Hop-On Hop-Off This Summer: Radovljica, Bled, Brezje, Kropa, Kamna Gorica, Begunje, Žirovnica

The Radol’ca Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus will begin operating on Tuesday 4th July and will run every Tuesday and Thursday during July and August. This year there is an even wider range of places to visit and more things to see and do.

As in previous years a day ticket is great value at just 5 euros. You can get on and off the bus to visit sights of interest along the way, or just enjoy the ride!

On Tuesdays the route is Bled – Radovljica – Kropa, with additional stops at the Šobec Camp, Lesce, Lancovo and Kamna Gorica.

On Thursdays the route is Bled – Vrba – Žirovnica – Begunje – Brezje, with additional stops at Breznica, Spodnji Otok and Podvin.

To whet your appetite here’s a preview of just some of the things you can see and do along the way.

For the first time, this year the bus route includes Žirovnica, where you can visit the new Ajdna Museum Room to find out more about the Ajdna archeological site beneath Mt. Stol where remains were found from a Late Antiquity village dating back over 1400 years.

On especially hot days, a trip to the Završnica valley is an ideal way to seek some tranquillity and shade.

The valley is also a start point for great hikes and bike trips in the Karavanke range, including to the highest peak, Mt. Stol.

You can also visit Noč Beekeeping, where you can see some of the hives belonging to the president of Slovenia’s Beekeeping Association and his family, purchase honey and honey products, and try and buy the exclusive ‘Medena noč’ perfume made with Slovenian honey. You can read more about this in one of my previous blog posts here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2016/06/06/perfume-made-with-slovene-honey-not-just-an-idea-a-reality/

In Brezje you can see the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, and the Nativity Museum, or take a walk on the Path of Peace to the Peračica waterfall.

In Kamna Gorica you can walk through the village to see its many waterways, and walk up to the Sextons’ House Museum, which contains an original black kitchen. Its position offers great views over the village and towards the Karavanke mountains.

In Kropa you can visit the Iron Forging Museum, take a stroll through the village to see the former ironworkers houses, or visit the Vigenc Vice Blacksmith to watch a demonstration of manual nail forging.

In Radovljica itself there are numerous things to see and do including a visit to the Lectar Gingerbread Museum and Workshop, the Museum of Apiculture, the Šivec House Gallery, or simply enjoy a stroll through the well-preserved medieval old town and sit at the viewpoint and enjoy the views of the Sava river, the Jelovica plateau and the Julian Alps.

Or why not take the chance to find out more about Slovenian food and wine by enjoying a meal at one of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants or take a Taste Radol’ca Food Tour. More information here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/taste-radolca-tours/

Further information about the Hop-on Hop-off route and timetable can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

World Bee Day: The Anton Janša Honey Route

Much of the history of beekeeping in Slovenia can be attributed to Anton Janša (1734-1733) and still today barely a word is said about Slovenian beekeeping without his name being mentioned. Perhaps it was fate then that I moved to Slovenia, and particularly to the Gorenjska region, from where more than 150 prominent beekeepers hail, including Anton Janša, with whom I also share a birthday – 20th May – which is now (hopefully) to become World Bee Day! I live in Radovljica, home to the Museum of Apiculture and close to the village of Breznica where Anton Janša, was born.

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Slovenia is the only EU member state that has protected its indigenous bee, the Carniolan bee, which means that no other bee can be bred here. The Carniolan bee is the 2nd most widely used breed of bee in the world and originated in this region of the country.

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The initiative for a World Bee Day was started by the Slovene Beekeeping Association, who, rightly so, believe there should be a World Day in recognition of something that is of such vital importance to the world. I whole-heartedly support this movement, after all, there are World Days for pretty much everything these days, so bees more than deserve to be recognised.

To mark this, I went on my own little ‘bee adventure’, following part of the Anton Janša Honey Route, which takes in Radovljica, Bled, Vrba, and Škofja Loka.

I began by visiting Janša’s beehive in Breznica which is part of the Žirovnica Path of Cultural Heritage that connects the birth places of many notable Slovenes including Dr. France Prešeren, Matija Čop, Franc Saleški Finžgar and Janez Jalen. More information here – http://bit.ly/1T26zxe

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As with the majority of hives in Slovenia, Jansa’s features original painted beehive panels, unique to Slovenia, each of which depicts a humorous or satirical story – this one shows animals taking over the role of humans.

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I also visited the Kralov med hives in the hamlet of Selo, near Bled, where beekeeper Blaž Ambrožič oozed enthusiasm when showing and telling me about the wonders of bees.

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I thought I knew a reasonable amount about beekeeping, however, Blaž told me so many astonishing facts about beekeeping that I can but recommend that you go and find out more for yourself! After all, it seems that barely a day passes when there isn’t more astonishing evidence about the importance of bees and the benefits of honey. It really is one of the best foods of nature as well as being credited with alleviating a range of medical conditions and lately has also become the latest trend in beauty products. You can also read about my recent experience of a bee sting facial here – http://bit.ly/1Spm1o2

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The star of the show at Kralov med is undoubtedly the hive that was painstakingly transplanted from a tree trunk and transported, bees and all, to where it sits today, and where the bees are still working diligently.

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As a measure of the calm characteristics of the Carniolan bee, Blaž encouraged me to put my hand inside the hive and the bees were completely unperturbed by my presence.

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I had a chance to try some of the honey and learn about the various characteristics and properties of the different kinds of honey and propolis.

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At the time of my visit a brand new hive had just been built which will also be available for apitherapy and visitors will even be able to sleep there, all the while inhaling the intoxicating scents of the bees, which is known to have beneficial effects, particularly for those suffering from respiratory diseases.

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Can you find out more about Kralov med here – http://www.kralov-med.si/en/home/

The Anton Janša route also includes:

  •  The Carniolan queen mating station in the Završnica valley
  • The Museum of Apiculture in Radovljica, which features, amongst other exhibits, hundreds of beehive front panels including the world’s oldest – http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-apiculture-museum/
  • The hamlets of Combe and Bitnje in Bohinj, where the internationally renowned bee merchant Jan Strgar kept his bees and who, together with Mihael Ambrožič, was responsible for the spread in popularity of the Carniolan bee

You can also visit the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska in Lescehttp://www.cricg.si/angleski-jezik/ and follow developments regarding the World Bee Day Initiative here – https://www.facebook.com/worldbeeday/?fref=ts

So, come on, let’s unite to support World Bee Day and Save the Bees!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

A Feast of Festivals in Radovljica

Linhart Square, named after the Slovenian playwright and historian Anton Tomaž Linhart, is the hub of Radovljica’s cultural scene. A whole host of events take place in the square throughout the year, including:

  • The annual Chocolate Festival – April
  • The International Ceramics Festival – May
  • Summer Music Evenings – June & July
  • The Early Music Festival – August
  • Medieval Days – August
  • Advent Market – December

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The Baroque Radovljica Mansion hosts concerts all year round, featuring national and international choirs, bands, and the very popular annual Early Music Festival, as well as being home to the Museum of Apiculture and the Municipal Museum.

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Šivec Houseivčeva hisa) stands out amongst the town houses and is regarded as one of the finest examples of medieval burgher architecture in the whole of Slovenia. The façade of the house is dominated by a 17th century fresco depicting the Creation of Eve.

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Šivec House is a bourgeois house from the middle of the 16th century of late Gothic architecture. After restoration in 1976 all of the houses’s original beauty was uncovered including the façade as well as the interior with a collonaded entrance hall, kitchen and granary, and, on the first floor, a representation of living quarters. Nowadays, this room, with its extraordinary ambiance, serves as a wedding hall, and the collonaded entrance hall houses as an art gallery.

The gallery on the ground floor hosts rotating exhibitions (on average 10 per year), whilst the upper floor houses a permanent collection of original illustrations and another room is used as a venue for civil wedding ceremonies.

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The next new exhibition, Modern German Ceramics, will open on 29th April, with the opening ceremony at 7pm, and run until 29th May.

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More details about Radovljica’s museums and the Šivec House Gallery, including opening times and admission prices, can be found here – http://mro.si/english/ and more about Radovljica here – http://www.radolca.si/en/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

Bees in Art / Taste Radol’ca and Win, Win, Win!

After such a wonderful hot summer, autumn is turning out to be a bit of a washout, or rather a ‘damp-out’, which is rather disappointing as this time of year, when the leaves on the trees are turning into their brilliant autumnal colours, is usually a perfect time for hiking in the mountains. Alas, there’s not much of that happening at the moment but I hope to be able to bring you some trip reports soon. Still, there’s plenty of other stuff going on to keep me busy!

In support of the initiative by the Slovenian Beekeeping Association to have 20th May declared World Bee Day, last week Radovljica’s Museum of Apiculture opened a new exhibition entitled ‘Bees in Art’. I went along to the exhibition opening last Thursday, which was also attended, amongst others, by the Minister for Agriculture, in a show of support for the initiative.

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The exhibition, which is on display until 31st December, features 24 works of art created by Slovene artists, all of which are bee-related. In addition to browsing the exhibition, if any of the pieces take your fancy, visitors are invited to purchase the piece, which can be taken home after the exhibition closes, and in doing so you contribute to supporting the initiative.  Much progress has already been made with the government having endorsed the initiative and the United Nations currently considering it. Slovenia could really be considered a world leader when it comes to beekeeping and the Slovenian Beekeeping Association will not rest until World Bee Day becomes official and will contribute to further promoting the important role bees play in all our lives.

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If you would like to see the exhibition, then pop along to the museum in Radovljica’s old town. See here for opening times and further information –  http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-apiculture-museum/

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Taste Radol’ca Prize Competition

The start of this year’s month-long Taste Radol’ca event is drawing ever nearer. Now, two new prize competitions have just been announced which will make visiting Taste Radol’ca restaurants during the month of November even more tempting. All you have to do is visit 7 of the participating restaurants during the month and, in addition to eating lots of yummy food, you win yourself a ticket to the Closing Party at Jostov hram in Podnart. The second competition rewards those who submit the best photos of their Taste Radol’ca culinary experience.

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More information about this year’s event and the prize competitions can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/taste-radolca/

I feel a gluttonous month coming up!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

A new old face in town / A facelift for Lake Jasna

There’s a new old face in Radovljica’s old town in the form of a new bronze statue of Dr. Cene Avguštin (1923 – 2010), created by the academic sculptor Tatjana Kostanjevič. The statue stands in the square between St. Peter’s Church and the Radovljica Mansion – home to the Museum of Apiculture, the Municipal Museum, a music school and the venue for numerous concerts, weddings, exhibitions and other events.

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Dr. Cene Avguštin was an art historian and conservator and an honoured citizen of Radovljica who strived to popularise cultural heritage through his work which included museum and gallery activities (director, custodian), architectural and urbanistic development of Gorenjska’s medieval towns and squares, and professional lecturing.

This week I revisited Lake Jasna in Kranjska Gora as I had read about its recent facelift. The small lake has always been a popular spot with its backdrop of the Julian Alps, crystal clear water and en-route to the Vršic pass. However, it had long felt somewhat neglected, so its new appearance, complete with wooden chairs, bridges and a small tower is most definitely a welcome and well-received improvement.

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And finally there’s somewhere to get an ice-cream and a drink and to sit and soak up the scenery.

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Radol’ca introduced the Tourist Hop-on- Hop-off bus two years ago and, as far as I’m aware, was the first town in Slovenia to do so. It has been a definite success and set a shining example. So, this year, for the first time, Kranjska gora has also begun operating a Hop-on Hop-Off tour bus which visits the area’s 10 most attractive sights, including Lake Jasna

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Useful Links:

Radovljica Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/

Radovljica Mansion – http://www.radolca.si/en/art-history-overview/

St. Peter’s Church – http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-church/

Kranjska Gora Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus – http://www.kranjska-gora.si/en/activities/summer-activities/tour-bus

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

More Rainy Days Ideas – Radovljica and Studor

Most of July was blissfully hot and dry, and indeed records were being broken left, right and centre, until, that is, last week when a new, less than remarkable, record was set of just 20 minutes sunshine over a 5 day period. Let’s hope that record is consigned to the history books and not repeated any time soon! Fortunately, by Friday the sun had worked its way back and it was immediately hot again. The consequence, however, is that there wasn’t much in the way of hiking and cycling for me for the whole of last week, instead just endless trudges with my umbrella.

Once such ‘trudge’ – though in fairness the remarkable scenery means it can’t be described as a ‘trudge’ – was around the quaint village of Studor. The moody skies and the mountains of the Julian Alps rising up from Bohinj Lake only served to somehow make it even more scenic.

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Though only tiny, Studor it is known for its double height ‘toplar’ hayracks.

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The Mrcina ranch with its Icelandic horses.

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and also the Oplen House Museum (Oplenova hiša) which represents a typical 19th century home where various crafts were carried out and includes a black kitchen – http://www.slovenia.info/en/muzej/Studor-in-Bohinj,-Oplen-House-.htm?muzej=914&lng=2

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Meanwhile, in Radovljica, it is noticeable how rain actually attracts visitors to the area. On rainy summer days, the old town centre is often at its liveliest as people flood here from Bled, and the surrounding areas, seeking things to do on a rainy day. Popular attractions include:

The Museum of Apiculture, housed in the Radovljica Mansion, where you can learn all about the history and importance of beekeeping in Slovenia and see the collection of painted beehive panels, each one tells its own story, including the oldest one in the world.

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The Gingerbread Workshop at Lectar Inn, where you can see gingerbread hearts being made and decorated, pick up some souvenirs and/or enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant.

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There’s also the Šivec House Gallery, St. Peter’s Church and, a little further afield, the iron-forging village of Kropa, the village of Kamna Gorica with its many bridges and streams, the ruins of Kamen Castle and the home of Avsenik music in Begunje, and the Vila Rustica archeological site and Village Museum in Mošnje.

All of the above mentioned are also accessible on the Hop-On Hop Off Tourist Bus which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/

Of course, on rainy days food and drink is usually top of most people’s list and Radovljica doesn’t disappoint on this score either with a plethora of cafes, and tasty homemade food at the Taste Radol’ca restaurants including Kunstelj Inn, Lectar Inn, Joštov hram, Vila Podvin. More information can be found here or click on the Taste Radol’ca heading at the top of this page – http://www.radolca.si/en/taste-radolca/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Mystery Shopping in Radovljica!

The Slovene daily newspaper, Dnevnik, is currently running a kind of ‘Mystery Shopper’ project whereby foreigners living in Slovenia are sent to various locations across the country to assess things such as accessibility, information received at the local tourist office, restaurants and cafes, accommodation and activities in the area. As can be seen from the article below, which is all in Slovene hence my precis here, last week two Czech girls visited Radovljica and gave it rave reviews, well except for the accommodation which was slated. In fairness, however, Grajski Dvor hotel is currently undergoing refurbishment after a long period of closure and is most certainly ‘a work in progress’. Personally I think its promising and encouraging that a local businessman has been willing to undertake this big renovation project to ensure that the hotel will, eventually, be returned to its former glory and will stay in local hands. I actually went to see the newly refurbished rooms for myself last week and what struck me most was how clean the place was. For a 3 star hotel, which doesn’t pretend to be anything more, offers reasonable rates and is very centrally located, I think it’s worthy of a bit more than the 3 out of 10 awarded. Other than that, they gave everything 10 out of 10 meaning Radovljica currently leads the list of places visited and assessed so far! https://www.dnevnik.si/1042715656/magazin/prosti-cas/dnevnikova-izvidnica-radovljiska-pravljica-a-le-s-polno-denarnico What struck me as most surprising was that despite having lived in Slovenia for several years, the girls had never heard of Radovljica. Surely almost everyone who lives in, and visits, Slovenia knows Bled – of course – well Radovljica is just 7km from Bled! So, whether you live here or are on holiday, next time, just turn off the motorway one junction before the exit for Bled and come and see it and sample it for yourselves – don’t miss out! This is a summary of what the pair did, saw, ate, drank etc. On day one they arrived by car, just a 30 minute drive from Ljubljana. They first went to the Tourist Information Centre, which is ‘very easy to find’ – its the first building on the right on entering the old town centre – http://www.radolca.si/en/tic/ The welcome and information they were given in the tourist office was excellent, even though they tried hard to play the role of ‘annoying tourists’! They were given maps of local walking trails, suggestions for what to see and do including rafting, canyoning and kayaking, and ideas for places to eat and drink. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t conducive to outdoors activities so, following the suggestions given in the Tourist Information Centre, they first visited the Museum of Apiculture, which is housed in the magnificent Radovljica Manor, where they were given a short guided tour to learn about the history of beekeeping in Slovenia and where there is an actual hive you can watch bees come and go. They bought some honey-related gifts and souvenirs and then continued into the adjoining Municipal Museum. 3 Radovljiška graščina ceb muz Next up was a visit to the well-known Lectar Inn. This restaurant with rooms and gingerbread-making workshop is much favoured amongst Slovenes and visitors from far and wide. It is run by husband and wife Lili and Jože, assisted by their family and a loyal staff, dressed in Slovene national attire. The ground floor houses a restaurant, the upper floor has accommodation, and downstairs is the gingerbread heart workshop where visitors can watch, and upon prior reservation also try for themselves, the art of making these traditional souvenirs. 1781946_780217605407996_3932387495050073481_n     CIMG7936 In the evening they went to the Academia bar and were surprised at how lively it was, having thought of Radovljca as being ‘a bit of a sleepy town’. In fact Radovljica has a lot of restaurants, cafes and bars –  a surprising amount for a town of its size where you can try out some specialities from the Taste Radol’ca restaurants too – http://www.radolca.si/en/inns-and-restaurants/ 10982079_873359362707281_3075502047712497002_n     CIMG8163 The next day they walked on the new Sava River Trail – http://www.radolca.si/en/the-sava-river-trail/ 10404285_999836556694053_9154493743495987424_n     CIMG8124 Enjoying the walk so much they ended up continuing to the ruins of Lipnica Castle (Pusti grad) and the Natural Science Trailhttp://www.radolca.si/en/lipnica-castle-natural-science-trail/ CIMG6948 This is just the tip of the iceberg of things to see and do in the area but I hope it at least provides some ideas and inspiration. © AdeleinSlovenia 2015