Reflections & New Year in Slovenia

If someone were to ask me what would be your ideal weather for Christmas, my answer would have fitted exactly what we had. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present than the perfect cloudless skies and warm winter sunshine we had last week. My parents were here from the UK for Christmas and the three of us sat outside having a picnic lunch on Christmas Day. Who’d have thought that possible!

However, not all the country were so lucky as many places were, again, shrouded in fog. This is the view on Boxing Day looking down from Možjanca, near Preddvor.

Mozjanca 26.12.2015

During my parent’s visit we packed in plenty of sights including a trip to the Christmas market in Ljubljana.

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A visit to Kranj to watch the very popular annual Christmas tuba concert (tuba božički) – to get us in the festive mood.


On Christmas Eve we went to see the preparations for mass at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Brezje


On Christmas Day we visited a tourist farm (more about that next week), visited friends, watched the Ana Snežna street show in the old town of Radovljica, and finished the day with a meal at Kunstelj Inn in Radovljica.


If you haven’t already decided how and where to see in the new year, here are some ideas of what’s on in Radovljica and the surroundings and also further afield.

On 30th December there will be a pre-New Year’s Eve party for children at 4pm in Linhart Square, whilst on New Year’s Eve the merriment will take place, also in Linhart Square, with live music from the Avsenik House Ensemble. More information here –

If food, and of course drink, is on your mind, then look to one of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants, though hurry as some are already fully booked. Amongst others, Kunstelj Inn is offering a 4-course menu of local food for 33 euros, Grajska gostilnica  is offering a 6-course New Year’s Eve menu for just 37 euros per person and Gostišče Tulipan has a 4-course menu with live music for 28 euros per person.

Further afield, the capital, Ljubljana, is a popular destination to spend New Year’s Eve, with plenty happening all over the city or, if the weather is fine, spending New Year’s Eve in one of Slovenia’s many mountain huts can also be a magical. One year I walked up to the Sankaška hut above Begunje, from where, on a clear day/night, there are fantastic views and I was able to enjoy watching many fireworks displays across the valley. So, if the weather plays game and that appeals, don your hiking gear and a head torch and head on up there. More information here –

I have now been writing this blog for exactly three years. In that time it has had over 90,000 views from all over the world and this year I was delighted and proud that it was also officially recognised by the Slovenian Tourist Organisation and now also features on the homepage of their website –

People often ask me how I come up with so many ideas for what to write about and if I ever run out of ideas. Actually, sometimes I still have too many ideas so, if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing, and may the journey continue to make 2016 an even more successful year for Adele in Slovenia!

I wish all readers a very, very Happy & Healthy New Year!


A Green Christmas and a Winter Fairytale!

It’s looking like it’s going to be another green Christmas this year. The last two Christmases were the same, although last year the first snow arrived on Boxing Day. I, of course, am most definitely not complaining! Though, it was somewhat odd to have a mosquito buzzing around my head in bed on Saturday night, you definitely don’t expect that in December!

Despite the Alpine climate here in the Gorenjska region, it really is unseasonably mild and we also have luck that being a little higher in altitude – Radovljica is almost 500m above sea level – we usually manage to escape most of the gloomy fog that so often hangs above the Ljubljana basin at this time of year.

Undoubtedly one of the best vantage points, and for a guaranteed smug feeling, is from up high. So, when I woke to a perfect cloudless morning on Saturday, I just had to decide where to go – that’s often the hardest part! This time I chose Dobrča (1478m) which has a very popular mountain hut – Koča na Dobrči – and is among the favourite winter hikes for locals from in and around the Radovljica area, as well as from further afield. With views like this, is it any wonder!


Sunday was a busy day which began with a(nother) hike, this time to St. Peter’s Church above Begunje na Gorenjskem, then it was off to Radovljica’s old town to see the Bernese mountain dogs – decked in their finest Christmas outfits – who visit every year at this time to entertain the crowds and small children can take a ride in a horse-drawn cart.


In the afternoon I visited the Winter Fairytale at the Brdo Estate in Kranj. The estate, which dates back to 1446, has had numerous owners throughout the years, and for a time served as a holiday residence for the former president of the Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. It is now owned by the state and serves many functions, most notably it hosts all the country’s top protocol events. It is a popular place to hold weddings, has a golf course, a hotel, a small lake, a castle, a park, and also offers a variety of adventures and experiences. During the winter, I often enjoy a walk around the 10km estate boundary, which is also very popular with joggers and runners and where, if you are lucky, you can glimpse some of the estate’s deer grazing.

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Unfortunately the area was shrouded in mist on Sunday, thus it was difficult to photograph the estate at its finest, but nonetheless it was very well attended and a real hit with children who were entertained throughout with fairytales and a visit from Father Christmas.


Big(ger) children could keep warm around the burning logs.


There were horse and carriage rides with the estate’s horses as well as other animals to pet.

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A chance to watch ice being creatively carved and to sample food direct from the estate – including venison, jams, chocolates, and home-produced tea.

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Regardless of the season Brdo is worth a visit, be it to walk around the park, to attend one of the many events, or you can just pop in for coffee and cake. Read more about the estate here –

To close this week, all that remains for me to say is I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may Father Christmas bring you all you desire!









Down Mexico Way at Krčma Lesce!

Lesce is situated midway between Radovljica and Bled and is part of the Municipality of Radovljica. It is probably most known for the 5-star Šobec camp, which is hugely popular during the summer months. Lesce is an important rail junction, as it is the station closest to Bled on the direct line from Ljubljana to Jesenice, and a passing point for trains running on the single track.

Considering its modest size, Lesce has quite a wide selection of cafes and restaurants, however, you probably wouldn’t immediately think of coming here to find (possibly) the best Mexican food in Slovenia!

Lesce is home to the noteworthy Church of Mary of the Assumption –, with its impressive interior and bell tower.

Lesce church

There is also a sports airfield – which offers panoramic flights over the Julian Alps, and it is home to the factory of Slovenia’s largest chocolate producer, Gorenjka. More here –

It’s fair to say that I’ve eaten at the Krčma Mexico restaurant more than a few times, my most recent visit however, just last week, was for a somewhat different reason. Let me explain!

Regular readers may recall that just a few weeks ago I appeared as one of the guest speakers at the Njam Zgodbe (Yummy Stories) bloggers’ event in Ljubljana. The other guest speaker was Isabel, a Mexican who, due to falling in love and subsequently marrying a Slovene, now lives in Ljubljana, though also returns regularly to her homeland of Mexico. Since moving here, Isabel has also starting writing a blog – The Sunny Side of This – where she publishes posts in Spanish and English, and since she has previously written about where to get great Mexican food in Slovenia, and since I was flattered that in a recent post she described meeting me as meeting ‘her blogging idol’, I invited her to come and visit Lesce and try Krčma so we could do a joint blog. And so here it is!


We sat down with the restaurant’s owner, chatted about all things ‘Mexican’ and tried a variety of things from the menu, all of which were, as usual, delicious and plentiful. You certainly never leave Krčma hungry, even someone like me with a big appetite!

Anyone for chimichangas?


Or how about steak in barbeque sauce with spicy rice?


And as for the desserts, well, where should I start? Pancakes tend to feature heavily on dessert menus at many traditional Slovenian restaurants, however, I usually find them somewhat underwhelming as they are all pancake and no filling. The pancakes at Krčma, however, are far from underfilled and, though not exactly Mexican, are absolutely awesome!


And since you can never have enough desserts, how about baked pineapple with caramel too!


Isabel gave the food the thumbs up and since she’s a real Mexican, it must be good! But don’t just take my, or her, word for it, try it for yourself. But do book in advance, its no secret that great food can be found here, and ‘Buen apetito!’ – as they say down Mexico way!

Christmas in Slovenia; Markets, Food, Traditions and more!

Slovenia hasn’t been celebrating Christmas for that long, well not in the form that many of us know it. However, the country has certainly caught up with, and caught onto, the festive spirit and now there are Christmas-related events happening throughout the land.

So, how is Christmas celebrated in Slovenia? What is/isn’t open? What is there to do, where to go?

As in many other countries in Europe, the evening of the 24th is when most families celebrate and get together for a special meal, 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 these days most of the larger ones are open, at least for a few hours in the morning.

There are Christmas markets taking place in all the major cities, the largest being in Ljubljana, where there are numerous markets. The main market is held alongside the banks of the Ljubljanica river, but there are also other markets spread across the city’s squares, with a vast range of events and entertainment taking place from now until the New Year. More information here –

Lju Dunja Wedam

Festive Ljubljana (Dunja Wedam)

In Maribor, Slovenia’s 2nd biggest city, there are numerous events taking place including the Fairy City (Vilinsko mesto), a Festive Fair and a long list of concerts and other events. More information here –


Maribor Christmas Market (photo MP produkcija)

In Celje, ‘Fairytale Celje’ (Pravljično Celje), including a Christmas market, runs from 29th Nov – 31st Dec –


Festive Celje

Other towns with smaller Christmas markets include the Festive Winter Village in Bled – from 4.12 – 17. 1 –


Festive Winter Village, Bled

The Alpine Village in Kranjska Gora – from 28.11 – 3.1 –

Alpine village Kranjska Gora

Alpine Village, Kranjska Gora

And not forgetting the Advent Market in small, but perfectly formed, Radovljica – where I live –

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Advent in Radovljica (pakt media)

If you’ve never been to Radovjlica, just watch this video of a Christmas commercial shot here 2 years ago to see how magical it looks –

Those in, or heading to, the Slovene coast will also find a Christmas market in Portorož (


Christmas Market in Portorož

There are of course many more towns that have Christmas markets and events – too many to list here – and many of these, including those listed here also have open-air ice-skating rinks.

If you are looking for a festive event with a difference, every year, weather conditions permitting, there is a live ice nativity play held in the Mlača Gorge in the village of Mojstrana. With the freezing temperatures we have had of late, this year’s event looks sure to be going ahead and the performances are scheduled to begin on Christmas Day. The entrance fee also includes a walk through the ice kingdom, a gallery of nativity scenes and the nativity performance held in the frozen waterfall. Be sure to wrap up warmly! More information can be found here –

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Live Ice Nativity in Mojstrana

Turning to food, no Slovene home is complete over the festive season without potica – a traditional rolled and filled cake. You will find it everywhere; in cafes, supermarkets, and in almost every Slovene’s home. Potica come in many varieties, the most popular varieties are filled with walnut or poppy seeds, but there are also other fillings including tarragon or coconut, and special editions with dual fillings, such as the one below – named ‘potica of our roots‘  prepared by one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin, from Vila Podvin.


Potica of Our Roots

Wherever you choose to visit and/or spend Christmas in Slovenia, I hope you have a great festive season!

Rimske Toplice – A Spring of Health in the Heart of Nature

Slovenia has its fair share of spa and wellness hotels, however, it’s also fair to say that many of them are geared towards medical services, others towards the family market – swimming pools with water slides etc. i.e. great for kids. The Rimske Terme spa, located in the village of Rimske Toplice, near Laško, is, for me at least, out there on its own when it comes to total relaxation and wellness, and is especially suitable for adults.

On approach you can already see that it’s something special, thanks to the thoughtful design of the buildings which manage to both blend into the surrounding countryside and stand out at the same time.


Rimske Toplice is situated in the picturesque valley of the Savinja river. The village itself comprises mainly residential buildings and a notable church (see below), however, it is the spa and the surrounding countryside which makes this place so special, as well as its proximity to Laškohome of the famous Laško beer. Whilst there I also spent a day exploring Laško and will be writing a more detailed post about that soon since there’s way too much to squeeze into just one blog and to do so would be a shame.

The railway line between Ljubljana and Zidani most runs through the valley, which makes it particularly easily accessible for those reliant on public transport; my tip – if, like me, you are a light sleeper and don’t want the distant rumble of the (infrequent) trains to disturb your slumber, ask for a forest-facing room.

Rimske terme is situated beside a fault that is approximately 1000m under the earth’s surface. Thermal water, with a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius, rises from this depth and research has proved the many healing effects of the water, especially for rheumatic, orthopaedic, neurological, gynaecological and dermatological illnesses. As well as being used in medical treatments, there is a spring right outside the front door of the hotel and guests are encouraged to taste the water and enjoy its pleasant and healing effects.


The Amalija Wellness Centre offers a full range of beauty, pampering and medical wellness services. The hotel’s signature treatments are its Roman bath experiences, which take place in authentic stone bathtubs (it does feel slightly like getting into a coffin at first, but you soon relax and forget that!) filled with pure thermal water. If you are visiting with a loved one, you can also indulge in a romantic bath for two.

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A walk around the Energy Path, among the magnificent sequoia trees, was one of the highlights of my visit. Sequoia are not native to Slovenia; these trees were planted in 1879 as a tribute to the visit by Princess Victoria, heiress to the Prussian throne; the saplings were sent by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. There are 14 energy points, each with an information board explaining the effects on various chakras.

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As great as the Rimske terma spa is, it would be a crying shame not to get out and explore the surroundings too, so, of course, I did!

The Lurd church (Lurška Mati Božja) was built in 1886 and contains altar stones brought from the famous French Lourdes and is, in fact, the first church outside of France to be consecrated to the Blessed Virgin. Today, it is a popular pilgrimage sight.


The start of the hike to the peak of Kopitnik (910m) begins right on the doorstep of the spa. This was an added bonus for me during my stay as it meant I could indulge my passion for hiking in the morning – and didn’t have to use my car the whole time I was there – then enjoy some well-earned rest, relaxation and pampering during the afternoon. It takes 1-1.5 hours to reach the mountain hut Koča na Kopitniku (865m) – depending on which of the 2 routes you choose. Although it was dry and clear when I set off, unfortunately it was cloudy at the top so I didn’t get a chance to soak up the views. Oh well, I’ll just have to go back again!


The Aškerc Homestead (Aškerčeva domačija) is just a few minutes walk uphill on the road leading to the hamlet of Senožete. The former home of Anton Aškerc (1856-1912) – the poet, priest, journalist, traveller and campaigner for the freedom and education of Slovene people – today the 500-year old house operates as a museum where visitors can see the original black kitchen, the granary and the linden tree planted in Aškerc’s memory in 1856.

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The area is also ideal for cycling – beside the Savinja river for easier, flatter rides, or into the surrounding hills for something more challenging. Bikes can be rented at the hotel and during the summer months there are guided bike trips.

Fortunately, for me at least, this is far from being a ‘fat farm’ and good food is plentiful. Breakfast and dinner are buffet style but for an upgraded dining experience there is also an a-la-carte restaurant, and the cakes in the café were also delicious and very difficult to avoid, especially since I had to walk past them every time I went to use the wellness facilities!

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In short, there is a wealth to do, inside or out, at the Rimske terme spa and in the surroundings of Rimske Toplice. I liked it so much I visited twice in two weeks and I will surely be going back!

Useful links:

Rimske terme –

Aškerc Homestead –

Lurd Church –