The Kokra Canyon / Summer Highlights in Radovljica

The old town of Kranj, the capital of the Gorenjska region, sits on a terrace above the 30-metre deep Kokra canyon, which was formed by the Kokra river carving its way into the conglomerate terrace dating back to the Ice Age.

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The recently constructed Educational Trail runs for about 2km beside the Kokra river and is best accessed down the long flight of stairs beneath the bridge over the river in the centre of the old town. It makes a great addition to the old town centre which sadly, like so many other town centres these days, is in decline due to the many out-of-town shopping centres that have sprung up here, there and everywhere. The trail means a walk through the old town can now be extended somewhat before returning to enjoy a cuppa and a cake at one of the many cafes which, together with the town’s museums and a meagre sprinkling of shops, are largely all that remain in the old town centre.

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After descending down to the river you can walk along either bank of the river and make a circular route. However, unfortunately at present its not possible to walk the circular route as some weeks back a lorry travelling over the narrow bridge, unsuitable for lorries, at the far end of the canyon, managed to reduce it to a twisted wreck of metal and concrete. It is hoped they will repair the bridge as soon as possible but nevertheless its still a nice enough place for a short stroll whilst visiting Kranj.

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Its still possible to make an almost, albeit very short, circular route by descending the stairs and staying on the same side of the river i.e. don’t cross the bridge, and continue until just short of the mangled bridge, then take the road uphill which leads back to the old town centre.

Its interesting to note that in Dol, on the right bank of the river, there was once a public bathing resort. The resort, which opened in 1900, was open from June to September and was divided into sections for men and women. It was in use until 1916 and then again for the short time after the First World War. Today, just the remains of the foundations of the changing rooms, and the stairs on the riverbank serve as reminders.

Kranj is well served by public transport, so reaching the town from Radovljica, which also has excellent transport links, is easy. Regular buses and (slightly less regular) trains run from Ljubljana – Jesenice, stopping at, amongst others, Kranj, Radovljica, and Lesce-Bled stations.

The Radovljica Summer Events Programme is now available and there’s plenty for everyone. Some of the highlights include:

* Fresh Thursdays – Live Music every Thursday evening in Linhart Square – the heart of the old town centre

* The 33 Radovljica Music Festival – 8th to 23rd August – Part of the European Early Music Network. More information here: http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/radovljica-festival/83/260/

* Theatre Festival in Kropa – 19th June to 3rd July – More information here (in Slovene): http://www.radolca.si/kaj-poceti/dogodki/festival-gledalisca-kropa-2015/83/785/

* Flea Markets – Every first Sunday in the month (throughout the year) from 9am – 1pm

* Free Guided Tours of Radovljica – Every Tuesday – More information here: http://www.radolca.si/en/guided-tour-of-radovljica/

The entire programme can be found here: http://www.radolca.si/en/db/radolca/file/zgibanka%20prevodi_web.pdf

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Multi-culinary Slovenia

One of the features of Slovenia’s cuisine that makes it so unique is its diversity, which is largely due to the influence from surrounding countries – Austria, Italy, Hungary. These days it is perhaps even more diverse due to the emergence of some world-class chefs who are taking traditional Slovene food and giving it a modern twist, and also due to the increasingly multi-cultural population consisting, in particular, of people from other former-Yugoslav nations.

An example of this was the event ‘Multikulinarika‘ event which took place last Friday in Jesenice. Held in the Kolpern Hall at the Stara sava area (which I wrote more about in last week’s blog), the event is designed to showcase food from various nations and unite them all under one roof. There were 21 different countries represented at this year’s events including; Macedonia, India, Mexico, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belarus, Spain, Kosovo and of course Slovenia!

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Taking the lead from Radovljica’s Chocolate Festival – more about that below – tasting takes place through the purchase of tasting coupons. As you can see from the photo below, I bought some and began to work my way through the cuisine of various countries!  The only problem was that there were so many different things on offer, and it was so busy, with the stands so tightly packed together, that I lost track of what I was eating and from which country! I was hoping to have a chance to chat with the stall holders, to find out more about what they had on offer, their country specialities etc., however, the crowds and the lack of space made it almost impossible. So, in the end I just headed to the stalls that were most reachable and managed to come away with plates laden with various types of burek, breads, potica, cakes, baklava and more!

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I can see this event going from strength-to-strength, however, the organisers really need to find a larger venue which allows more space for the exhibitors, the visitors and the accompanying programme. Here are a couple more pictures of the various dishes on offer, more can be seen on my Pinterest page!

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I have been fortunate to be privy to some of the as-yet closely under wraps, and still being finalised, details of this year’s Radovljica Chocolate Festival. The festival takes place over 3 days from 17-19th April and, in addition to the regular programme of chocolate tastings, sales and entertainment, the programme this year has quite a number of exciting new features too including; an extended festival area including a Chocolate Avenue and Chocolate Kitchen; an exclusive children’s entertainment area; a marquee where the chefs from the Taste Radol’ca restaurants will be cooking up special dishes; a Chocolate Party and other evening entertainment. You can also follow the latest news about the festival on the festival website – http://www.festival-cokolade.si/en/ and on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/341095372765995/

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In last week’s blog I wrote about the new route being launched by Adria airlines, Slovenia’s national carrier, offering flights 3-times per week from Maribor, Slovenia’s 2nd biggest city, to Southend-on-Sea in the UK. I’m definitely a supporter of more flight connections to/from Slovenia, especially if they are reasonably priced. The Adria flights went on sale yesterday with prices from 69 euros return and, unlike the so-called ‘low-cost’ airlines, these flights include 23kg of luggage, plus hand-luggage at no extra cost. Additionally, as an opening offer, they are throwing in a free return train ticket to London. What’s not to like! Click on the link on the right-hand-side of my blog to get booking those bargain flights!

Still on the theme of transport, I read this week about a new daily bus route from Vienna to Trieste in Italy, via Ljubljana. This also has to be another useful addition as many tourists visiting Slovenia from further afield, fly into one of the surrounding airports, such as Vienna or Trieste and this offers another choice of ways to reach Slovenia. More information here (in Slovene)  – http://www.javniprevoz.si/prevozi/avtobusni-prevozniki-slovenija/nova-vsakodnevna-avtobusna-povezava-dunaj-ljubljana-trst/

This article, published in The Guardian newspaper yesterday, about 10 of Europe’s best national parks, lists Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park, at number 2. Just another reason to come and visit! http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/mar/30/10-europe-best-national-parks-italy-france-spain

Finally, I wish you all a very HAPPY EASTER!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015