s worth making the short detour to see the church, which contains paintings by well-known Slovene artists, and also nearby is the Ribnica waterfall and the Bohinj Cheese Dairy (Bohinjska sirarna) where one can stop off to buy locally produced cheese (open weekdays 7am – 2pm).

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Preparations are now in full flow for this year’s Radovljica Chocolate Festival. This event just keeps growing and growing in popularity, and this year it will be even bigger and better. The Festival will take place over 3 days (instead of the previous 2) from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 April and will also be extended to take place not only in the historic old town centre and the Radovljica Manor (grascina), but also in the Town Park. Read more about the Festival here –

I can’t wait!!!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Hell’s Cave

The last few days have been a perfect mixture of brilliant spring sunshine with cold, bright, crisp mornings, and warm afternoons. The week ahead looks like being more of the same. So, no complaints here – for a change!

On Saturday I went, almost literally, ‘to Hell and Back’, since I visited Hell’s Cave (Jama Pekel), near Šempeter in the Savinjska valley! Actually, I’d struggle to tell you exactly where it is since finding it was far from easy and in the end it was more by luck than judgement. The journey from home in Radovljica began relatively easily, following the motorway to Ljubljana, then onwards in the direction of Slovenia’s 2nd biggest city, Maribor, taking the exit for Šempeter. I suppose I only had myself to blame as I was armed with only a basic map but, in my defence, many of the larger tourist attractions throughout the country have familiar brown signs beside the major roads to direct visitors, this one, alas, did not and is woefully lacking in signage;  rather strange since it seems to be a relatively popular and visited one. Oh well, at least I got to see some of the hidden parts of the countryside which I wouldn’t have otherwise! If you plan a visit, as long as you turn right on leaving the motorway, you will, eventually, pick up the signs to the cave as it is only a couple of kilometres from the motorway – just don’t, whatever you do, turn left!!!

Anyway, once I arrived at the cave, all was forgotten and it was well worth the effort. When one thinks of caves in Slovenia, of course the world-famous Postojna caves and the UNESCO listed Skocjan caves are the ones that immediately spring to mind. Slovenia, though, actually has over 10,000 registered caves, and to think that those are the ones that are known about, who knows what else lurks in the mysterious underworld. Many of them are largely unexplored whilst others, those that are open to the public, are not as vast as the aforementioned ones, but nonetheless each offers an intriguing glimpse into the underground karst world. Hell’s Cave is no exception, and the highlight is most certainly the 4m waterfall which is actually inside the cave, the only of its kind in the country.

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The Ponikvica stream carved out the cave and runs through it throughout the part that is now open to the public. It is well-equipped with boardwalks, ladders, lights etc. though very narrow in places and quite a lot of ducking is required for anyone over a few feet tall (oops, metres tall – still can’t get to grips with European metric measurements!). The name of the cave originates from the rocks at the entrance to the cave which, with a bit of imagination, appear to form the shape of the devil and additionally, during the winter when the temperature inside is warmer than the outdoor temperature, it appears as if steam is coming from the cave’s entrance.

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Guided tours of the cave are available daily on the hour, from 10am-5pm from 1st April – 30th September; in March and October it is only open at weekends with the last tour at 4pm. During our group’s tour, we witnessed a pair of sleeping bats, yet to wake up from their winter hibernations, as well as a crab-like creature which is at home in the stream within the cave. Following the tour I took a walk on the forest nature trail which begins at the entrance to the cave and is easy to follow; just follow the green owls! The 2km circular trail takes less than 30 minutes and is nice way to begin, or end, a visit to the cave.

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Nearby is a Roman Necropolis which I had also planned to visit but on this occasion was unable to since the monuments are still covered up for the winter period. About 2000 years ago a Roman road ran through the area around Šempeter and the necropolis, discovered quite by chance in 1952, is considered the most important of the remains from the Roman era, not just in Slovenia, but in Central Europe. So, it will, for the time being, remain on my lists of ‘places to go’ and about which I hope to write about some time soon – I’ll go equipped with a map next time though!

You can read more about the cave, the necropolis, and the other attractions in the area on the Šempeter Tourist Association website here –

The tradition of making and floating models vessels, made by local children and illuminated by candles, in the streams in the villages of Kropa and Kamna Gorica will take place this week. This age-old iron-forging custom takes place annually on the eve of St. Gregory’s Day. The models, which are a mixture of unique art creations made from paper, cardboard and wood with candles affixed either on the exterior or interior, create a colourful effect against the dusk setting. This custom dates back to the era of manual iron forging, before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, when the name day of St. Gregory was considered the first day of spring. With the weather we’ve been having in the past few days, this year it holds true. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I likely won’t be able to attend this year, which is a shame as it is a spectacle worth seeing, so here are a couple of photos from last year.

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© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Slovenia’s Smaller Lakes

The British media have done some of my work for me this week thanks to the 2 glowing articles about Slovenia published in the press last week. I was delighted to see that Radovljica also made it into the list of places to see, as well as the usual and much written about destinations such as LjubljanaPostojna caves and Bled – so, for a change, its not just me extolling the virtues of Radovljica! You can read both the articles using the links below:

I must admit to having slightly mixed feelings about such media coverage. It’s great for Slovenia’s tourist industry and, one hopes, for the economy – which is in dire need of a boost. However, part of me also hopes that the country won’t become too popular and too over-run with tourists so it can remain as beautiful and pristine as it is. It is, of course, inevitable that visitor numbers are growing, and will continue to grow. Lucky then that I know of SO many more places worth visiting too, those hidden corners, away from the tourist hotspots, which part of me wants to keep secret but every so often I’m willing to share!!!

This weeks ‘sharing’ is about 2 of Slovenia’s lesser-known lakes that I visited last weekend. Offically the country has 321 bodies of water, though this includes some ‘lakes’ that are intermittent and some of them are barely more than large puddles. One of these, are least at first sight, is the karst Podpeč Lake (Podpeško jezero) which lies on the outskirts of Ljubljana, in the area of the Ljubljana marshes (Ljubljansko barje) in the village of Jezero near Podpeč – hence the name. Despite its modest size, it is actually classified among the deepest ‘lakes’ in Slovenia due to an underground outflow which leads to a funnel which has, thus far, been explored to a depth of 51 metres. It takes all of 5 minutes to see the lake, though one can take a walk on the road which leads around it, and there are also numerous paths which lead up through the forest including the one I took up to St. Ana’s Church (Sv. Ana) which stands on top of a hill at 484m. A church was originally erected here sometime in the 11th or 12th centuries, however, the church in its current form dates from 1883 when it was renovated in the Baroque style. It only takes around 30 mins to reach the church from the lake and it is well worth the effort for the panoramic views in all directions. The lake is also one of the start points for the longer hike up to Krim (1107m) which is the highest point in the Ljubljana basin and is easily recognisable due to the attenae which stand atop it and is a popular hiking destination for those living in, and near, Ljubljana. When I visited it was a spring-like day and it was wonderful to see snowdrops coming into bloom as where I live they have yet to creep out of their winter slumber. Unfortunately, it was also very hazy and my amateur photos really didn’t capture any of the views so I’ll jsut post these 2 as a taster!

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The other lake I visited this weekend is somewhat larger and closer to home, the Black Lakerno jezero) in Preddvor, in an idyllic setting at the foot of the Storžič and Zaplata mountains. The lake is a popular destination for a short stroll as well as being the starting point for many hikes in the surrounding hills and mountains. Next to the lake is the Bor Hotel and the 16th century Hill Castle (Grad Hrib); I also particularly like the tree-lined Castle Avenue (grajski drevored), as seen below, and can imagine many a romantic wedding photo being taken here. On the path in the woods just beyond the lake, there were hundreds of beautiful crocuses which are really a sight for sore eyes after months of seeing just snow and ice.

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It may look, from the photos above, as if there is very little snow remaining, however, these mountains are south facing and up to around the 1000m level, much of the snow has melted. However, in shaded and north facing areas, there is still snow at around the 700m level so caution, and a small pair of crampons, should definitely be in your rucksacks at this time of year when hiking. Nevertheless, meteorological spring has officially sprung and, despite this week colder temperatures and possible snow to ground level being forecast, spring is definitely on it’s way – hooray!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015