A Recce of the Rupnik Line

Another day of exploring the scenic Poljane valley; this time walking along part of the former Rupnik Line – a system of fortifications that were built during the 1930’s by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as a defence line on the border with the Kingdom of Italy.

It transpired that the strategically placed forts were never actually used for military or defence purposes, but the building of the fortifications at least brought residents a temporary solution to the unemployment and financial troubles which affected them due to the location of the Rapallo Border.

The Rupnik Line theme path begins at the cemetery in Gorenja vas where there is an information board showing the route.

The path is well marked; in places with green signs, such as seen below, in other places with yellow markings painted on trees.

There are actually two paths – a shorter 4.5km circular path and a longer non-circular path which is 6km one-way. However, due to the ever present damage in the forest due to the glaze ice in the winter of 2014 – the clear up job is still ongoing throughout many parts of the country – walking on the longer path is not currently advised.

For the first 2km both paths follow the same route, first uphill on an asphalt road, which later becomes an unmade road then into the forest where you soon reach the first bunker.

It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, but thereafter you can take a look inside. I clearly woke a bat from its slumber and not sure who was more startled, me or it!

Continue until you reach this sign, where you should take the shorter (krajša) path to the right.

The path continues past more bunkers, each with it’s own information board where you can learn more about the fortifications and take time to explore, but do exercise caution and have sensible, sturdy footwear.

You can enter some of the bunkers, whilst others are not so accessible.

Though not part of this theme path, one of the best-preserved and largest fortifications is the underground fortress on Goli vrh where there is a permanent exhibition of remains from the time of building. I shall be writing more about this in a future blog so watch this space! Find more information about the Rupnik Line theme path on the Visit Škofja Loka website here – http://www.visitskofjaloka.si/en/experiences/theme-paths/the-rupnik-line-construction

The annual Pisana Loka Festival (Colourful Loka) takes place this year in Škofja Loka from 25th August – 3rd September. The festival is a mixture of concerts, workshops and performances – many of which are FREE – that take place at various locations, including in the heart of the old town centre and at Loka Castle.

This year part of the festival will be dedicated to Latino Loka on 2nd September in the Town Square (Mestni trg), and promises to be sizzling!

More about the festival can be found here (in Slovene only) http://www.skofjaloka.si/objava/80730, whilst further details about all the events taking place this month in Škofja Loka, including in English about the Pisana Loka Festival, can be found in the latest events calendar here – http://www.visitskofjaloka.si/si/files/default/Newsletter/Avgust%202017/spletni%20KAM-1%20avgust.pdf

© Adele in Slovenia

 

Delightful Dražgoše: The Home of Dražgoše Honey Breads and Serious Sunshine!

The village of Dražgoše is nestled into the southern slopes of the Jelovica plateau, perched at an altitude of 832m above sea-level, above the Selca valley and the town of Železniki. Thanks to its favourable location, Dražgoše is renowned as being one of the sunniest villages around and proudly goes under the slogan ‘Pri nas sonce je doma’ (Here is where the sun is at home).

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Dražgoše is most known for 2 things – its intricate hand-crafted honey breads and the Battle of Dražgoše. A good place to start a visit and learn more is at the recently reopened Brunarica Dražgoše snack bar.

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In addition to hot and cold drinks and snacks, you can pop upstairs to the small museum for a brief introduction to the history of the village and the tradition of making honey breads.

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There are 2 types of honey breads made in the Škofja Loka regionLoka honey breads (which regular readers will recall I recently made at the DUO Centre in Škofja Loka, read more here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2017/01/13/loka-honey-breads-and-handicrafts-at-the-duo-arts-crafts-centre/) and Dražgoše honey breads. The key difference between the two is that Loka honey breads are made using a hand-carved mould, whereas Dražgoše honey breads are made entirely by hand.

I visited Breda Tolar and Alenka Lotrič who are masters in the art of making Dražgoše honey breads and are continuing their grandmother’s tradition.

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The dough is made using flour, honey, cinnamon and cloves. The honey is warmed through before mixing to allow the dough to be pliable for rolling and shaping.  Some of the designs are highly intricate and labour-intensive – real works of art. Dražgoše honey breads are edible, though in cases such as this one below, it would be such a shame to do so!

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Whilst I haven’t been blessed with any form of artistic talent whatsoever, these two ‘pros’ made it look easy. Just look closely at their versions compared to mine!

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After the intricate patterns are finished, the breads are baked in the oven then glazed with (more!) honey for a shiny finish. All couples getting married at Loka Castle (read more here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2017/01/01/a-spotlight-on-skofja-loka/) receive a honey bread as a wedding gift. You can be sure that it will look better than my finished effort, though its not too bad for a novice I suppose, and I sure had fun making it, which is what counts!

The monument to the Battle of Dražgoše commemorates the World War II battle between Slovenian Partisans and Nazi armed forces, which ended with brutal reprisals by the German forces – executions, looting and torching of buildings – and the destruction of the village. The village was entirely rebuilt after the war. The monument with an ossuary was erected in 1976.

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The painting is by the renowned painter Ive Šubic from nearby Hotavlja who participated in the battle as a Partisan, later returning to depict it in art.

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Though the old village church was destroyed in the battle, the Škofja Loka Museum Association was able to move the partly-preserved altars to where they stand today in the chapel of Loka Castle, whilst the original church organs are now in the church in Železniki. In the village you can still see the remains of the church which have been well-preserved and where there is a memorial park.

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Dražgoše is also an idyllic area for hiking and cycling, albeit, flat it isn’t! In summer I’ve been known to cycle up from home in Radovljica first to Kropa, up to Jamnik and then on to Dražgoše. On this occasion (below), I was feeling particularly energetic and continued down into the Selca valley to Škofja Loka then via Kranj back to Radovljica. It was a long tiring tour but one that I must do again some time!

You can also hike up above the village to the hilltop of Dražgoška gora, visit one of a number of caves (accompanied by a guide), talke a walk along all, or part of, the Spominska pot (the Memorial Path) – a 3-3.5 hour-long route beginning at the Brunarica snack bar.

For more information about any of the above, and/or to arrange a honey bread workshop, contact Visit Škofja Lokahttp://www.visitskofjaloka.si/en/

© Adele in Slovenia

Taste Radol’ca

For lovers of good food, and supporters of local food, Tourism Radovljica have prepared a new, special project entitled ‘Taste Radol’ca‘ (Okusi Radol’ca). The project includes eight restaurants in the Radol’ca area which will be offering a special menu, where the emphasis is on food sourced from the local area. The set price for each menu is 13 euros per person and the project will last the month of November. More about the participating restaurants and the menus can be found using the link below. However, this information, plus the restaurant menus, are currently only in Slovene so if you are planning to visit the area and are interested in this event, just get in touch and I’ll be happy to provide a translation for you – http://radolca.si/okusi-radolce/?utm_source=Turizem+Radovjlica+newsletter&utm_campaign=cab59b0d31-Newsletter_Radolca&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4ed8fe76d2-cab59b0d31-24187013

Last week was school holidays so I had a bit more free time than usual and used one day for a trip to Villach in Austria. I don’t go often but like to go occasionally for a change of scenery, a bit of shopping, and, well just because I can! So this week, before the snow arrives making the drive often impossible without passing through the Karavanke Tunnel, where a toll is payable, I set off. I stopped first in Kranjska Gora for a walk to Podkoren then drove over the Korenjsko sedlo pass and into Villach. There are several ways of reaching Austria from Slovenia, depending on which part of the country you are in. From me, taking the Korenjsko sedlo into Villach or the Ljubelj pass into Klagenfurt are the nearest, each taking approximately an hour and with no tolls to pay. Even after over six years living here I still get a kick out of being able to just drive so easily to another country – strange but true! During the winter, both of these passes may be closed, or driveable only with snow chains.

Also this week a friend and I walked to Lubnik in the Škofja Loka hills. There are well-marked paths up from all directions but the nearest, and for me the most beautiful, is to start from Škofja Loka Castle and walk up via the ruins of the Old Loka Castle (Stari grad) to the mountain hut on Lubnik (Koča na Lubniku) at 1025m. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach the top and we made the return trip via a different route which eventually rejoined the other route and returned to the castle. On a clear day, which sadly it wasn’t on this occasion, the views from Lubnik are far-reaching in all directions; the Julian Alps, the Škofja Loka and Polhograd hills and the Selca and Poljane valleys. Although the weather was fine at the start of our trip, it soon clouded over and was very windy at the top. Fortunately we were able to seek shelter and a warming cup of mountain tea in the hut where I can also confirm that they have excellent home baked tarragon loaf. Due to the clouds, I wasn’t able to take any photos from the top this time but here are a couple of pictures taken on the return trip, once we had emerged from the clouds, with views towards Old Loka and the red roofs of the old town centre.

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On Friday 8th November, a concert will be held in the Baroque Hall in Radovljica Mansion (Graščina). The concert, is a meeting of three choirs – Vox Carniola from Jesenice, Grudnov Šmikle from Železniki and MePZ from the coastal town of Koper. The concert begins at 8pm and entry is free.

Friday 8th November is also an important day for another reason – my parents are arriving for the weekend – looking forward to that!