Made in Radovljica: What to Buy, Try and … Enjoy!

With the focus these days ever-more on locally grown and produced products and foods, here are some ideas for what is available in the Radovljica area – genuinely local products that you can buy and try for yourself or purchase as ideal gifts for friends and loved ones.

Being the home of the Museum of Apiculture and the Radovljica Chocolate Festival, the Radol’ca area is synonymous with beekeeping and all things sweet.

If I want to take a small gift when visiting friends or loved ones, particularly those with a sweet tooth, I like to take Čokobelica chocolates. These bee-shaped chocolates are made exclusively for, and in, Radovljica and available at Radovljica Tourist Information Centre. The chocolates have typical, traditional Slovenian fillings such as walnut potica, tarragon potica, and poppy seed. Tried and tested – delicious!

For honey and all-things honey-related visit the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska in Lesce, where, in addition to the well-stocked Bee Shop where you can buy a wide selection of honey, honey products and beekeeping equipment, you can also see the centre’s beehive with its colourful hand-painted frontal panels.

In summer you can admire the beehive from the small terrace of the centre’s coffee shop. It could perhaps be said, however, that some of the clientele are a bit odd!

The heart of Radovlijca’s old town centre is Linhart Square (Linhartov trg), named after the famous Slovenian playwright and historian Anton Tomaz Linhart (1756-1795). At Lectar Inn you can try Linhart’s cake (Linhartov cukr). The idea for the cake came about during conversations held in Lectar Inn between its proprietor, Jože, and locals who recalled how in days gone by in Linhart’s era, local school children used to come to Lectar for cake.

And so the idea to try to recreate and revive this tradition was born and Jože and his team at the Lectar Inn set about trialling and testing recipes, based upon traditional recipes, until they were satisfied with the result. It contains only natural ingredients, – a light sponge base topped with a moist apple layer, using organic locally grown apples, and finished with a light cream icing and silhouette of Linhart.

Magušar’s House (Magušarjeva hiša) in the heart of Radovljica’s old town has an arcaded gothic courtyard and pottery workshop where you can buy Magušar bowls and other pottery items made by the owners, Oli and Urban Magušar. Occasional exhibitions, workshops and other events are also held in the house.

They are also currently working on producing a catalogue of Slovenian clay, and, as you can see below – Urban in his ‘Aladdin’s cave – they have already gathered quite a selection!

Photo: Jošt Gantar for Visit Radol’ca

Kropa is the cradle of Slovenian iron forging. It experienced its biggest boom in nail-making in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, when the ironworks in Kropa and Kamna Gorica together employed more than 2,000 people. The end of the 19th century brought the end of the 500-year operation of the ironworks in these villages, due to the lack of domestic iron ore and unprofitability.

The area’s iron-forging tradition is still alive, albeit on a more boutique scale, and hand-forged wrought iron furnishings and fittings are still made and can be bought either ready-made or made-to-order at the headquarters of UKO. Upon prior arrangement, a demonstration of hand forging of nails can be seen in the Vigenjc Vice Nail Forge, and there is a wide range of exhibits at the Iron Forging Museum, which also has a small gift shop, and is open year-round.

If its skis and other outdoor equipment and clothing that you are after, then you should visit the Elan factory and showroom in Begunje na Gorenjskem.

So, there’s no excuse to leave Radovljica empty handed or with an empty belly, either!

Click here for more ideas and to find out more about ‘Made in Radol’ca‘.

© Adele in Slovenia

Men all over the world are crying – or so says ELAN!

So, that’s a rather strange title for my blog this week, isn’t it? I bet you’re curious what on earth it means! Let me explain.

These days watching, and listening to, the news is usually pretty depressing, I’m sure you’ll agree. So, when last week I saw the headline for the launch of Elan’s new women’s skis, it made me chuckle and I decided to find out more. Well, a bit of humour never goes a miss!

The reason why men all over the world are crying, it seems, is because they would love to get their hands on Elan’s new Delight women’s skithe lightest ever produced – using patented Slimshape technology that dramatically reduces the weight of the skis – but, alas, this time they can’t, since they’re just for the ladies!

12647821_1099675276771317_1539119334_n

 

12647821_1099675276771317_1539119334_n - Copy

As I wrote in a blog post just 2 weeks ago – http://wp.me/p3005k-1fl – the Elan factory, in Begunje na Gorenjskem, is just minutes from where I live and I often pop into the shop – not for skis I hasten to add! – to browse the range of outdoors clothing and equipment. I had hoped to also see the skis up close but they are so new that they are not yet even in the shop, but will be in a fortnight or so, so not long to wait! In the meantime do take a moment to watch the video and find out who else is crying https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGPpOD1wMkY or you can read more on the website – http://www.elanskis.com/

The advert features some of the legends from the world of extreme skiing, including Davo Karničar – the first man to ski from Everest.

Davo Karnicar

I had the pleasure of meeting Davo at his home, the Davo Karničar Mountain Lodge, in Jezersko. Read more here – http://wp.me/p3005k-5Q

CIMG6455

Amongst others, the video also includes World Champion and World Cup Winner in Ski Cross Filip Flisar (SLO), Olympic and World Cup medallist alpine skiing Christian Mayer (AUT), and extreme skier Glen Plake (USA),

Talking of skiing, did you know we actually have a small ski slope here in Radol’ca? It’s in Kamna Gorica to be precise, and despite the wonderful spring-like winter that we have been experiencing of late, whereby there is barely a flake of snow lower than 1500m, the operators have been performing wonders to keep the slope open for local children to enjoy.

Kamna Gorica skiing

Apparently, though, some snow may be headed our way later this week, which will delight all the skiers out there!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

Stories of Slovene Success: Peter Prevc & Elan – Passion, Commitment and Pride

New from me this week, the first in an occasional series of ‘Stories of Slovene Success’, and there is currently no greater story of Slovene success than that of Peter Prevc.

The village of Begunje na Gorenjskem, within the Radovljica municipality, is home to the world-renowned manufacturer of skis and sailboats, Elan.

Elan has a long tradition dating back to 1944 and though it may not be the biggest manufacturer of skis in the world, it is certainly right up there when it comes to innovation. The dictionary description of the word Elan – enthusiasm, confidence and style – sums up the company’s passion and commitment to producing world-class skis and sailboats.

Elan skis and sailboats are produced right here in Slovenia in the factory in Begunje, a picturesque village beneath the Karavanke mountains, whilst its snowboards are produced in neighbouring Austria and motorised yachts in Croatia.

elan

If you are visiting the area you can call into the Elan Sports and Leisure Equipment Store, which sells not only skis and ski accessories, but also a range of clothing, bikes, and other outdoor equipment and accessories. Read more here – http://www.radolca.si/en/elan/

elan_šipič

Sadly, as has been the fate of so many Slovene-owned companies since the start of the financial crisis (is it officially over yet or not?), Elan is no longer under Slovene ownership, however, production at the factory in Begunje continues unhindered and, with a Slovene workforce, it can still be considered a story of Slovene success.

The current Slovene hero and world-class ski jumper, Peter Prevc – who is dominating this season’s ski jumping world cup – uses Elan skis and is a great advert for doing so!

Peter prevc 6Jan2016

On Wednesday last week he won the Golden Eagle trophy for the 4 Hills Tour, making him the first Slovene to have done so for 20 years. To say that the nation is proud of him would be a gross understatement. Just wait until this year’s Planica World Cup Ski Jumping Final (17-20th March), where I have a feeling most of Slovenia will be there supporting him and it will be off-the-scale crazy! More about Planica here – http://www.planica.si/Programme

Prevc Jan2016

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

The wonders of Slovenščina – The Slovene Language!

Why does it so often seem to happen that the weather is beautiful all week whilst we are all hard at work then, come the weekend, its all change? This is exactly what happened this past weekend when after a week of sunshine and unseasonably mild temperatures I had a head full of ideas about where I was going to go hiking at the weekend. Alas, it was a cold, wet weekend spent largely indoors working, so I’m afraid I have no snowy hikes to report this week. All rather frustrating since my shoulder is now ok(ish) and I’m raring to go! Still, there will be plenty more opportunities, as I don’t plan on being anywhere other than here in Radovljica, in Slovenia – my home!

There’s still plenty of snow around, and more due this week, for lovers of the white stuff and winter sports, and Slovenia’s winter sports stars are, again, making the country proud; in particular the ski-jumper, Peter Prevc, as seen below, who set a new world record last week of 250metres in Vikersund, Norway. He also uses skis made right here in Radol’ca, specifically at ELAN, and hails from Kranj, so the nation, unsurprisingly, is immensely proud of him. ELAN skis are based in Begunje na Gorenjskem, where they have been manufacturing skis, as well as snowboards and marine vessels, since 1944. There is also a shop open to the public. You can read more about ELAN here – http://www.radolca.si/en/elan/

prevc 1   prevc2

When I decided to move to Slovenia, I already knew a little about the complexities of Slovenščina – the Slovene language, however, it wasn’t until I started learning it that I realised just how complicated it is; the more I learnt, the more complicated it became. When I say ‘learn’ what I actually did, or rather ‘do’, is to just speak it, read it, and attempt to write it (that for me is the hardest part). I haven’t attended courses other than briefly in the early days after my move here. I am, however, constantly complemented on my Slovene, which I know is far from perfect but is ‘good enough’ – at least for now – as it is widely acknowledged as being an incredibly difficult language to learn due to, among other things, its use of the dual form (only one other European language uses this), 6 cases meaning a myriad of possible variations of each word, and over 50 dialects for a population of just 2 million people who, in some areas, don’t even understand each other!

It’s not simply enough to know a word, you have to know how to use it, and recognise it, in all its different forms. For example, the word ‘pes’ means ‘dog’, and if you look in a Slovene/English dictionary, this is what you will find. However, the word ‘psom’ also means ‘dog, as does ‘psu’, as well as a number of other variations – none of which are found in a dictionary – so one can be left clueless as to what this mystery word is!

Anyway, far be it from my to try and explain it, for a brief introduction to the language and its uniqueness, this is a fascinating read – http://lingvo.info/en/lingvopedia/Slovene

Since I am nothing if not determined, I didn’t let the difficulty of Slovene deter me. I know other expats who have either tried and been defeated by it or, worse still, not even tried since one can easily, in the main, get by using just English. However, I had a strong desire to integrate into society here and speaking the language was/is, for me, a crucial part of it. It has often been challenging, especially in the early days when my Slovene wasn’t great and people tended to speak English with me and, in many cases Slovenes, who by the way largely speak outstandingly good English (better than some of the English, believe me!) want to speak English with me, whereas I want to speak Slovene with them! Nowadays, I only speak Slovene in meetings, correspondence, social gatherings etc. and all my hard work and dedication has paid off since I’m now able to make, or at least supplement, my living from translating. Learning and perfecting the language is, however, most definitely an ongoing process!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015