Hop-On Hop-Off This Summer: Radovljica, Bled, Brezje, Kropa, Kamna Gorica, Begunje, Žirovnica

The Radol’ca Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus will begin operating on Tuesday 4th July and will run every Tuesday and Thursday during July and August. This year there is an even wider range of places to visit and more things to see and do.

As in previous years a day ticket is great value at just 5 euros. You can get on and off the bus to visit sights of interest along the way, or just enjoy the ride!

On Tuesdays the route is Bled – Radovljica – Kropa, with additional stops at the Šobec Camp, Lesce, Lancovo and Kamna Gorica.

On Thursdays the route is Bled – Vrba – Žirovnica – Begunje – Brezje, with additional stops at Breznica, Spodnji Otok and Podvin.

To whet your appetite here’s a preview of just some of the things you can see and do along the way.

For the first time, this year the bus route includes Žirovnica, where you can visit the new Ajdna Museum Room to find out more about the Ajdna archeological site beneath Mt. Stol where remains were found from a Late Antiquity village dating back over 1400 years.

On especially hot days, a trip to the Završnica valley is an ideal way to seek some tranquillity and shade.

The valley is also a start point for great hikes and bike trips in the Karavanke range, including to the highest peak, Mt. Stol.

You can also visit Noč Beekeeping, where you can see some of the hives belonging to the president of Slovenia’s Beekeeping Association and his family, purchase honey and honey products, and try and buy the exclusive ‘Medena noč’ perfume made with Slovenian honey. You can read more about this in one of my previous blog posts here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2016/06/06/perfume-made-with-slovene-honey-not-just-an-idea-a-reality/

In Brezje you can see the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, and the Nativity Museum, or take a walk on the Path of Peace to the Peračica waterfall.

In Kamna Gorica you can walk through the village to see its many waterways, and walk up to the Sextons’ House Museum, which contains an original black kitchen. Its position offers great views over the village and towards the Karavanke mountains.

In Kropa you can visit the Iron Forging Museum, take a stroll through the village to see the former ironworkers houses, or visit the Vigenc Vice Blacksmith to watch a demonstration of manual nail forging.

In Radovljica itself there are numerous things to see and do including a visit to the Lectar Gingerbread Museum and Workshop, the Museum of Apiculture, the Šivec House Gallery, or simply enjoy a stroll through the well-preserved medieval old town and sit at the viewpoint and enjoy the views of the Sava river, the Jelovica plateau and the Julian Alps.

Or why not take the chance to find out more about Slovenian food and wine by enjoying a meal at one of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants or take a Taste Radol’ca Food Tour. More information here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/taste-radolca-tours/

Further information about the Hop-on Hop-off route and timetable can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

What’s On in Radovljica June 2017 – A Lot!

Here’s a round-up of the latest news and events taking place in June 2017, of interest to both visitors and locals, in my lovely home town of Radovljica as well as the surrounding towns and villages. I apologise in advance for the long blog, but there’s so much going on!

Any running enthusiasts out there? The annual Radovljica 10k run takes place this year on Friday 23rd June. The race is even featured on the Run International website, since, despite being the smallest event it lists, it is included for having ‘a particularly-beautiful setting’. The route goes through and around the town, from where there are fantastic views of the Sava river, the Julian Alps, the Karavanke mountains, and the Jelovica plateau. You can read more about the event here – http://www.runinternational.eu/2017-calendar/june/2851-radolska-10ka-2017

Every Tuesday you can join a FREE guided tour of Radovljica’s historic old town centre. The tour begins at 10am at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre at the entrance to the old town in Linhart Square (Linhartov trg).

An exhibition titled ‘Terra Mystica’ is on view in the Radovljica Mansion in the old town until 2nd June. The exhibition showcases products made at the children’s ceramics biennial.

Talking of ceramics, the Festival of the Strength of the Earth (previously known as the Ceramics Festival) took place last Saturday. The main market event took place in Linhart Square, where visitors could see and buy products such as ceramic ware, herbs, seeds, natural cosmetics, and teas.

Photo: Boris Pretnar

Whilst workshops took place at the biodynamic garden at the town primary school.

Photo: Boris Pretnar

The annual month-long Vurnik Days (Vurnikovi dnevi) begins on 1st June in memory of the architect Ivan Vurnik who was born in Radovljica in 1884. Vurnik helped found the Ljubljana School of Architecture and, together with his wife, Helena Kottler Vurnik, they went on to design many notable buildings in Radovljica, as well as further afield in Slovenia.

Radovljica’s swimming pool was built in 1932 and is considered one of Vurnik’s most notable projects. The most distinguishing feature, at its time considered a daring feat of engineering and architecture, was the high diving platform. It was demolished in 1966 but Radovljica’s Olympic-size swimming pool lives on today, in the same location, though in a somewhat more modern form.

Another of his works is the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Brezje, built in the period from 1965 – 1967, which is today the most renowned pilgrimage centre in Slovenia. In 1988 it was elevated to the status of basilica by Pope John Paul II. More here – http://www.radolca.si/en/brezje/

The opening event will take place in the Šivec House Gallery on 1st June at 8pm where an exhibition of the work of Ivan and Helena Vurnik will be officially opened by Radovljica’s mayor. More about the gallery can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-sivec-house-gallery/

All month there will also be a special Vurnik Tasting Menu available at Vila Podvin restaurant. More information here – http://www.vilapodvin.si/

The first Outdoor Cinema (Letni kino) will take place at Linhart Hall (Linhartova dvorana) on Friday 23rd June at 9.30pm when the film The Beatles: 8 Days a Week will be screened. And even better, this kick-off film, that you can enjoy sitting outdoors in the courtyard, is FREE.

On 23rd June the annual Midsummer’s Eve Festival will take place in the shelter of the ruins of Kamen Castle in Begunje na Gorenjskem.

Photo: Miran Kambic

And all this is in addition to the usual natural, historical and cultural sights of the Radovljica area – the historic old town centre, the stunning views of the Karavanke mountains, the Julian Alps, the Sava river, the countless walking, hiking and cycling routes, and the delicious local food on offer at Taste Radol’ca restaurants.

I know, it’s hard to know where to start!

© Adele in Slovenia

Vurnikov Trg – Radovljica’s New Square Comes to Life!

Anyone who has visited, or passed through, Radovljica in the past few years, can’t have failed to have noticed the large building site that has lain dormant for some time. Over the past few years the site had earned itself the unfortunate nickname by some locals as ‘the concrete jungle’.

Now, the new square it is finally nearing completion with all the residential/retail/office units complete, and just the one unfortunate blot on the landscape remaining – the concrete shell which is to be Radovljica’s new library, if the long-running saga of financing its completion ever gets resolved. Eventually, it will hopefully become the semi-green oasis envisaged in the plans below!

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Next weekend Radovljica’s new square, Vurnikov Trg (Vurnik Square), will serve its first purpose as the hosting area for the attempt at the Guinness World Record for the Largest Chocolate Bar, as part of the Radovljica Chocolate Festival, taking place from 15 – 17 April. The map below shows all the festival locations.

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The official measuring and announcement of the record is due to begin at 4.30pm on Friday 15th April.

Vurnikov Trg is named after the Slovene architect Ivan Vurnik (1884-1971), who was born in Radovljica. Vurnik helped found the Ljubljana School of Architecture and, together with his wife, Helena Kottler Vurnik, they went on to design many notable buildings in Slovenia, as well as further afield.

Radovljica’s swimming pool was built in 1932 and is considered one of Vurnik’s most notable projects. The most distinguishing feature, at its time considered a daring feat of engineering and architecture, was the high diving platform. It was demolished in 1966 but Radovljica’s Olympic-size swimming pool lives on today, in the same location, though in a somewhat more modern form.

Kopalisce Radovljica 1932

The Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Brezje, built in the period from 1965 – 1967, is today the most renowned pilgrimage centre in Slovenia. In 1988 it was elevated to the status of basilica by Pope John Paul II. More here – http://www.radolca.si/en/brezje/

Brezje 1965-1967

The Zadružna Gospodarska Banka (Co-operative Business Bank) building in Ljubljana is one of the city’s most famous buildings. It was built in 1921. Ivan Vurnik designed it whilst his wife painted the interior wall paintings and frescoes. More here – http://www.visitljubljana.com/en/activities/sightseeing/1771/poidetail.html

Zadruzna gospodarska banka Lju 1922

The Bishop’s Chapel in Trieste was designed by Vurnik in 1913 for Bishop Dr. Andrej Karlin. It is considered one of Vurnik’s finest works and one of the best examples of Secessionist sacral art. This was Vurnik’s first work, completed in collaboration with his wife.

Skofovska kapela Trst

The above photos, by Miran Kambič, show just a selection of Vurnik’s work. More detailed information is available from the Slovene Centre for Architecture, that has also produced a range of products, which make ideal gifts, based on Vurnik’s designs. The items are available at selected tourist offices, museums and bookshops, amongst them at the Radovljica Tourist Office. More information here – http://www.centerarhitekture.org/darilo-slovenske-arhitekture/

darilo slovenske arhitekture Vurnik center arhitekture 2014

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

The Rosary Bead Path (Rožnovenska pot)

Thank goodness that week is over. It was wet, wet, and, for good measure, a bit more wet! Even on Monday, which the forecasters said would be “sunny, so make the most of it as it will be the only dry day of the week”, it drizzled, and we were enshrouded in low cloud all day. Then the heavens opened and stayed open for 4 days – non stop. Rivers were swollen and, at least in my case, cabin-fever began to set in.

Fortunately, the weather redeemed itself somewhat at the weekend and we finally saw the sky and a few hours of much needed sunshine, which allowed for a jaunt out. Since many places were waterlogged I decided to investigate and walk part of the Rosary Bead Path (Rožnovenska pot) which I had stumbled upon during the summer and vowed to return to investigate further. The path, which leads to some of the key religious edifices and sights in the municipalities of Radovljica and Tržič, is shaped like a rosary bead, as seen below, hence the name.

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Although the path has religious connections – there are pilgrimage walks here a couple of times a year – it also takes in some great countryside and sacral architecture, so even those not interested in the religious side will enjoy walking some, or all, of the path.

The path officially begins in Brezje, at Slovenia’s national sanctuary, the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. However, since its circular, you could actually begin it anywhere along the 12.2km route.

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The path is split into five sections and marked with green way-markers as well as being equipped with information boards and newly installed stone markers showing additional information.

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The path links four churches – in Kovor, Brezje pri Tržiču, Leše and Brezje – and is very scenic throughout with views of the Karavanke mountains . The terrain is a mixture of fields, meadows, forest and short sections of (quiet) roads, There are also benches, toilets (I was more than astonished to see a new-looking wooden toilet block in the middle of the forest!) and two places where drinking water can be obtained. Those completing the whole route are also invited to sign in the walk record books which are found in the village of Hudo (number 12), and at the shrine in Brezje pri Tržiču. It was here, at number 42, that I met a very kind and friendly lady, who is one of those who maintains the path and who gave me a leaflet and told me more about the path, and is happy to offer advice or information to anyone passing en-route.

Useful Links:

Basilica of Mary Help of Christians – http://www.radolca.si/en/brezje-basilica/

Rosary Bead Path (Rožnovenska pot) – only available in Slovene OR http://www.radolca.si/roznovenska-pot-brezje/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Christmas comes early to Radovljica!

Some while ago I visited, or attempted to, the Path of Peace (Pot Miru) in Brezje. However, although I walked on parts of the path, I didn’t actually find the entire path from start to finish so this weekend that was rectified. Actually, since I seem to know most of the paths and hiking routes better than a lot of the locals, the thinking behind the trip, thanks to a friend, was to take me somewhere where I hadn’t yet been; that for a change someone local would be guiding ‘the foreigner’ instead of vice-versa! Well, they partly succeeded as I had been there before but had failed to find the path in its entirely, so thanks! It was a lovely walk complete with warm temperatures and the autumn fallen leaves crunching underfoot.

The village of Brezje is known for its Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, one of the most known churches in Slovenia, a national sanctuary and pilgrimage centre. It is one of the 18 churches in the villages and town that comprise the area of Radol’ca (among them Radovljica, Lesce, Kropa, Begunje, Kamna Gorica, Brezje).

The path passes the Peračica waterfall. At just 4 metres in height, it isn’t the most spectacular of falls but still makes a pleasant place to stop, rest and comtemplate, among an oasis of calm in the forest in the midst of the Path of Peace. More about the path and how to find it can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/brezje-peace-trail/

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Christmas time arrived early in Radovljica this week, and what an amazing sight it was, as can be seen in the pictures below. I must admit to thinking to myself ‘Are you kidding – it’s only October’ when I saw the HUGE Christmas tree being assembled. However, when this was shortly followed by artificial snow, fir tree clad houses, hundreds of fairly lights and more, I realised something must be afoot. The reason was that a commercial was being filmed for a world renowned Italian sweet pastry.  It certainly captured everyone’s interest though, locals and tourists alike were enchanted by the scene. However, 2 days later it had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, leaving us to wait and look forward to the ‘real’ Christmas and the host of Merry December events, including the Christmas Market, that will be taking place in Radovljica throughout the Christmas period.

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In a previous blog, I wrote about the success of the Radol’ca song, which had made it through to the finals of a competition of TV1 Slovenia to find the best song in Slovenia. Unfortunately the song, sung by Simona Vodopivec Franko, didn’t win, but has nonetheless become popular among locals. During a discussion with the song’s writer, it was suggested I could translate the song into English so that an English version could be recorded and added to the Radol’ca website so tourists can also enjoy listening to ‘our’ song. So, I did it, Simona recorded it, and I will put a link to it here soon. In the meantime here is the Slovene version again, this time with a new video to accompany it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSVg9FMNh2s