Stories of Slovene Success: Dali Šport – Dressing the Best!

Two weeks ago I wrote the first in an occasional series of posts entitled ‘Stories of Slovene Success’. That post, which you can read here was about the success of Elan and Peter Prevc.

This week the story is in a similar vein, since the company Dali Šport, based in Lesce, make the clothing for some of Slovenia’s top sports stars, as well as for sports people from numerous other countries competing in, amongst others, skiing, ski jumping, rowing, equine and aerial sports.

I popped in for a nose last week and was lucky enough that during the time of my visit 3 of the Slovenian ski jumping team were there, having come to pick up their new apparel, during a brief lull in training. Below you can see, from left to right, Matjaž Pungertar, Leon Šarc and Anže Lanišek – oh and me of course!



In addition to the firm’s headquarters in Lesce, it also has a shop in Bled which sells off-the-peg sportswear for hiking and other outdoor sports, as well as outfits for your four-legged friend!

Dali Šport, a family run company, has been making made-to-measure and off-the-peg clothing for over 25 years, including the outfit worn by Peter Prevc when he won silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.


And for the ski jumper Robert Kranjec too!


LOOKING AHEAD: It’s not long now until the annual Radovljica Carnival Ball (Pustni ples) with Taste Radol’ca. This year the event will take place on Saturday 6th February at Tulipan Inn in Lesce. Tickets are now on sale at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre. The theme of this year’s ball is ‘The Radovljica Olympics‘ and prizes are up for grabs for those who come up with the most creative outfits. More information (in Slovene) here –

On the same day, at 2pm in the afternoon, the annual Carnival Procession will take place through the streets of Radovljica ending in Linhart Square in the old town centre. More information here –


© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

Carnival Time in Ptuj – Slovenia’s Oldest City

Without doubt one of the highlights of Slovenia’s event calendar is the annual Pust Winter Carnival, known as Kurentovanje, which takes place in Slovenia’s oldest town, Ptuj, in the north-east of the country. This year the carnival takes place from 2-9 February.  During this period numerous events take place, culminating in the main event on Shrove Sunday: The International Carnival Procession.


Carnival events take place in many parts of the country but with over 100,000 people visiting Ptuj for the carnival – coming not only from Slovenia but from many other European countries – the Ptuj carnival is one of Slovenia’s most popular and highly attended events.

The central carnival characters, known as kurents, wear massive sheepskin costumes, and by jangling the cowbells around their waists and brandishing wooden clubs, they aim to chase away winter. I’m all for that!


Visitors to the carnival can also enjoy various arts, dance and theatre performances, which take place through the week, including the Extempore Artfest, Etnofest, a night carnival procession, a carnival party and other events for all the family.

Ptuj was first mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus in 69 AD and has had the status of a town since the Roman era. It has around 25,000 inhabitants spread across its 10 settlements. This charming compact town is packed with history and fascinating buildings and squares. Below are just some of the highlights that I discovered on my visit. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on my side; the heavens opened bringing biblical amounts of rain (cats, dogs, buckets – the works!), but nevertheless I saw enough to know that I want to return to explore the town further.

The 346 hectare Ptuj Lake – the largest artificial lake in Slovenia – is often referred to as the Ptuj seaside. It was formed when the Drava river was damed below Ptuj to serve as an accumulation for the Formin hydroelectric power plant. The vast lake has a marina, the only of its kind in Slovenia, that offers an array of recreative sports – both on and in the water – and is a popular destination for cycling, walking, running, or just chilling!

The Drava river and its four bridges, which have been built and rebuilt throughout the centuries, are landmarks.


Ptuj Castle, set atop a small hill in a dominating position, dates back to the Antiquity. Today, it houses the Ptuj-Ormož Museum which is one of Slovenia’s most visited museums. It has several permanent collections and exhibitions – including collections of traditional carnival masks, musical instruments and glass paintings – as well as the Castle Gallery and temporary exhibitions – some of which can also be found, as the name suggests, in the nearby town of Ormož.


The town centre, declared a protected historic monument, is full of narrow cobbled streets, squares and noteworthy buildings. A particularly nice place to linger is the area in front of the theatre, from where you can sit on a bench and watch the world go by.


The Golden Vine, dating from 1917, is a cutting from the world’s oldest vine, originating from Lent in Maribor. Ptuj has strong links with wine, and wine aficionados should stay at, or at least visit, Hotel Mitra to see the wine cellar, named ‘The Osterberger’s Wine Cellar’ after the original owners of the hotel, the Osterberg family (1890-1945) who produced wine in the nearby wine growing region of Halože and whose award-winning wines were widely regarded in Europe and also as far afield as Argentina.



Other notable buildings include the Minorite Monastery, the Town Hall, the Town Tower, the Church of St. George, Museum Square and the Sunny Park and the Dominican Monastery – seen below – founded by the Lords of Ptuj in 1230.


Useful links:

Ptuj Tourism –

Ptuj Castle –

Ptuj Carnival –

Hotel Mitra and Osterberger’s Wine Cellar –

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016



SO Tasty at Wine Bar and Restaurant Sova, Lesce!

In the almost nine years I’ve been living here I’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants; some average, some great and some outstanding. However, I’d go as far as to say that the meal I had last week in the new Sova Restaurant and Wine Bar in Lesce was the best yet and I haven’t stopped raving about it since!

Lesce has an incredible 12 restaurants – or rather 12 eateries – as a couple are more snack bars than restaurants. When I say ‘incredible’ I don’t mean that they are all ‘incredible’ – some are obviously better than others – it’s just incredible that Lesce, which is something between a big village and a small town, has such a wide choice. I can’t help but wonder if they will all survive, as competition is now fierce, however I certainly hope this latest addition is here to stay.

I must confess that I’m not a great gourmet when it comes to the type of cuisine which is culinary art but you, or at least I, am always left wanting more and leave the restaurant hungry. The team at Sova, however, seem to have found the perfect balance between food that both looks and tastes amazing, comes in decent-sized portions and at prices that don’t break the bank.

The restaurant is run by the team who run Fine Food at Penzion Berc in Bled which is closed during the winter thus they sought out somewhere for the team to offer their fine food – and indeed it is fine food – over the winter. In fact, I couldn’t find fault with a single aspect of the meal, which is a rarity!

Perhaps the only negative aspects, though these are not food-related, are that the restaurant doesn’t have its own car park, doesn’t have any outdoor space and is rather small inside, meaning as and when word gets out and the crowds come flocking (and I believe they will!) we will probably be fighting over tables!

I started my meal with creamy truffle soup with prosciutto chips and profiteroles.


The main course was spicy slow-cooked and grilled pork rib with potato puree and garden vegetables.


And the dessert – yes, you know that is ALWAYS my favourite bit – was mango tiramisu with white and dark chocolate, homemade ice-cream and lavender crème brulee.


Since I enjoyed it so much, I went back again two days later! This time I tried the house pizza, which comes topped with aged gauda, basil pesto, baby onions, prsut ham, and more!


And I somehow found room to try out another pudding too! The chocolate bomb with chocolate mousse and forest fruits, with an added surprise element, which I won’t divulge as it wouldn’t then be a surprise!


All being well, we will hopefully see Sova joining the Taste Radol’ca collective and you will also find some of their delights at this year’s Radovljica Chocolate Festival in April –

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016





Stories of Slovene Success: Peter Prevc & Elan – Passion, Commitment and Pride

New from me this week, the first in an occasional series of ‘Stories of Slovene Success’, and there is currently no greater story of Slovene success than that of Peter Prevc.

The village of Begunje na Gorenjskem, within the Radovljica municipality, is home to the world-renowned manufacturer of skis and sailboats, Elan.

Elan has a long tradition dating back to 1944 and though it may not be the biggest manufacturer of skis in the world, it is certainly right up there when it comes to innovation. The dictionary description of the word Elan – enthusiasm, confidence and style – sums up the company’s passion and commitment to producing world-class skis and sailboats.

Elan skis and sailboats are produced right here in Slovenia in the factory in Begunje, a picturesque village beneath the Karavanke mountains, whilst its snowboards are produced in neighbouring Austria and motorised yachts in Croatia.


If you are visiting the area you can call into the Elan Sports and Leisure Equipment Store, which sells not only skis and ski accessories, but also a range of clothing, bikes, and other outdoor equipment and accessories. Read more here –


Sadly, as has been the fate of so many Slovene-owned companies since the start of the financial crisis (is it officially over yet or not?), Elan is no longer under Slovene ownership, however, production at the factory in Begunje continues unhindered and, with a Slovene workforce, it can still be considered a story of Slovene success.

The current Slovene hero and world-class ski jumper, Peter Prevc – who is dominating this season’s ski jumping world cup – uses Elan skis and is a great advert for doing so!

Peter prevc 6Jan2016

On Wednesday last week he won the Golden Eagle trophy for the 4 Hills Tour, making him the first Slovene to have done so for 20 years. To say that the nation is proud of him would be a gross understatement. Just wait until this year’s Planica World Cup Ski Jumping Final (17-20th March), where I have a feeling most of Slovenia will be there supporting him and it will be off-the-scale crazy! More about Planica here –

Prevc Jan2016

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

New Year in Radovljica / The Dornk Excursion Farm

This year I chose to spend New Year’s Eve (very) close to home at Kunstelj Inn in Radovljica, which is just walking (stumbling!) distance away! The family run Kunstelj Inn has a long tradition and is popular with both locals and visitors to Radovljica and is one of the participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants.

The New Year’s Eve menu consisted of a buffet of cold starters including these tasty cheese bite-pops, followed by a hot starter of pureed spinach and potato with egg.

CIMG0345          CIMG0348

The main course included probably one of the tasty pieces of duck I’ve ever eaten. It literally fell of the bone and I have no idea how they got it that succulent. The only time I ever tried cooking duck I ended up smoking out the whole kitchen!


And the best bit, of course, the dessert buffet and home-made walnut potica. I was too stuffed to try it all – not like me I know – but took some potica home to try the next day, all in the name of research of course!!!

CIMG0350 CIMG0351

Meanwhile, in Radovljica’s old town crowds gathered to see in the New Year with live music from the Avsenik House Ensemble from Begunje na Gorenjskem.

Last week I visited the Dornk Excursion Farm (Izletniška kmetija Dornk) in Mlino to see the nativity scene exhibition and museum collection. Wow, this place is a goldmine, crammed to the rafters with every kind of collectable imaginable, and more! The nativity scene exhibition, housed in the stable (note – it’s not heated so wrap up well!), contains over 100 nativity scenes of various sizes and made from various materials. I was also shown around the over 240-year-old house, run by three generations of the family, which still retains its original features including a black kitchen.


The nativity exhibition is open for viewings daily from 12noon – 6pm until 6th January, then every weekend until the end of January, so there’s still plenty of time. The museum collection is also available to view year-round, by prior arrangement for groups.



The other barn contains an extensive ethnological museum collection which also includes an amazing collection of handmade needleworkembroidery and crocheting – made by the family’s grandmother.

Dornk3           Dornk2

The farm has an extensive orchard and the owners prepare all their own juices, spirits, tea etc. which you can sample, as well as delicious homemade food such as potica, strudel etc. in the cosy snug. Find out more about Dornk here –

According to my annual report from the nice people at WordPress, where I host my blog, the number of readers of this blog in 2015 came from 123 countries around the world and equated to selling out 19 concerts at the Sydney Opera House – isn’t that an interesting fact! Thanks to each and every one of you!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

Ljubljana, once Emona, now the European Green Capital 2016

2016 is going to be an exciting year for Slovenia, as it celebrates 25 years of independence, and also particularly for Ljubljana as it has been chosen as the 2016 European Green Capital.

Two thousand years ago a Roman city, named Emona, stood on the site of present day Ljubljana. During the past two years there have been many celebrations taking place to mark the anniversary, such as this parade in late autumn which began in Congress Square (Kongresni trg) and continued through the streets of the capital, crossing the Ljubljanica river. There were plenty of strapping men dressed in clothing from Roman times, parading their finest weapons and armoury and generally looking ‘mean and menacing’!


The Emona parade through the streets of Ljubljana (Oct 2015)

These days, there are still many different sights and places to visit around Ljubljana which bear witness to the city’s past. The best place to start is at the City Museum, where you can get a guide and take a self-guided tour (or upon prior arrangement a guided tour) of the Emona Roman Trail of Ljubljana. The circular trail takes you past finds from Roman Emona, which, in its entirety, measured a mere 524 x 435 metres and was believed to have had around 500 inhabitants. Amongst the sights are two archaeological parks, a Roman wall, the former town gate and one of the most beautiful finds from the antiquity, the statue of an Emonan.

Ljubljana was chosen as the European Green Capital 2016 by the European Commission for ‘its raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens, its sustainability strategy ‘Vision 2025’, its implementation of a range of urban green measures over the past decade and its impressive transportation network’. Amongst others, the city boasts 542 square metres of green space per resident, use of, and ease of access to, environmentally-friendly public transportquality drinking water, participation in the ‘zerowaste’ programme, good air quality and sustainable tourism.

As an introduction to Green Ljubljana the Water Exhibition, at the aforementioned City Museum, is a good place to start. In fact, even better since the entrance ticket to the exhibition also entitles you to entrance to the Emona Roman Trail.


Part of the ‘Water’ exhibition at the Ljubljana City Museum

There will be various events and initiatives taking place throughout the year, too many to mention here individually, so the best thing is to keep an eye on the Green Ljubljana website for all the latest news and event information – and also the Visit Ljubljana website –

The official opening event will take place in front of Ljubljana’s Town Hall on Monday 11th January at 5pm and is open to all.

Personally, I’m not much of a city-type, however, Ljubljana, fortunately, is not like other big sprawling cities and it’s easy to find peace and greenery. My favourite place in the capital is the expansive Tivoli Park, where you can easily lose yourself for hours among its forested paths. A particularly popular part of the park is the 391m-high Rožnik hill, accessible from numerous directions, where there is a church and where large crowds gather for Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve celebrations. On the southern side of the hill is Ljubljana Zoo, whilst Ljubljana’s Botanic Gardens, though small, offer an oasis of calm.


When in Ljubljana I also enjoy a stroll along the banks of the Ljubljanica river, where there is almost always something going on, or a walk up to Ljubljana Castle. Staying with the green theme, the Bicike(LJ) fleet of bike sharing bikes can be used for getting around the city, which is very bike-friendly, and Ljubljana’s main thoroughfare – Slovenska cesta – has recently been pedestrianised.


A view of Ljubljana Castle from the riverbank (photo: D. Wedam)

Ljubljana’s other great asset is that just a few kilometres from the city you can be in the surrounding countryside and within less than half-an-hour can be hiking or skiing in the mountains, visiting caves in the Karst area or exploring the Ljubljana Marshes Nature Park.

The Polhov hills lie just beyond Ljubljana’s suburbs and offer many hiking paths. I sometime hike in this area in the late-autumn/winter, when there is snow in the higher mountains. Below you can see me on the peak of Grmada (898m), though not the highest – that is Tošč (1021m) – on a clear day it offers the most wonderful far-reaching views and is certainly more than worth the effort to get there. You can read more about my hikes there in previous blogs such as this one –


On top of Grmada in the Polhov hills

There are also number trails in and around Ljubljana including the Ostroverhar Trail, which starts in the village of Podgrad near Ljubljana and leads over Kašelj hill up to the ruins of two medieval castles, previously part of the Osterberg property and home to the Ostrovrhar knights. You can read more about it in this previous post –

Podgrad pri Lj 13 april 2013 008

So, why not make 2016 a year to discover Green Ljubljana! I’m looking forward to it too.

A very Happy New Year to one and all!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016