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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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 – http://www.brdo.si/en

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

A smidgen of Sunday sun on Dobrča

When at 6.45am on Sunday morning a friend texted me saying ‘Look out the window’, I was rather afraid of what I might see. As I rolled up the blind, I could see something large, round and yellow in the sky – a quick Google search revealed it to be something apparently called ‘the sun’, which had once again been in very short supply last week! In fact it was yet another wash-out of a week dominated by rain and temperatures around half of the seasonal average with Sunday marking the 12th day in a row in August where temperatures were around half the seasonal norm, and down at the coast last week they witnessed a weather ‘event’ that bore all the hallmarks of a tornado. Yesterday, however, was at least a tad on the warmer side.

Sunday’s early morning rays of sun didn’t last long, but just long enough to coax us all out (me included) in the false belief that we could finally head out into the great outdoors to seek and enjoy some fine weather and views. So when at 7am a(nother) friend sent me a message, I made a hasty decision where to go and by 8am we were off to Dobrča.

Somewhat oddly, Dobrča lies within the Kamnik Savinja Alps, rather than the Karavanke Alps, as it’s location would lead one, understandably, to believe. There are several ways to reach the top including paths which lead from Brezje pri Trziču, Hudi graben, and Bistrica pri Trziču. We took the route up from the hamlet of Slatna, which is located on the road which runs along the foot of Dobrča, from Begunje to Trzič – a mere 10 minute drive from Radovljica. The path goes up steeply through the forest, taking approximately 1.5 hours, to reach the mountain hut, Koca na Dobrči (1478m). The actual top of Dobrča (1634m) is a further 30 minute walk, and from there a further 10 minute walk leads to the Šentanski vrh viewpoint, which is certainly worth making the effort to reach. We had fully intended to continue to the view point but on reaching the top, the clouds were already gathering and sense prevailed that a timely descent would be prudent. Sure enough the heavens did once again open, though as most of the path leads through dense forest, we managed to escape and return home reasonably dry, also thanks for our early start, had we waited any longer, it would have been a different story!

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Once the sun had gone, it wasn’t exactly warm up there – as can be seen from the thermometer that was in the mountain hut, but Slovene mountain huts always offer some delicious soups and stews to warm the cockles!

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Yesterday marked the official start of another new coalition government in Slovenia – the third in the last 2.5 years. The nation can now but wait and hope for a return to more stable and prosperous times; I’m sure none of us will be holding our breath!

In last week’s blog I wrote about the Uskovnica highland on the Pokljuka plateau. Triglav National Park have also prepared a programme entitled ‘Friday Afternoons in the Park’ which is a programme aimed at families to acquaint them with the park, and which takes place on the Uskovnica highland on Friday 29th August at 5pm. More information can be found here – http://www.bled.si/en/events/2014/08/29/1562-Friday-afternoons-in-the-park

This is the final week of operation this year of the tourist hop-on hop-off bus, so don’t miss the chance to visit towns including Bled, Radovljica, Kropa, Kamna Gorica, Brezje, and see many sights of interest along the way – http://www.radolca.si/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/

Langus Days (Langusovi dnevi) begin this week in the village of Kamna Gorica. The event is held annually on the first weekend of September in memory of the painter Matevž Langus. Various artistic, creative, social and recreational events, for adults and children alike, take place during the course of the celebration. More information can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/langus-days/

For any keen runners out there, the 5th Bled mini-marathon event will take place on Saturday 30th August. The event includes a children’s fun, a family run and a half-marathon for adults. More information can be found here – http://www.bled.si/en/events/2014/08/30/1338-5th-Bled-Half-Marathon

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014