Let The Train Take The Strain!

With the world becoming, or trying to become, ever ‘greener’, many of us are trying to do our bit here and there, including taking public transport, where possible.

The great news is that Radovljica is really well connected, so it’s an ideal place to base yourself for getting around Slovenia and even further afield.

In addition to Radovljica’s new railway station, Slovenian Railways also introduced some new trains late last year. The first journey took place on the new electrified KISS trains, produced by the Swiss producer Stadler, on the Ljubljana-Litija line. The trains are renowned for their improved comfort, spaciousness and functionality, as well as panoramic windows for a literal ‘seat with a view’.

Na slovenskih železnicah prvi novi dvonadstropni električni vlak - Zelena Slovenija

Within minutes of stepping off the train at Radovljica’s railway station you can reach Linhart Square – the heart of the historic old town centre.

It takes less than an hour to reach Radovljica from Ljubljana (or vice versa), or in the other direction, you can go to Jesenice and from there to Villach in Austria and onwards. In the opposite direction, i.e. from Ljubljana, you can travel to Maribor or Celje – Slovenia’s second and third largest cities respectively – or to Zagreb in Croatia and further.

Below I’ve put together a few suggestions of what to see and do by train (and bus) in the local area.

Take the train from Radovljica to Globoko, where you can visit the Barbana Stud Farm to see the famous white Lipizzaner horses.

Lipizzaner Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

From Globoko you can either return by train or walk back through the Forest Nature Trail.

Take the train from Radovljica to Otoče, then walk the Otoče to Brezje Pilgrimage Trail.

On reaching Brezje, you can see Slovenia’s national pilgrimage sanctuary – the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians – as well as the Nativity Museum, then return to Radovljica by bus.

Take the bus from Radovljica to Bled, so much easier than searching (and paying!) for somewhere to park. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about Bled’s ‘star attraction’!

Take the bus from Radovljica to Begunje na Gorenjskem, where you can visit the Elan Alpine Skiing Museum, the Avsenik Museum, and the village is also an excellent destination for hiking in the Karavanke mountains, for example to St. Peter’s church above the village, on the Lamberg Trail past Kamen Castle to the Draga Valley, from where you can continue up to the Roblekov dom mountain hut or even higher up to Mt. Begunscica.

Photo: Miran Kambic

Of course, there are numerous other options, which, for travel in the Radol’ca area, the lovely folk at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre can help you with, or for travel further afield take a look at the Slovenian Railways website to get some more ideas of what to see and do.

So, why not sit back and let the train take the strain?!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

 

The Sky Isn’t the Limit at Lesce Sports Airfield!

The annual open day and model aircraft competition took place at Lesce Sports Airfield on Monday this week – Assumption Day.

We went along to watch some of the amazing model aircraft, which, apart from the size, could easily be mistaken for the real thing!

One can only imagine the hours upon hours of painstaking labour, not to mention patience and precision, that go into making such models.

In addition to the model aircraft show and competition, visitors also had the chance to see aircraft up close…

…and even a chance to sit inside!

I managed to get a shot of a model aeroplane and real aeroplane almost in unison, which perfectly illustrates the likeness of the former to the latter. Can you work out which one is which?!?!

Although the event has now been and gone for this year, you can still visit the airport at anytime to just observe the comings and goings while enjoying a drink and/or meal at the excellent on-site Na Klezn’k restaurant. A great meal with a great view!

You can also treat yourself to a panoramic plane or helicopter flight above Lake Bled, the Karavanke mountains, the Julian Alps and the wider Gorenjska area. For more information send an email to: info@alc-lesce.si

Various other events and competitions are held at the airfield throughout the year, including an annual paragliding competition.

Photo: Skydiving Source

Click here to read more about gliding above the Alps.

In addition, the airport’s location on the Radovljica Plains provides excellent conditions for gliding.

So, another place to add to your ‘must visit’ list whilst in the Radol’ca area!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

 

What’s New and What to Do This Summer in Radol’ca

It’s hot! Hooray!!! While those that aren’t lovers of the heat are already complaining, I’m in my element at this time of year when I get get out on my bike and in the hills and mountains, and when one doesn’t need to go out dress in multiple layers of clothing!

The tourist season seems to have started much earlier this year here in Radol’ca and elsewhere in Slovenia, no doubt such is the yearning among many for holidays after the long COVID-19 pandemic.

So, with that in mind, this blog contains a rundown of new features and events in Radol’ca this summer, as well as some of the great, existing, traditional events too! As you will see, there’s certainly plenty to choose from and something to suit all the family.

Thursdays in the Square

Thursdays in the Square are back this year with a series of concerts featuring a variety of music. The concerts take place every Thursday evening in July in the old town centre of Radovljica. The first concert will feature Slovenian hit songs performed by young musicians from the surroundings of Radovljica, followed on 14th July by the Argentian-Italian group SuRrealistas. The third Thursday in July Čedahuci will perform followed by Masharik on the last Thursday in the month. Taste Radol’ca street food will be available at all the Thursday evening concerts and, prior to that, visitors will have a chance to purchase arts and crafts from stalls of the ARTish festival.

Guided independent cycling and cycling-culinary tours

Why not set off on a culinary-cycling tour of the Radol’ca area? Guided e-Bike tours are available or just hire a bike (or bring your own), pick up a map from the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre, and set off on your way.

Cycling is an ideal way to get some outdoor exercise, enjoy the fresh air and see and taste the countryside. Along the way you can stop off at the Pr’Šlibar farm, where you can buy fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, juice and cordial as well as dried meats, and the Dolenc Farm where you can taste and buy some of the home-produced dairy products.

You can then cycle on to the lush Draga Valley, home to the Gostišče Draga restaurant. At the entrance to the valley you can stop and take a look at the magnificent ruins of Kamen Castle.

This year Gostišče Draga, which is part of Taste Radol’ca, was once again visited by Slovenia’s top food critics, who awarded it two hearts, thus confirming its place as one of the best in the Radol’ca area. The restaurant with rooms is also the holder of the Green Key in Green Cuisine sign as a result of its efforts to operate sustainably.

The Draga Valley is also home to the parkour archery course, which I can highly recommend.

Free guided tours

Special free guided tours of Radovljica, Kropa, Mošnje, Kamna Gorica and Kamen Castle will be held throughout July and August.

In addition to guided tours, from Mondays to Saturdays throughout July and August, half day Hop On and Discover bus tours, run in cooperation with the neighbouring destinations of Tržič, Jesenice and Bled, offer the opportunity to explore more of Radol’ca and the surroundings. The bus trips are free of charge for holders of a Julian Alps: Radovljica benefits card (see below).

Julian Alps: Radovljica benefits card

Discount cards are available free of charge for those staying in partner accommodation in the Radol’ca area for a minimum of three nights. The card is issued by accommodation providers and can be used to take advantage of numerous discounts and other special offers for activities in Radol’ca and the neighbouring destinations.

Iron Forging Festival

The village of Kropa sits nested into the far eastern edge of the Jelovica plateau and is crammed with interesting architecture and preserved technical heritage, which is showcased during the annual Iron Forging Festival. This year’s festival takes place on Saturday 2nd July.

The festival features demonstrations of hand forging of nails in the vigenjc Vice forge, a small local market, open days at the Iron Forging Museum and the Fovšaritnica Museum House, as well as at the headquarters of the company UKO Kropa, which specialises in all manner of wrought iron furnishings and fittings and is keeping the village’s iron-forging tradition alive.

Avsenik Festival

The hugely popular Avsenik Festival attracts lovers of Slovenian folk music from far and wide. This year’s festival takes place over three days from 26th to 28th August.

In addition to the above, there are also other events, such as the annual Radovljica Early Music Festival, Medieval Day and open-air cinema, as well as plentiful water sports, theme and hiking trails and more! Click here to get the full list of summer events.

As you can see, whether your a culture vulture or an adrenalin junkie, there’s something for everyone this summer in Radol’ca!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

All Trails Lead to Talež!

I could probably almost write an entire book about the various paths that lead to Talež – a vantage point on the Jelovica plateau with magnificent views over the Radovljica plains, Bled, the Karavanke mountains and towards the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. However, as I’m writing a blog rather than a book, below I’ve provided a brief overview of just some of the trails that lead up to Talež, so you can pick the one that suits you, depending on where you are starting/staying.

From Radovljica the most direct route leads down from the old town over the bridge above the railway line, down Cesta svobode road to reach the bridge across the Sava river at Lancovo. Cross the bridge then turn immediately right and after just cca. 100 metres take the left fork. Continue for cca. 150 metres to another fork, where you should continue straight ahead (not up to the left).

After passing a few houses on your left, you will enter the forest. Continue to the first green waymarker to Talež, where you should turn left, then at the next waymarker turn right. Thereafter, there aren’t any other visible waymarkers but the path is well trodden, and even if you lose your way, just keep heading in a roughly westerly direction until you reach the forest road, which you then follow, again in a westerly direction, towards the Koča na Taležu (Hunters’ Hut on Talež) mountain hut.

If you are staying at the Šobec campsite, you can cross the bridge over the Sava river from the rear of the camp then continue across the meadows to reach the bridge over the Sava river at Bodešče, from where you can follow the trail up to the Koča na Taležu mountain hut. Note: this trail is somewhat easier to follow and has a couple of waymarkers.

Iz Radovljice na Bled

If you’d like to do a longer, circular walk then you continue onwards from the hut to the highest point of the Talež ridgeTolsti vrh. There are several options, but my preferred one is to continue past the hut following the green signs for Tolsti vrh.

Alternatively, for an even longer, circular walk, you can first walk (or cycle/drive) alongside the Sava river all the way to Selo, where you cross the Sava river.

Then walk up through the forest to the village of Kupljenik, passing a couple of shrines on the way.

On reaching the village you are rewarded with the first of many great views!

From the village, initially follow the marked path to the Babji zob cave before branching off towards Talež.

As this walk is at lower altitudes, it’s also ideal for late-spring (or winter if there’s not much snow). These photos were taken in April, hence you can still see snow on the mountains in the distance.

You might meet a friend or two along the way!

Whichever route you choose, you will eventually end up at the Lovska koča na Taležu hut, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink, a cake and/or something more hearty, while soaking up the views over the Radovljica Plains and the Karavanke mountains (note: out of season the hut is usually only open at weekends, during summer it is open daily).

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Click to find out more about the numerous theme trails and hiking trails in the Radol’ca area.

Happy hiking!

© Adele in Slovenia

A Perfect Radol’ca Party!

If you’re looking for the perfect place to hold a celebration or party, or just seeking some posh nosh and a unique experience, look no further than Radovljica!

I had spent quite some time trying to decide where to throw a surprise get-together for Aleš’s (the other half!) 50th birthday, when in the end the choice was staring me in the face – Radovljica!

Thanks to the new Radol’ca Chocolate chocolatier and the excellent Hiša Linhart restaurant and bistro, headed up by the Michelin star-recipient Uroš Štefelin, I managed to put together a perfect evening and everything went to plan, too! The restaurant, in Radovljica’s historic old town centre, is also part of Taste Radol’ca.

I started by sitting down and going through the menu to ensure that all the food would be gluten-free, which isn’t a problem when it comes to this level of food, where flour isn’t used as a thickener, everything is made from scratch and the chef(s) know(s) exactly what is, and isn’t, in the dishes they create.

I took a bit of a detour towards the old town – just a 10-min walk from home – to ensure that Aleš still didn’t have a clue what was in store! I’d arranged it all in advance with the team at Hiša Linhart and bought all the balloons and other decor. On arrival we were whisked upstairs where the others were waiting and then… SURPRISE!!! And I let out a sigh of relief that I’d pulled it off!

We raised a toast with tepka juice made from a traditional Gorenjska variety of pear, one of Hiša Linhart’s specialities. We then sat down to start our feast, which began with a cold starter of warm gluten-free bread with various flavours of butter, a mini salmon and caviar blini-cum-wrap, potato choux pastry, and the most amazing creation in an egg containing pork crackling.

The latter was ‘delivered’ to us by none other than the chef himself – Uroš Štefelin!

I had specifically requested parsnip soup as it’s my favourite, and also because I knew no one else would have ever tasted it, as parsnips are a bit of a novelty here!

We then had a hot starter followed by the main course…

…and then came the next part of the surprise. A visit to the new Radol’ca Chocolate chocolatier, where Iza – the daughter of the owners – took us through a guided tasting session, during which we learnt all about the history of chocolate, the different types of chocolate and how it is made.

First we had a chance to try different kinds of pure chocolate, as well as cocoa butter  – the latter, surprisingly, doesn’t resemble chocolate in any way.

After having learnt a lot about my favourite food, we were then given the chance to try some of the amazing and creatively flavoured chocolates…

….and got some to take home too!

But that wasn’t quite the end of the evening! We went back to Hiša Linhart (all of a 90 second walk away!) where we made sure we really were bursting full by indulging in a gluten-free birthday cake, which I had ordered from Lincer in Lesce, which offers all kinds of gluten-free (as well as egg-free, dairy-free, etc.) food.

So, as you can see, a great time was had by all, and with full stomachs, the birthday boy and I waddled our way home, both in agreement that Radovljica really is the perfect place for a party!

© Adele in Slovenia

The Best Views in Radovljica – You Don’t Need to Go Far!

As the title of this blog elicits, you are never far from a stunning view in Radovljica, and you don’t even need to don your hiking boots or work up a sweat to savour the views either!

There are numerous great vantage points in and around Radovljica, all of which are within a 10-15 minute walk of the old town. Let’s start with the closest and work our way backwards, i.e. away from Linhart Square – the heart of the historic old town centre.

The viewing platform at the end of the old town is a great way to get a ‘feel for the land’. You can see the Sava river, the Jelovica plateau, and the Julian Alps – with Slovenia’s highest mountain, Mt. Triglav.

From the old town walk to the car park that it just a few metres ahead and you will see another viewpoint with a bench and similar views to those from the old town.

Now ahead away from the old town towards the Radovljica swimming pool, which is currently under reconstruction. Behind the pool there is a small hill called Obla gorica. Walk up and along its length, where you can also try out the brand new trim trail. The views are somewhat obscured by trees, but where there is a gap in the trees, there are great views to be had.

There is a second, smaller and lower rise to the east, from where views open up of the Baroque St. Peter’s church in the old town.

The final stop is the small hill called Voljči hrib, from where there are magnificent panoramic views of the Karavanke mountains, the Radovljica Plains, over Radovljica itself, and the Julian Alps in the distance. There’s a bench at the top, too, where you can soak up the views.

By the way, I took these photos a couple of weeks ago (yes, it’s taken me that long to find time to get round to putting this blog together!) and as I write, it’s raining here in Radovljica. However, I can see the snow getting lower and lower, so the mountains are, yet again, snow-capped, and we might even wake up to snow on the ground in the morning, too – boo hoo!

The best and easiest way to navigate Radovljica is to first pay a visit to the Tourist Information Centre, which is located at the entrance to Linhart Square, where you can pick up a map and the staff will be happy to point you in the direction of the viewpoints mentioned in this blog, and, of course, provide any other information you need about the area.

Almost all the COVID-related measures have been dropped now (masks are still mandatory indoors), so this year you really can start planning your trip to Slovenia, which, of course, must include a visit to Radovljica!

© Adele in Slovenia

Winter Hikes and Spikes in Radol’ca!

At last, I’ve found time to sit down and write my first blog of the year 2022! It’s been a funny old winter so far. First a lot of early snow in December, followed by a very cold spell, then an unseasonably mild spell, followed by rain, a bit more snow and now another really cold spell, albeit now at least with beautiful blue skies and sunshine.

Although I’ve never been a fan of the cold and snow, I’m also not one to sit indoors, regardless of the weather (and my ongoing health woes). So, here are a few ideas for winter hikes in the Radol’ca, oh, and read on to find out about the ‘spikes’ (as mentioned in the title) too!

One of our favourite hikes at this time of the year is to Smokuški vrh above the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem. Since we like doing circular routes and prefer to leave the car in the garage, when we have time we often set off on foot from Radovljica to Begunje (cca. 50 minutes), where we take the path that begins near the post office and leads steeply up to St. Peter’s church (cca. 30mins).

From the church, we carry on up to Smokuški vrh on the ridge, which is a great vantage point.

We then walk along the ridge, with stunning views of the Julian Alps and Slovenia’s highest mountain – Triglav – before descending towards the village of Rodine and back through Hraše and Lesce to Radovljica.

Now onto the ‘spikes’ I mentioned above…As also mentioned above, it’s been a mixed bag this winter, which means that although some places at lower altitudes are now almost snow-free (up to around 800metres above sea-level), in the forest, particularly in areas that don’t get any/much sun and paths that are well used, the paths are really icy in places, hence ‘spikes’ i.e. mini crampons, are a ‘must’ in my rucksack wherever I go.

So, if you are planning any hikes in winter, I’d advise you bring (or buy while you are here) a pair of these mini crampons – you can pick them up for around €30, they are very lightweight and quick and easy to put on. Note, however, that these crampons are NOT suitable for more strenuous and higher mountain tours, for which semi-automatic crampons are a must at this time of the year.

And what’s more, the ones I’m ‘modelling’ below, are even made here in the municipality of Radovljica – at the Veriga factory in Lesce, where you can buy them direct of pick them up in sports shops.

My other favourite places to hike in the Radovljica area in winter include the Goška ravan mountain pasture and hut on the Jelovica plateau

The Roblekov dom mountain hut, above the Draga valley on the slopes of Mt. Begunščica

And the Vodiška planina mountain pasture and Partisanski dom mountain hut above Kropa.

You can find out about all these hikes and more about winter in Radovljica, visit the Visit Radol’ca website. Happy and, of course, safe hiking!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

Radol’ca Chocolate – Radovljica Just Got Even ‘Sweeter’!

Radovljica is even richer, and sweeter, thanks to a great new addition – the new Radol’ca Chocolate boutique chocolate shop!

But calling it just a ‘shop’ is doing it an injustice, since it’s so much more.

All the chocolates are handmade on site at this new family-run venture, which is the brainchild of the former director of the Radovljica Tourist Board, Nataša Mikelj, who, together with her husband and eldest daughter, have set up and opened a new chapter in their lives and that of Radovljica.

Since having introduced the very popular and successful Radovljica Chocolate Festival to the town’s annual events calendar several years ago, Nataša’s interest was sparked in where chocolate comes from, how it’s made, flavour combinations, etc.

For several years she had tried to find someone who would be interested in opening a chocolate shop in Radovljica, but there was little interest. It was during lockdown that Nataša had time to think long and hard about her life, career and future and had a lightbulb moment when she realised what her new calling could be in life – chocolate!

And the result of many months of research, hard graft and learning the tools and tricks of the trade is certainly paying off, since passing trade is brisk and orders are already pouring in for Christmas gifts, business gifts, etc.

The shop is located at the entrance to Radovljica’s old town centre. Inside you can get up close to watch the chocolates being made…

…learn about the ingredients…

… talk to the family…

…and try a sample before you buy!

It’s a tough place to be for a chocoholic like me!

In future, workshops, tasting sessions and other events are planned too.

A chocolate weekend is due to be held (providing further COVID restrictions aren’t introduced by then) on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December. Click here to read more.

So, now you can take a piece of Radovljica (chocolate!) home as a treat for yourself or your loved ones – or both!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

Autumn Colours and Tastes of Radol’ca

Radol’ca, like much of the rest of Slovenia, is awash with stunning autumn colours at the moment, so if you get the chance, now is the time to visit and take a drive through the Gorenjska countryside.

This week and next will be the peak of the autumnal colours, as the leaves are dropping at a rate of knots now, so don’t miss out on this short-lived annual spectacular. Autumn is a time of mixed emotions for me; I love it because of the colours and still (usually!) relatively warm weather, but at the same time know that it means winter is on the way!

In addition to stunning colours, autumn is a time of seasonal tastes, and the annual Taste Radol’ca month of local menus, which takes place every November, is another good reason to visit. This Friday 29th October the opening event of this year’s Taste Radol’ca takes place at Vila Podvin in Mošnje, near Radovljica. It begins in the afternoon with a farmers’ market featuring local suppliers and tastings, whilst in the evening the opening dinner will be prepared by Taste Radol’ca chefs and served by waiting staff from all the nine participating restaurants.

The farmers’ market, which will run from 5pm to 7pm, is open to everyone – the more the merrier (though note that you must meet, and be able to prove, that you meet one of the RVT conditions (recovered, vaccinated, tested) – while the five-course opening dinner is a ticket-only event. Contact the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre to enquire about purchasing tickets and to find out more information about what to see and do in autumn in the Radol’ca area.

After the opening event, and right up until the end of November, you will be able to try one (or more!) of the specially prepared menus featuring local ingredients prepared by the talented Taste Radol’ca chefs at: Vila Podvin, Draga Inn, Lectar Inn, Kunstelj Inn, Gostišče Tulipan, Gostilna Avguštin, Gostilna Pr’ Tavčar, Restavracija Center and Restavracija Tabor.

On a side note, albeit still on the same theme, if you haven’t yet got round to visiting Vila Podvin – awarded a Michelin Star in both 2020 and 2021 – you might want to hot foot it there before the end of November (again, don’t forget RVT), when its eight-year chapter of exceptional success draws to a close.

But all is not lost, as one book closes and opens, as the entire Vila Podvin team will be moving to Hotel and Restaurant Linhart in Linhart Square, the heart of the old town of Radovljica, which Uroš and his business partner, Marcela, bought at the start of 2020 as a result of their offer being rejected to purchase the building in which Vila Podvin operated. The hotel, like many other places in Radovljica (Linhart Hall, Linhart Square…) is named after the well-known 18-century Slovenian playwright Anton Tomaž Linhart who lived in the neighbouring house.

So, now is the time to visit AND taste Radol’ca! Hope to see you there, or rather here, soon!

© Adele in Slovenia

Living Together. About Bees and Mankind

These days I mostly make my living from translating – from Slovenian into English – which, like every job, has its ups and downs. The pluses, among others, are that I’m my own boss, I work from home and can set my own working hours (to some extent), while the minuses, among others, is that often clients have very short (and unrealistic!) deadlines! And that, too, was the case when I began to work on the translation of a new book on beekeeping, however, in this case it transpired that the interesting content and efforts of all those involved made it all worthwhile.

And so, the book titled ‘Living Together. About Bees and Mankind‘ has now been published, and herewith a brief story of its creation, the author behind it, and its importance.

Petra Bole, the director of Radovljica Municipal Museums, which include the Museum of Apiculture, is the brains behind the book, which was published to coincide with the newly renovated museum and as a protocol gift on the occasion of Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2021.

The 300 page book contains stunning photos and covers beekeeping-related topics such as art, bees and the past, bees and mankind, and nature.

On the occasion of its publication, Petra invited us – the team behind the book (from left to right: Barbara Bogataj – designer; me(!) – translator; Ivan Esenko – photographer; Petra Bole – author; Mihaela Pichler Radanov – editor) to a little gathering in the garden of the Šivec House Gallery to celebrate.

It is, of course, fitting that such a book has been written here in Radovljica – home to the Museum of Apiculture with its brand new exhibition, the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska, and numerous beekeepers and their colourful apiaries, and the Follow a ‘Bee’ Through Radovljica Family Adventure – and by a local resident, who, since becoming director of Radovljica Municipal Museums, has also taken up beekeeping herself!

No photo description available.

The Museum of Apiculture is housed in the magnificent Radovljica Manor in the old town centre of Radovljica.

Find out more about beekeeping in the Radovljica area here, and, if you are planning a visit to the Radovljica area this autumn, be(e) sure to do, or see, something bee-related, and in doing so play your part in recognising the importance of, and helping to preserve, our precious bees!

© Adele in Slovenia