The Blacksmiths Festival + Hiking, Cycling and Mushrooms galore!

Summer is well and truly here – hooray! And with it come numerous fairs, festivals and other outdoors events, as well as myriad opportunities for hiking, cycling, swimming and enjoying the great outdoors.

I had a pretty active weekend myself. On Saturday I went by bike from Radovljica to Bohinjska Bela, the other side of Bled, from where I then hiked up to Galetovec, beginning at the climbing area by the Iglica waterfall. You can read more about hiking to Galetovec in this previous post –


On Sunday I went by bike through the Radovna valley, which is always the place I head to bike when the heat is on as the cycle path leads mostly alongside the Radovna river and in the cool of the forest beneath the Mežakla and Pokljuka plateaus. I returned on the D2 cycle path from Mojstrana to Jesenice, and then by road back to Radovljica. You can read more about cycling in Radovna in this previous post –


Other than that I was keeping cool in the shade of the forest, which isn’t hard to do when Slovenia is 60% covered by forest. I even got lucky and found my first mushrooms of the year which were delicious cooked up with chard from my vegetable plot!


On Saturday it was also the annual Blacksmiths Festival (Kovaški smaren) in the village of Kropa, the cradle of Slovene iron-forging. The village, which sits snugly at the far eastern edge of the Jelovica plateau, is crammed with interesting sights and architecture and preserved technical heritage which is showcased during the annual festival. There were demonstrations of hand forging of nails in the Vigenjc Vice Blacksmiths Museum, a small handicraft market, old-time bikes, open days at the Blacksmiths Museum and the Fovšaritnica Museum House, as well as at the headquarters of UKO Kropa, which is keeping the iron-forging tradition alive in Kropa and specialise in all manner of wrought iron furnishings and fittings.

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Kropa is one of the destinations that can be visited on the Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus which is now operating. The bus visits Kropa on Tuesdays on the route which also includes Bled, Radovljica and Kamna Gorica. As the name implies, you can get on and off the bus at the various place along the route and either wander at your own leisure or participate in one of the guided tours. The bus also runs on Thursdays additionally to Begunje and Brezje, and at weekends to Triglav National Park. More information can be found here –

The nation was saddened by the news of the death last week of the legendary Slavko Avsenik, the founder of Slovene national folk music. The music of the Avsenik brothers is popular worldwide, particularly in neighbouring European countries, but also farther afield. The family home, and venue for the Avsenik Festival, regular concerts, gallery and museum, is at Pr’Jožovcu in Begunje na Gorenjskem. To date they have produced over 1000 songs, which are now being performed by younger generations of the family, so there is no doubt that his music will live on forever.

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Galetovec and Slovenian hayracks

I can’t believe the summer holidays are almost over and schools will be starting again next week. The school summer holidays are really long, far longer in the UK. Though I don’t have children myself, I have significantly more free time during the summer, due to a lack of work so when the school holidays begin I always think it will seem like an eternity. However, the time really flies by – as they say ‘Time flies when you are having fun!’

Once again I have been busy enjoying all the fantastic, natural and free things Slovenia, and in particular the Gorenjska region, has to offer.

A particularly enjoyable trip I made this week was to Galetovec (1265m). Though not high, the panoramic view from this peak, which stands above the village of Bohinjska Bela, is outstanding and well worth the effort. Bohinjska Bela is located just the other side of Bled, approximately 10kms from Radovljica. So, as it wasn’t far, and to avoid the usual summer weekend traffic jams through Bled, I went from home by bike.

Though not the official start of the walk, I began my hike from the Iglica waterfall (Slap Iglica), which in the current dry season could perhaps better be described as the ‘Iglica Trickle’ – don’t expect too much! The area is a popular with local rock-climbers and there are ladders (as seen below) tucked into the crags between the rock faces. Those not keen on narrow confined spaces, would be better to begin the walk from the Mercator supermarket in Bohinjska Bela and followed the signed route. Both routes eventually join at a hayrack and lead onwards and upwards through the forest, quite steeply in places, passing the Slamniki highland, a Partisan memorial and eventually Galetovec itself, where you are more than rewarded with views across the valley, to the Jelovica plateau, the Karavanke Alps and, in the distance, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

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Hayracks (kozolci), used for drying hay, as seen in the picture below, are a typical feature of the landscape in Slovenia, with each region having its own unique variety. Wherever you are in the country, you will usually come across a hayrack. In fact, the worlds first open-air hayrack museum has also recently opened in the Dolenjska region –   Unfortunately, these days all too often you can see advertising hoardings, rather than hay, hung on the hayracks, something I abhor but in these times of financial hardship, I suppose a much needed source of income for struggling farmers and landowners.


If you are visiting, or thinking of visiting, Radovljica and the surrounding area this coming week, there’s plenty happening. Here are some of the highlights:

  • On Tuesday 27th August at 8pm, there’s a free concert by the Kaboodle Community Choir in Linhart Square, Radovljica .
  • On Saturday 31st August at 4.30pm it’s the annual Večno mladi (Evergreens) street parade through Radovljica. This year its a double celebration as the Radovljica Fire Brigade are celebrating their 130th year of existence.
  • After the parade, at 5.30pm, there will be a concert featuring top Slovene music acts Čuki and Tanja Žagar. The concert will be held on the lawn behind the Spar supermarket and entrance is free.
  • On Sunday 1st September a Flea Market will be held in Linhart Square, Radovljica from 9am onwards.
  • Also on Sunday 1st September, a concert will take place at the church in Kamna Gorica. The concert, by Filip Kopušar, is part of the Langus Days Festival (Langusovi dnevi) which takes place annually on the first weekend of September to celebrate the painter Matejž Langus, and includes creative,  recreational and cultural events for all the family.