The Šlibar Organic Farm – A Real(ly) Rural Retreat

Isn’t is just great when you go somewhere not expecting much, only to find it’s so much more than you imagined? That was exactly the case when I recently visited the Šlibar organic farm in Kovor, near Tržič.

In addition to very much being a working farm, four years ago the family decided to make further use of its vast grounds by adding seven rustic-style glamping huts, which have proven to be a real hit!

There are two styles of huts, as can be seen above. They differ only on the outside, while the well-appointed interiors are all pretty much the same.

Each of the wooden huts has one main room with a double bed as well as a separate nook with two single mattresses for kids.

Outdoors each hut has its own cooking area with basic equipment, while there is also a shared outdoors covered kitchen area just metres from the huts, and each hut also has its own designated toilet and shower located just a short walk from the huts. An organic breakfast, featuring produce from the farm, is included in the price of a stay.

The farm also has its own small shop that sells home-grown produce and home-produced beer and spirits, jams, pasta and other grains.

I couldn’t try it, since coeliac disease and beer do not mix, however, word has it that the home-produced beer is excellent, and judging by the crate loads that one customer was buying at the time of my visit, it must be true!

Kids will love the animals…

…and the abundance of space to be… kids. Well, you’re never too old, as they say!

The peaceful, rural location, farm and domestic animals, organic food, and great views too – it all adds up to a truly organic experience!

The farm is a destination in itself as well as a great place to base yourself for exploring, hiking and cycling in the surrounding area. Nearby hikes, which I have blogged about in the past, include Kriška gora and Tolsti vrh, Košutica, Dobrča, the Born Trail from Ljubelj to Preval, and the peaks and mountain pastures on, and below, Slovenia’s longest mountain – Košuta.

So, whether you are still undecided where to use your tourist vouchers (for Slovenian citizens only – a government measure to stimulate tourism re COVID-19), or you are planning to visit Slovenia and seeking somewhere a bit ‘off the beaten track’, the Šlibar Organic Farm could be just the place for you!

Find out more about what else to see and do in the Tržič area here.

© Adele in Slovenia

The Hidden Treasures of Tržič – Gutenberg Castle

Tržič is one of those places that, on first glance, may not appear to have that many sights of interest. However, there is far more than initially meets the eye, both in terms of natural and cultural attractions. I’ve already blogged about many of them, and here’s another one to add to the list!

Gutenberg Castle (sometimes referred to as AltGutenberg or Gutenberk), or rather the remains of, is one such example. It was first mentioned in 1156, thus making it among the oldest (known) castles in Slovenia. Following an earthquake in 1511, the castle was no longer renovated and it fell into ruin.

The castle is located 663 metres above sea-level above the Tržiška Bistrica area of the town. Though only a couple of walls remain, it is clear to see that it was once a fairly mighty castle.

There are two paths to reach the castle ruins – from an easterly direction (unmarked path, cca. 25mins), or from a westerly direction (marked path, cca. 15 mins) – I chose the latter!

From Tržiška Bistrica follow the road steeply uphill and shortly after passing the last houses and turning a bend, you will see a road that branches off to the right, where there is space for a couple of cars to park.

Set off along the gravel road. After just a few metres you will spot a beehive on the left-hand side; continue along the road until you reach a shrine.

Take the path that leads uphill behind the shrine.

After just a few metres you will see a sign for Mt. Dobrča and the Bistriška planina mountain pasture.

Continue up the steep path for another few minutes until you reach a wooden handrail and steps that lead up to the castle ruins.

The first Ljubljana bishop, Count Žiga Lamberg, was born at the castle in around 1420. Interestingly, it was also Lamberg that in 1465 consecrated the renovated church on the island on Lake Bled.

The views from the castle alone make the trip worthwhile. To the west there is a view of Mt. Dobrča and onwards towards the Julian Alps

…while to the east there is a view of Kriška gora, which is particularly attractive at this time of year when nature is at its greenest.

On returning back to the shrine, I suggest continuing up the road opposite (see below to the right of the red car). On reaching a large villa, take the path to the right which, after just a few metres, leads up to St. George’s (sv. Jurij) church, which in the past belonged to the castle.

You could visit both these attractions as part of a hike to Mt. Dobrča, as a standalone visit, or as part of a trip to see more of Tržič’s attractions. Whenever or however you choose to visit, I hope you enjoy your visit!

© Adele in Slovenia

52 Shades of Radovljica – The Sequel!

Well, it’s not exactly ‘a sequel’, more ‘part two’, but it has more of a ring to it!

But first, since some of you have been asking, here’s an update of what is happening in Slovenia in terms of the COVID-19 situation. On Friday 15th May the government officially declared an end to the COVID-19 virus in Slovenia – making it the first country in Europe to do so. It isn’t, however, an end to some of the measures in place, i.e. masks still have to be worn in public places, only hotels with up to 30 rooms are open, distancing measures are in place on public transport, etc., and younger children returned to school/nursery as of 18th May. The borders with neighbouring countries have also reopened, however, at the moment only for citizens/permanent residents and those with written proof of their reason for coming into the country – but the situation is changing rapidly, so do check before making any plans!

So, back to Radol’ca, and carrying on from part one of ‘52 Shades of Radovljica‘, below you can find out more about the remaining 26 towns, villages and hamlets in the municipality of Radovljica.

Peračica – home to the Peračica waterfalls, which you can see on a walk along the Brezje Path of Peace.

Podnart – a village beside the Sava river with a railway station on the main line between Ljubljana and Jesenice. It is also home to the restaurant Joštov hram, which is particularly known for its excellent grilled meat.

Poljče – a small settlement of houses and farmhouses lining the road between Begunje na Gorenjskem and Rodine.

Poljšica pri Podnartu – a small settlement beside the Sava river near Ovsiše.

Posavec – a settlement next to the Sava river near Podnart.

Praproše – a handful of houses near Ljubno.

Prezrenje – a small settlement tucked away up a hill between Podnart one one side and the Lipnica valley on the other.

Radovljica – the main town and administrative centre of the municipality. The beautifully preserved old town centre is the star attraction.

Ravnica – A few scattered houses near the Fux footbridge.

Photo: Adele in Slovenia

Rovte – a small settlement in a sunny location above the Lipnica valley.

Slatna – a small hamlet beneath Mt. Dobrča and one of the starting points for the hike to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut (1,478m) and onward to its peak.

Spodnja Dobrava – three settlements – Spodnja (Lower) Srednja (Middle), Zgornja (Upper) – that lie 500 metres above sea-level on a sunny plateau above the Lipnica valley.

Spodnja Lipnica – together with Zgornja Lipica, these two hamlets occupy an idyllic position in the lush Lipnica valley. From here you can easily reach the ruins of Lipnica Castle and the Grabnarca Waterside Nature Trail on foot.

Spodnji Otok – Spodnji (Lower) and Zgornji (Upper) Otok mainly comprise traditional Slovenian alpine farmhouses. The former is set back slightly from the road, whilst the houses of the latter line the main road towards Begunje na Gorenjskem. Spodjni Otok is particularly known for its church – Church of St. John the Baptist – which chimes noon at 11am! An interesting legend has it that when Turkish invaders were approaching the village, their horses were attacked by hornets and they fled. Since this happened at exactly 11am, the church still today chimes noon an hour early.

Srednja Dobrava – see Spodnja Dobrava. The village is also home to the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Srednja vas – A small hamlet of houses lining the road beneath Mount Dobrča.

Studenčice – a small hamlet near Lesce, home to a garden centre and St. Florian’s church, which features one of the earliest wall paintings in Slovenia dating from the early 14th century.

Vošče – a small settlement above Lancovo that features on a walk along the Grabnarca Waterside Nature Trail.

Vrbnje – home to the Dolenc farm and farm shop, a favourite among locals for its milk and home-produced cheese and yoghurt.

Zadnja vas – the final hamlet – as the name suggests – translation: last village – beneath Mt. Dobrča before reaching the municipality of Tržič. It is home to St. Lucy’s church, which in the past people with eye problems flocked to, since its patron saint is the patron saint of vision.

Zaloše – a hamlet near Podnart with houses lining the road beside the Sava river.

Zapuže – a small settlement between Radovljica and Begunje na Gorenjskem.

Zgornja Dobrava – see Spodnja Dobrava.

Zgornja Lipnica – see Spodnja Lipica.

Zgornji Otok – see Spodnji Otok.

Zgoša – home to the family-run Resman bakery. Prior to being diagnosed with coeliac disease, I used to love their homemade bread. Highly recommend for those of you luckily enough to still be able to eat it!

So, that concludes ’52 Shades of Radovljica’. I hope it has been as enlightening for you as it has for me!

© Adele in Slovenia

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