Historic (and nosey) Tržič!

in 1985, the old town centre of Tržič was designated the status of a cultural and historical monument. Though, as with so many town centres these days – and not only in Slovenia – the old town centre itself is not the thriving hub it once was. It is, however, still home to some interesting and unique buildings and features, particularly the portals embellished with flowers, and the windows, known as ‘firbec okno’ – the word ‘firbec’ refers to a nosey person – from where nosey residents could look at the goings-on in the town by looking through the glass pane at the bottom of the protruding window, without the need to lean out of the window. Today, just one of these remains and can be seen on display on the main road through the old town, Koroška cesta, as seen in the photo below. CIMG8695 Another of the features of the town are the red roofs on the buildings in the historic part of the town.

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Tržič is most known for its shoemaking industry; it is home to the company Peko which, in its heyday, was a major player in the industry. Though the company still exists, it is sadly no longer the force it once was and many of the town’s residents have lost their livelihoods but the firm’s products can still be brought throughout Slovenia. Tržič also gets somewhat overlooked in terms of tourism, which is a shame, as it does contain some architectural and cultural treasures, as well as many sights of natural interest in the surroundings.

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The Dovžan Gorge, which I wrote about in a previous blog ( https://adeleinslovenia.wordpress.com/2013/09/) is one such place and, in the past few years, has been ugraded with a new walking path and renovated bridges. The gorge is located a few kilometres north of Tržič where the waters of the Tržiška Bistrica river have carved out their path through the gorge, which is particularly known for its rich geological conditions and palaeontologic sites. One of the biggest events in Tržič is Shoemaker’s Sunday (Šuštarska nedelja), held annually on the first Sunday in September. At this time the streets of the old centre come to life as up to 10,000 visitors descend on the town. The event was originally intended to showcase shoemaking in the area, with demonstrations and sales of products at bargain prices. These days however, since the shoemaking industry is all but lost, the event continues but with a wider range of other products and stalls, together with local food and an accompanying programme of entertainment. Talking of food, which I do like to do – and especially about food in the Radovljica area, particularly the restaurants that participate in Taste Radol’ca – it seems I’m not the only one singing the praises of Slovene food these days as can be seen in this article which mentions one of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants too – can you guess which one? http://www.afar.com/magazine/is-slovenia-the-worlds-next-great-food-destination © AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Daffodils on Golica / Slovenian Beekeeping Facts

Today is World Museum Day and therefore there is free entrance to Radovljica’s Museum of Apiculture and Municipal Museum, as well as the Blacksmith’s Museum in Kropa (more information about Radol’ca’s museums can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/museums-and-galleries/

Slovenia has taken the lead in proposing to the EU that there should be a World Bee Day – the proposed date is 20th May – to contribute to the awareness and importance of bees and beekeeping.

Few people probably actually realise the huge impact and importance that bees have on our lives and the significance of their worrying decline. It’s certainly something I have become a lot more aware of since moving to Slovenia where beekeeping is a traditional agricultural activity of great economic significance. The Radol’ca area also plays a big part in this, being home to both the Museum of Apiculture and the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska  in Lesce.

Here are a few fascinating Slovenian bee facts that I’ve uncovered:

  • There are currently 12,545 beehives, 146,755 bee colonies and 9,885 beekeepers registered in Slovenia.
  • The Beekeeping Association of Slovenia brings together 203 beekeeping societies and 16 regional beekeeping organisations.
  • With four beekeepers per 1000 inhabitants, Slovenes are at the world top of beekeeping nations.

This article, entitled ’11 Amazing Reasons to Save Honey Bees’ draws attention to some of the most important points and is particularly interesting reading – http://earthjustice.org/blog/2015-april/11-amazing-reasons-to-save-the-honeybees

On Sunday I hiked up to the peak of Golica, a mountain in the Karavanke range known for its white daffodils which, every year in May, cover parts of the mountain appearing like a white snow-like carpet. This year, the daffodils bloomed quite early thanks to the warm spring and now is the perfect time to see them as within a week they will be past their best. Mind you, every one else obviously had the same idea as I’ve never, in my 8 years of living in Slovenia, seen so many people on a mountain! I go every year at about this time but usually midweek when there is hardly a soul to be seen, however, due to the amount of work I now have, I had no choice but to go at the weekend. There were literally processions of people going up and down, mostly Slovenes but also a fair few from the surrounding countries such as Croatia, Austria and Italy, such is the popularity of Golica in May!

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Fortunately, as I’ve been there many times before, I was able to take the quieter and longer route up to the highest point of Golica at 1836m, before descending to the mountain hut Koča na Golica (1582m), though, I didn’t hang around there on this occasion as there wasn’t an inch of space to be had!

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There are a number of ways of reaching Golica. Among them, routes lead from the villages of Planina pod Golico, Javorniški rovt or from the Dom Pristava mountain hut though the former is the most popular and most direct route. Always one to choose a circular route if it is possible, I always 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 a gully leads down to the hut  From the hut, a path leads down through the forest, eventually returning to the start of the route.

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© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

The Karavanke and the Čepa Gorge

I know my blog is named ‘Adele in Slovenia’ so it may seem somewhat odd that this week I’m writing about Austria, but let me explain…

The Karavanke mountains form a natural border between Slovenia and Austria, and here in Radovljica we are fortunate to have part of the Karavanke range right on the doorstep. Particular favourites among locals, in which I include myself, are Stol (the highest in the Karavanke range) and Begunščica, whilst just slightly further afield there are other popular peaks such as Golica, Dovška baba and others.

Some of the territory which lies just the other side of the Karavanke, though these days geographically in Austria, was formerly Slovene and thus, even today, many Slovenes remain living in these areas and therefore places names and all official documentation etc. is found written in both Slovene and German languages. One of such places is the area just on the other side of the Ljubelj pass (more about this in a previous blog here – https://adeleinslovenia.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/zelenci-pools-ljubelj-pass-and-forever-young/), near Ferlach/Borovlje. Once through the tunnel and into Austria, its just a few minutes drive to the Čepa Gorge (Tscheppaschlucht in German – no idea how to pronounce that!). In addition to the gorge itself, there is also an Adventure Park within its grounds – run by a Slovene company!

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The gorge has been very well arranged with wooden walkways, steel ladders and bridges. The walk involves quite a lot of going up and down but the amazing sights of the rushing water and canyons ensures it doesn’t feel like hard work, and also there are a number of choices of routes that can be taken in one direction with a bus journey (included in the entrance price) for the return journey. Be sure to pick up a bus timetable at the start so avoid a long wait, but fortunately, the bus stations are mostly sited at, or near, restaurants/inns, so even if you have a while to wait you have somewhere to wait and enjoy a drink, piece of strudel etc.

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The new Sava River Trail (Pot ob Savi) will be officially opened this week on Thursday with a guided walk beginning at the Fux footbridge (Fuxova brv). This path is a great addition to the numerous paths available in Radovljica and the surroundings and will be a particularly pleasant place to walk in the heat of the summer as much of it runs through the forest and beside the Sava River.

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More information about the Sava river can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/the-sava-and-its-tributaries/ and maps of the Sava River Trail are available from the Radovljica Tourist Information Centrehttp://www.radolca.si/en/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Beautiful Blooms and Dinosaurs!

For a very much needed break from working at the computer, I paid a visit last week to Volčji potok Arboretum. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Radovjlica to the Arboretum, which is just on the outskirts of the town of Kamnik. The Arboretum is always a beautiful and serene place to while away a few hours and its even more beautiful, even if slightly less serene, at this time of year with the annual Tulip Exhibition which features literally thousands of tulips in bloom of every shade imaginable.

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I particularly liked these Jumbo Insect Hotels – designed for bees and other insects which, thanks to the benefits they provide us, deserve a bit of pampering too!

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The Arboretum is spread over a 80 hectare area and includes areas such as a traditional English Garden,  French Park, several lakes, greenhouses containing exhibitions of cactus and orchids, a gallery, café, children’s playground, and also currently the Dinosaur Exhibition with (almost) life size dinosaurs with some moving parts which are spread across various parts of the park and are a great draw for kids. In fact, if you its a great place for kids to run around and let off steam and there’s plenty to occupy them so its really ideal for all the family. There’s more information about the Arboretum here – http://www.arboretum-vp.si/en/


I will, when I get round to it, put some more photos on Pinterest – sorry I’m lagging a bit behind on that front as I still have the Chocolate Festival ones to upload too. But I’ll get there. It’s on the ‘To Do’ list!

There were 3 public holidays in the past week –  they’re like buses which all come along at once!

27th April – Day of Uprising against Occupation

1st & 2nd May – May Day Holidays

Its a while to wait now until the next public holiday, though not too long, as Statehood Day is on 25th June.

The next big event in Radovljica’s event calendar is the International Ceramics Festival. There will be various workshops and events taking place from 11th – 29th May whilst the main Ceramic’s Market Day is on Saturday 30th May which features an International Ceramics Fair, workshops for children, live music and other entertainment. More information can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/83/the-radovljica-international-ceramics-festival/83/132/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015