Theme Trails in Radol’ca – Take Your Pick!

Following a themed hiking trail is a great way to discover more of a place, whether its history, culture, and/or natural features.  In the Radol’ca area you are spoilt for choice with a total of 11 such trails. Some are relatively flat, short trails, while others involve a bit more effort; all of them, however, are unique in their own way.

The Begunje Shepherds’ Trail is a 10km circular trail and is by far my favourite of the bunch! It leads from the Draga valley up to the Preval mountain pasture, then along the ‘ćez Roza‘ path to reach the Roblekov dom mountain hut. The start of the trail involves a short section of climbing, followed by a steep section through the forest.

On emerging from the forest the path levels out somewhat, and you can start enjoying the views. You can read more in a previous blog post here.

The Brezje Path of Peace starts close to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Slovenia’s main pilgrimage site, in Brezje. It leads via forest paths and country roads to the Peračica waterfalls.

The Sava River Trail, as the name suggests, runs along the banks of the Sava river from the Fux footbridge to the Šobec camp. It is a linear walk that can be walked in either direction.

St. Peter’s Trail is a short trail that leads up to St. Peter’s church above Begunje na Gorenjskem. From the church there are fantastic views of the Radovljica plains, the Jelovica plateau and, on a clear day, all the way to Triglav, Slovenia’s highest mountain.

The Lipnica Castle Trail leads across the Fux footbridge over the Sava river to the ruins of Lipnica Castle above the Lipnica valley.

The Lamberg Trail leads to the ruins of Kamen Castle in the Draga valley. It begins at the Krpin recreation area in Begunje na Gorenjskem and leads through the forest past the ruins of Kamen Castle, passing two small archeological sites, ending in the  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.

The Grabnarca Waterside Nature Trail is pleasant, shady trail over wooden footbridges. It begins at the source of the Lipnica stream, crosses the Grabnarca stream and ends at a small lake. The walk can easily be extended further by walking on country roads to return to the start.

The Otoče-Brezje Pilgrimage Trail begins at the railway station in Otoče, runs through the village of Ljubno, known for its numerous frescoes, and on to Brezje, home to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.

The Mošnje Archeological Trail explores the village of Mošnje, home to the Villa Rustica archaeological site and the Mošnje Ethnological Museum. 

The Rosary Bead Trail is a circular trail that leads along ancient pilgrimage routes. It gets its name due to the rosary bead-like shape of the trail. The trail is rated as easy, though it covers a total of 12.2km, across fields and meadows, through forests and along country lanes, with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

The Begunje Village Trail takes you on a tour of the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem, the birthplace of Slavko Avsenik, the founder of Slovenian folk music. You can also visit Katzenstein Mansion, which today houses a psychiatric hospital and, at the rear, the Museum of Hostages.

Now all you have to do is choose which one, or ones, to walk – a tough choice indeed!

© Adele in Slovenia

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