The Begunje Lambergh Trail – Explore Kamen Castle, Archeological Sites and Caves in the Draga Valley

The Lambergh Trail (Lambergova pot) begins at the Krpin recreation area in Begunje na Gorenjskem. It leads through the forest past the ruins of Kamen Castle, passing two small archeological sites, and ending in the lush Draga valley at the Gostišče Draga restaurant, where you can enjoy a drink, snack or slap-up meal to gather your strength for the return journey, or you could even continue further on one of the trails that lead into the Karavanke mountains.

It takes around an hour to walk the almost 8km path (one-way), though if you stop to explore the castle, which is a must(!), then you should allow more time. The terrain is undulating, so good footwear is required. There are information boards along the way where you can find out more.

The Njivice archeological site dates back to the Old Iron Age.

There are vast caves to explore, too, some of which make you feel rather small!

Halfway along the trail you emerge briefly from the forest and are greeted by wonderful views over the upper part of the village.

You then reach the mighty and impressive ruins of Kamen Castle.

The castle was once home to the Counts of Lambergh – hence the name of the trail. It has preserved Gothic and Renaissance entrances and the partial restoration works that were recently carried out have made the castle more accessible.

Kamen Castle was built in the 12th century by the Counts of Ortenburg; later it was owned by the Counts of Celje, and from 1436 the Counts of Lambergh. The counts abandoned the castle in the 18th century when they moved to the more comfortable Katzenstein Mansion in the centre of the village.

The path ends at the Gostišče Draga restaurant at the head of the Draga valley. The restaurant, a member of Taste Radol’ca, is renowned for its game, fresh river trout, and numerous other traditional Slovene dishes.

The štruklji alone, both the sweet and savoury versions, are definitely worth the walk!

You can either return the same way following the signs back to the Krpin recreation centre, or alternatively you could first walk along the valley road beside the stream back to the castle, where you can rejoin the path back to the start.

You could also take time to explore Begunje itself; the Begunje Village Trail is just one of the many theme trails in the Radol’ca area. Click here for more.

© Adele in Slovenia

St. Peter’s Church, Begunje – An icy break

I’m afraid it will be at least 6 weeks or so until I’ll be able to blog about any of my latest hikes and adventures as, unfortunately, on Monday last week I fell on ice and now have a fractured humerus – which believe me is anything but ‘humorous’!

If I wasn’t already paranoid enough about ice, now I will be even more so and this year, since the snow fall at the end of December, the ice has been particularly bad, though, following heavy rain this past weekend much of it in the valley has, thankfully, finally melted. I wasn’t doing anything dramatic or particularly adventurous when I fell and, annoyingly, had had my crampons on until just minutes before, having removed them for the final part of the path down which, being on the sunny side, had been ‘ice-free’ – or so it seemed – for a week or so. However, there was just one small spot, just a few metres, where there was a little ice mixed with mud and that was my downfall – literally.

At first I thought/hoped I might have just torn the tendons and was praying the pain would dissipate. However, some hours later it was evident that wasn’t going to happen so it was time for the inevitable trip to the on-call doctor, followed by x-rays at A&E, to confirm that, yes, I had actually broken a bone. ‘Bugger’ – just one of the expletives I might have uttered and probably the only one that is suitable for print!

So now follows 6 long, frustrating weeks of being one-armed which, when you live alone, is anything but easy. Simple, every day tasks become torturous, not due to pain – thankfully and strangely it doesn’t really hurt – just due to the length of time it takes to do the simplest of things; getting dressed, showered etc. Still, I’m trying to remain as upbeat as I can and at least I can still get outdoors for a walk, albeit not exactly the type of walk I would choose and running and cycling are off the agenda, though, being winter I wouldn’t be doing much of that anyway.

The place I fell was on the path to St. Peters Church (Sv. Peter) above the village of Begunje which is a really popular place to hike among the local population. There are a number of routes up to the church but I usually favour the direct, steeper route which leads up from near the post office in Begunje. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the church and a further 5 minute level walk leads to the Sankaška hut (Sankaška koča) which has a terrace with amazing views over the whole valley and where tasty soups, stews and strudel can be enjoyed. This place is popular all-year round and, particularly at weekends during fine weather, its pretty much guaranteed to be buzzing. Another popular route up to the church begins from the Krpin Recreation Centre a little further on through the village. Don’t be put off by my fall – it was just one of those unlucky things –  so if you are visiting the Radol’ca area, I’d definitely recommend a trip up to St. Peter’s Church and to the viewing terrace at the Sankaška hut. You can read more about St. Peters Trail here – http://www.radolca.si/en/st-peters-trail-begunje/ and about St. Peter’s Church here – http://www.radolca.si/en/begunje-church-st-peter/

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Here are a couple of photos of me on a winter’s hike – taken a couple of year’s ago – to the very same place – believe it or not!

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I will, of course, still be blogging – what is it they say about ‘not being able to keep a good man/woman down’? In the meantime, I’ll also be getting my thinking cap on, availing of public transport (driving is now out of the question too) and being thankful, once again, that I live in Radovljica which is well served by public transport and offers plenty of places to walk – even for those of us who are, temporarily at least, somewhat less mobile.

Hot off the press news – the new ‘Taste Gorenjska’ (Okusi Gorenjske) brochure has just been launched and, having been involved in its preparation, I think it looks rather good! The cuisine of each area of Gorenjska is presented with featured special dishes. You can pick up a copy in local tourist offices or the online version is available here – http://issuu.com/bledtouristboard/docs/okusi_gorenjske_a4_ang

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

The Draga Valley: The Lamberg Trail and the Draga Inn

The Draga Valley lies at the far end of the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem. The valley is little more than a couple of kilometres in length yet is a very popular destination, particularly as it is the start point for hiking to numerous destinations in the Karavanke mountains. The road through the valley has a monument and cemetery in remembrance to hostages of the second world war who were held in the Gestapo prison in the nearby Katzenstein Mansion in Begunje.

The Draga Inn (Gostišče Draga) is situated at the end of the valley alongside the Begunščica stream, making it an oasis of calm and tranquillity. During the summer months its position affords welcome relief from the heat, thanks to the freshness of the stream, whilst in the winter the Inn is toasty warm thanks to the log-burning fire –  just perfect for me! The Inn is particularly popular with weary hikers looking for some sustenance after a long hike. However, it also offers a more gourmet experience for those looking for something finer.

One of the most popular destinations to visit from the Draga valley is the Roblek mountain hut. From the valley it takes around 2 hours to reach the hut at 1672m and since it was dark when I went for dinner, and since the valley was shrouded in pesky low cloud most of the weekend and I just knew that the sun had to be up there somewhere, I returned over the weekend to take some photos and to hike up to Roblek in search of the sun. I didn’t have to go for as it was sunny up above 800metres, so I was rewarded for my efforts with fantastic views and warm sunshine up above the clouds. Other than the final 10 minutes, most of the path was free of snow but, as you can see from the picture below, winter has already arrived in the mountains.

 

1507170_10203852839699943_8035695420377107589_n  Roblek 22.11.2014

You can visit the valley by car, by bike or on foot, and a great way to reach the Draga Inn is via the Lamberg Trail which officially begins at the car park opposite the Avsenik Restaurant and Museum in Begunje. However, you can also park, as I usually do, at the Krpin Recreation Ground in Begunje and begin the walk from there. The trail runs behind the ruins of Kamen Castle and ends at the Inn, passing several information boards and sights of interest. The path is a little undulating but not difficult and takes about 45-1 hour minutes each way. More about the trail can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/lamberg-trail-begunje/ Keep your eyes pealed for wildlife though, who knows what you might encounter!

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As it is still November, and therefore the month of Taste Radol’ca, my friend and I decided we just had to take the chance to sample the Taste Radol’ca menu, and in fact because Gostišče Draga are offering 2 Taste Radol’ca menus, we plumped for one of each so we could try each others too (don’t we all do that?). However, since I don’t eat fish and menu 2 is predominantly fished-based, I lost out a bit there! The food was thoughtfully presented, tasty, and with generous, but not over-the-top, portion sizes, which was just as well as there were 4-courses to try.

We began with game pate with cranberries (menu 1) and smoked trout (menu 2). This was followed by pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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Next came fillet of deer (in my case substituted for beef) in a honeyed-pepper sauce, cheese strukelj and, one of my favourite things on their menu, house dumplings filled with cranberry sauce. Menu 2 was trout fillet in cornmeal with buckwheat and mushrooms.

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Dessert was apple strudel (menu 1) and hot-chocolate soufflé (menu 2).

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Oh, and of course all capped off with a little glug of one of the myriad flavours of schnapps on offer!

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In addition to the Taste Radol’ca menu, Gostišče Draga offer a full and varied menu with an emphasis on game and fresh fish. Their philosophy is based on traceability of ingredients; many of the ingredients used, such as fruit, vegetables and flour, are home-grown and produced. More information can be found here – http://www.gostisce-draga.si/

So, I have now completed the (arduous!) task of reviewing this year’s new additions to Taste Radol’ca and am no doubt a few kilogrammes heavier for having done so! More information about all the participating restaurants can also be found under the Taste Radol’ca heading at the top of the blog.

With the festive season rapidly approaching, this week Radovljica’s residents are invited to help decorate the old town to help make it into a festive winter wonderland. Decoration, and the making of decorations, will take place on Wednesday (9am – 1pm), Thursday (9am – 1pm and 3pm – 7pm) and Friday (3pm – 7pm) in the atrium of the Radovljica Mansion. Come and join us and get in the festive spirit!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014