Don’t Miss Cobblers’ Sunday – This Sunday in Tržič!

Cobblers’ Sunday takes place annually on the first Sunday in September , when the streets of the old town of Tržič come to life.

The event attracts large numbers of visitors, who come to browse the market stalls, enjoy the entertainment programme and take advantage of free guided tours and entrance to galleries and museums. The programme, as seen below (in Slovenian) actually begins on Saturday 3rd September, when from 10am to 1pm a Festival of Old Games will take place in the atrium of the municipal building (občina).

On Sunday 4th – the main day – some of the highlights of the programme include: a live concert by the Saša Avsenik Ensemble, entertainment for children on a bouncy slide and face painting, a fashion show with a difference, a clown show, creative workshops for children and guided tours of the Germovka iron foundry.

The tradition of Cobblers’ Sunday dates back over 500 years, attesting to Tržić’s heritage as the centre of Slovenia’s shoemaking industry. It is associated with the custom called frejšpreh’nga’, when it was on this day that in the past, cobblers’ apprentices were promoted to journeymen.

 

In 1985, the old town centre of Tržič was designated the status of a cultural and historical monument. Though, as with so many town centres these days – and not only in Slovenia – the old town centre itself is not the thriving hub it once was. It is, however, still home to some interesting and unique buildings and features, particularly the portals embellished with flowers.

Cobblers Sunday is you can learn more about the town’s history by following the Traces of Industry Trail.

The trail, which is marked by metal shoe imprints, leads past the houses of former cobblers’ workshops…

…as well as the town’s last remaining firbec okno’ window. The word ‘firbec’ refers to a nosey person and ‘okno’ (meaning window) refers to the window from which nosey residents could look at the goings-on in the town by looking through the glass pane at the bottom of the protruding window, without the need to lean out of the window.

Be sure to take advantage of free entrance to Tržič Museum, which is located in Muzejska ulica (Museum Street). The museum is housed in the former Pollak dyehouse and tannery, which dates from 1811.

The museum’s numerous collections take you through Tržič’s historic industries including shoemaking, leather, crafts, trade, winter sports, local history, and art. The museum is far more interesting than one might think and has numerous interactive exhibits, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

Inside there are a range of exhibits, some of which are interactive, through which you can find about more about the town’s tradition of shoemaking as well as its other industry heritage, including skiing, leather and other crafts.

Through the day on Sunday there will also be the chance to taste traditional Tržič bržola as well as other typical stews cooked in a cauldron.

A fun day out for all the family! Now let’s just hope the weather gods are kind, but whatever the weather, come and enjoy the fun of the fair!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

A Different Side of Mt. Dobrča!

Mt. Dobrča can be reached from many directions. I’ve previously blogged about my hike to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut, so this time I decided to approach it from a different direction, from Tržič, or to be more precise from Brezje pri Tržiču via the Lešanska planina mountain pasture.

This particular trail begins from almost opposite St. Agnes’s church (Slovene: Sveta Neža) in Brezje pri Tržiču, which is located alongside the road that leads from Begunje na Gorenjskem to Tržiška Bistrica.

My trusty companion(s) for this trip were my friend Bernarda and her trusty companion Charlie – the dog. Since she lives in Tržič, Bernarda knows almost every inch of Mt. Dobrča like the back of her hand!

After a short walk up the road, you reach a junction, where either trail leads to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut. We took the one to the right, as seen below.

You soon reach an old water trough with the sign Razgledna točka, which you can follow for a few minutes to reach a viewpoint.

Return to the main trail and continue on the well-marked path that leads up through the forest before emerging onto a clearing, from where there are great views across the Radovljica Plains towards the Jelovica plateau and further.

Here you can take a seat and soak up the views from the special bench dedicated to the stage and screen actor and author Polde Bibič, best known for his role in the film Cvetje v jeseni (Blossoms in Autumn), and the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.

Continue upwards on the marked path towards Dobrča…

…and you soon get your first glimpse of the Lešanska planina mountain pasture (1,450m).

There is a herdsmens’ hut on the pasture where, in the summer grazing season, you can try sour milk, curd cheese and stews, as well as traditional Slovenian žganci and masovnik.

From the pasture you can continue up to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut or, for a shorter hike, and if you want to do a circular route – you know how much I love a good circular route! – head back the same way, but only for a few minutes, past the Lešanska planina sign (as shown above) to the bend in the road then follow the road down until you reach a junction.

Here you can either continue down the road to return to the start or take the path to the left towards Tržička Bistrica, as shown on the stone below.

After just a few metres, keep a close eye out for a path to the right that leads into the forest, which you follow straight ahead then diagonally across a pasture.

Keep following the marked path until you emerge onto the road close to a trough with drinking water, which both I and Charlie  took advantage of, particularly as Bernarda tells me that Tržič’s water is among the best in the whole of Slovenia.

So, this rounds off another great hike in the Tržič area. Click here to find out more about this and other hikes in the area.

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

Tržič – A Walk Through the Forest to the Forest!

Why ‘Through the Forest to the Forest’ you might ask? The answer is that this Tržič walk goes ‘through’ the forest to the village of Gozd – the Slovenian word for ‘forest’!

This family-friendly walk to the Zavetišče v Gozdu shelter can be a walk in itself or part of a longer hike to the ever-popular Koča na Kriški gori mountain hut and/or one of the other numerous trails in the same area.

The walk begins in the Pristava area of Tržič, where there is a small parking area almost directly opposite the start point.

The trail to Gozd takes just over an hour and is well marked throughout with signs and the usual red and white circular trail markers.

It is particularly pleasant at this time of year in the summer heat as it runs almost entirely through the shady forest (or as was the case for us yesterday, the forest also provides shelter when it begins to rain!).

After about half an hour you emerge onto the road, where you are greeted on the opposite side by a dazzling array of signs!

Follow the signed trail to the left, which, after around 20 minutes emerges at the forest shelter, where you can enjoy a rest, a drink and some sustenance before either returning the same way or heading onwards and upwards!

PHoto: PD Križe

There’s a small climbing wall and play area for ‘kids’ too! Note: the shelter is usually open on Friday afternoons, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, or at other times upon prior arrangement.

Opposite the shelter is a shrine, which appears to be ‘keeping watch’ over the shelter and the hikers that pass by.

If you are looking for a more challenging hike, you are spoilt for choice with hiking trails in the area, the main ones being Kriška gora, Tolsti vrh and Storžic.

If, however, you don’t plan to walk any further, then why not just join in the crowd!

Click here for more information about other hiking trails and mountain huts in the Trzic area.

Enjoy your walk/hike, and, take my advice, make sure you have your waterproofs with you in your rucksack, because at the moment there seems to be a storm every afternoon and you don’t want to get caught out…like we did!

© Adele in Slovenia

The Šlibar Organic Farm – A Real(ly) Rural Retreat

Isn’t is just great when you go somewhere not expecting much, only to find it’s so much more than you imagined? That was exactly the case when I recently visited the Šlibar organic farm in Kovor, near Tržič.

In addition to very much being a working farm, four years ago the family decided to make further use of its vast grounds by adding seven rustic-style glamping huts, which have proven to be a real hit!

There are two styles of huts, as can be seen above. They differ only on the outside, while the well-appointed interiors are all pretty much the same.

Each of the wooden huts has one main room with a double bed as well as a separate nook with two single mattresses for kids.

Outdoors each hut has its own cooking area with basic equipment, while there is also a shared outdoors covered kitchen area just metres from the huts, and each hut also has its own designated toilet and shower located just a short walk from the huts. An organic breakfast, featuring produce from the farm, is included in the price of a stay.

The farm also has its own small shop that sells home-grown produce and home-produced beer and spirits, jams, pasta and other grains.

I couldn’t try it, since coeliac disease and beer do not mix, however, word has it that the home-produced beer is excellent, and judging by the crate loads that one customer was buying at the time of my visit, it must be true!

Kids will love the animals…

…and the abundance of space to be… kids. Well, you’re never too old, as they say!

The peaceful, rural location, farm and domestic animals, organic food, and great views too – it all adds up to a truly organic experience!

The farm is a destination in itself as well as a great place to base yourself for exploring, hiking and cycling in the surrounding area. Nearby hikes, which I have blogged about in the past, include Kriška gora and Tolsti vrh, Košutica, Dobrča, the Born Trail from Ljubelj to Preval, and the peaks and mountain pastures on, and below, Slovenia’s longest mountain – Košuta.

So, whether you are still undecided where to use your tourist vouchers (for Slovenian citizens only – a government measure to stimulate tourism re COVID-19), or you are planning to visit Slovenia and seeking somewhere a bit ‘off the beaten track’, the Šlibar Organic Farm could be just the place for you!

Find out more about what else to see and do in the Tržič area here.

© Adele in Slovenia

Visit Tržič – Jelendol and the Stegovnik Waterfall

Jelendol is a small village located at the far end of the Dovžan gorge in Tržič. Although it takes a bit of an effort to reach the village, and even more so to reach the Stegovnik waterfall, you will be rewarded by seeing this unique village and impressive waterfall away from the madding crowd! It is also the start point for numerous hikes in the Karavanke mountains – with so much choice, it’s hard to know which way to turn!

It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for residents of the villages following the devastating floods of autumn 2018, which destroyed much of the gorge, the road, and caused significant damage to many of the houses closest to the river. At that time, the only way into or out of the gorge for the residents of Dolina and Jelendol was on foot to the start of the gorge from where they were picked up by minibus and taken to school, work, etc.

Now, the road through the valley has been repaired and numerous improvements have been made to the surrounding infrastructure too, so, provided you have a car, access is easy and, by combining a visit to Jelendol and the Stegovnik waterfall with a visit to the Dovžan gorge, which I blogged about recently, you can make a day of it. Read more here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2020/06/24/visit-trzic-escape-the-heat-and-have-an-adventure-in-the-dovzan-gorge/

Jelendol is inextricably linked with Baron Karel Born (1876-1957), a politician and entrepreneur, who owned as much as a third of all the forest in Jelendol and the surroundings of Tržič.

Born set up an electric saw in Jelendol that used electricity from a domestic small hydroelectric plant. He built a plant to make staves for barrels, then in 1903 he built a 5.5km long railway line, and a main loading station in Medvodje. Horses were used to transport wood from Košuta and Stegovnik, and the wood was then transported by rail to the sawmill in the then Puterhof (renamed Jelendol in 1955). The line crossed the Tržiška Bistrica river several times, which required the construction of ten small wooden bridges. During the war, the sawmill and other buildings were razed to the ground twice by partisans, and the locomotive was even mined.

Nowadays there are still plenty of reminders of Born’s influence on the village; at the crossroads of the road towards Medvodje (to the right) and the road to the left (towards the fire station and onward on the forest road) there are information boards featuring information about Born and his contribution to the economic development of Jelendol (alas, only in Slovene)…

…while just a short walk leads to the Born family tomb, to where, in August 2008, Karel Born’s remains were transferred from the Vienna cemetery.

Having visited the tomb and had a wander round the village, you can continue your way by taking the right fork in the road towards Medvodje. Follow the dirt road for quite some time (I suggest by car or by bike – on foot would be a long slog!) until you reach a parking area near the ruins of a former barracks, where there is a sign to the waterfall. This is also the start point for hikes towards the mountain pastures beneath Košuta.

From here set off on foot for cca. 15 mins to reach the Stegovnik waterfall, which is formed from the Stegovnik brook.

Though the waterfall only drops around 15 metres, it is still quite impressive, and lovely and cool in the heat of the summer too!

During summer you can also visit Tržič every Friday on the Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus, which includes free guided tours of the Dovzan gorge and Tržič old town centre.

© Adele in Slovenia

A Glamping Fairytale in Tržič!

The growth in the popularity of glamping was already rising exponentially, and this year, due to a certain virus, it has become even more popular than ever, as holidaymakers seek less crowded spots to spend their holidays.

Glamping Mountain Fairytale is a new addition to Tržič’s range of accommodation. It makes the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.

It’s not marked from the main road, so keep your eye out for these signs.

Though only small (6 wooden houses), it fits perfectly with the saying ‘Small is beautiful’, and the area has been thoughtfully laid out according to the principles of Feng Shui.

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Each house is uniquely named and comes with its own hot tub.

Guests can help themselves to produce grown on-site.

In addition to breakfast included in the price, there are also some great freebies for guests.

FREE access to the Gorenjska plaža (The Gorenjska ‘beach’) – Tržič’s swimming pool. It is also possible to arrange a half board stay at Glamping Mountain Fairytale by taking your meals at the Firb’c okn restaurant at Gorenjska plaža.You can read more about the pool and the restaurant in a previous blog post here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2019/07/03/gorenjska-plaza-and-firbc-okn-fab-fun-and-food-at-the-gorenjska-beach/

And FREE entry to Tržič Museum, which you can read more about in a previous blog post here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2019/01/02/rediscover-trzic-with-adele-in-slovenia/

Glamping Mountain Fairytale has certainly become a hit in Tržič, so be sure to book well in advance. Click here to find out more about more about what to see and do in the area.

© Adele in Slovenia

Visit Tržič – Escape the Heat and Have an Adventure in the Dovžan Gorge!

Following devastating floods in autumn 2018, when the Tržiška Bistrica river flooded its banks following a heavy storm lasting several hours, during which much of the Dovžan gorge (Dovžanova soteska) was destroyed and the residents of its hamlets were left cut-off, extensive renovation work has now been completed and the gorge is now looking better than ever.

You can begin your visit at the new visitor centre, where you can park and pick up some information about the gorge and surrounding areas. The centre is open at weekends in fine weather from 10am to 6pm; outside of these hours information leaflets are available at the entrance.

From the parking area you can walk back along the road for a couple of hundred metres to reach the start of the trail beside the Tržiška Bistrica river. Follow this easy trail until you reach the start of the most fun, but at the same time also the most challenging, walk through the gorge – Bencetova pot (The Bence Trail).

Below I’ve described Bencetova pot, however, those that want a gentler experience can set off along the road, through the tunnel, then cross the wooden bridge a little further along the road to join the path, thus avoiding the ladders and rungs.

There’s no actual climbing involved, so provided you have good footwear it shouldn’t present too much of a problem for the majority of people, but you do need a head for heights!

First go up…

…and then down the wooden steps.

Next you reach a wooden bridge with an iron handrail…

…and then descend the iron rungs down to the river bed – this is the most hairy part but it’s only short!

Time for a few more iron rungs…

…then the ‘tough’ stuff is over and you can take a breather and chill out by the river!

The path continues through a natural arch…

…then leads towards the hamlet of Na Jamah (translation: At the Caves), known for its quartz conglomerate. It only amounts to a handful of houses, but is about as idyllic as its gets, well in summer anyway!

A little further along the road you reach the hamlet of Dolina, which is home to the Dovžan gorge gallery and the RIS Dolina Exhibition and Education Centre. The centre is open in fine weather from May to September on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11am – 6pm (11am – 5pm in October).

Return on the road back through Na Jamah then, in order to avoid retracing your steps up and down the iron ladders and rungs, on reaching a wooden bridge cross the bridge to emerge by a small parking area, where there are information boards about the Dovžan gorge in the late Paleozoic era.

Now just just need to continue on the pavement back to the tunnel.

After walking through the tunnel you can cross the swing bridge over the river and return back along the path to the start, or you could instead continue along the road back to the information centre, which is a shorter option, however, there is no pavement on this section.

So, as you can see, a visit to Tržič and the Dovžan gorge should definitely be on your list of places to go – whether you already live in Slovenia and have never been, or for those planning a trip to Slovenia in the near future!

© Adele in Slovenia

The Hidden Treasures of Tržič – Gutenberg Castle

Tržič is one of those places that, on first glance, may not appear to have that many sights of interest. However, there is far more than initially meets the eye, both in terms of natural and cultural attractions. I’ve already blogged about many of them, and here’s another one to add to the list!

Gutenberg Castle (sometimes referred to as AltGutenberg or Gutenberk), or rather the remains of, is one such example. It was first mentioned in 1156, thus making it among the oldest (known) castles in Slovenia. Following an earthquake in 1511, the castle was no longer renovated and it fell into ruin.

The castle is located 663 metres above sea-level above the Tržiška Bistrica area of the town. Though only a couple of walls remain, it is clear to see that it was once a fairly mighty castle.

There are two paths to reach the castle ruins – from an easterly direction (unmarked path, cca. 25mins), or from a westerly direction (marked path, cca. 15 mins) – I chose the latter!

From Tržiška Bistrica follow the road steeply uphill and shortly after passing the last houses and turning a bend, you will see a road that branches off to the right, where there is space for a couple of cars to park.

Set off along the gravel road. After just a few metres you will spot a beehive on the left-hand side; continue along the road until you reach a shrine.

Take the path that leads uphill behind the shrine.

After just a few metres you will see a sign for Mt. Dobrča and the Bistriška planina mountain pasture.

Continue up the steep path for another few minutes until you reach a wooden handrail and steps that lead up to the castle ruins.

The first Ljubljana bishop, Count Žiga Lamberg, was born at the castle in around 1420. Interestingly, it was also Lamberg that in 1465 consecrated the renovated church on the island on Lake Bled.

The views from the castle alone make the trip worthwhile. To the west there is a view of Mt. Dobrča and onwards towards the Julian Alps

…while to the east there is a view of Kriška gora, which is particularly attractive at this time of year when nature is at its greenest.

On returning back to the shrine, I suggest continuing up the road opposite (see below to the right of the red car). On reaching a large villa, take the path to the right which, after just a few metres, leads up to St. George’s (sv. Jurij) church, which in the past belonged to the castle.

You could visit both these attractions as part of a hike to Mt. Dobrča, as a standalone visit, or as part of a trip to see more of Tržič’s attractions. Whenever or however you choose to visit, I hope you enjoy your visit!

© Adele in Slovenia

Winter Hiking Above Tržič – Kriška gora and Tolsti vrh

Okay, so I know the title of the blog is ‘Winter Hiking Above Tržič…..’, but, as you will see from the pictures below, the weather – thank goodness! – is anything but wintry right now – and long may it continue I say!

We’ve had almost a month with no rain or snow, brilliant blue skies and sunshine – of course, it can’t last indefinitely, but while it does one has to make the most of it! So yesterday, despite waking up to fog in the valley, we headed out for our first winter hike this year in the Tržič area, this time we chose Kriška gora and Tolsti vrh. In places it looked, and felt, more like autumn!

As regular readers will know, I have a penchant for circular hikes, and this is a great one! You can begin the hike from Tržič itself (cca. 2.5 hours to reach the hut), from Zgornje Vetrno, or, as we did, drive up to the village of Gozd, where we parked in the small parking area on the left-hand side of the road, from where we set off on the steeper of the two paths (shown below as strma pot) that leads to the Koča na Kriški gori mountain hut. Should you wish to do the hike in the opposite direction you can drive further up the road to reach the Zavetišče v Gozdu and then set off from there on foot.

It’s such an amazing feeling when you get up above the fog and see the first glimpse of blue sky followed by the ‘sea’ of fog below!

After about 1hr and 15mins of climbing up steeply – very – through the forest, you reach the Koča na Kriski gori mountain hut (1,471m).

You can take a breather here and soak up the views, and/or head inside for some typical Slovenian mountain food.

Slovenia’s highest mountain, Mt Triglav (2,864m), looks particularly majestic on days like these.

Since there is still snow and ice in many places above around 1,500 metres (and over 3 metres of snow in the high mountains) of course, at this time of year one should always have a pair of crampons with them, which, had we done the hike in the opposite direction, would certainly have been needed in a few places today. The patches of ice and snow served as a reminder that it actually is mid-January!

From here you can either pass the hut then take the path that leads at first in an easterly direction before winding its way down through the forest, or, for a longer walk continue along the ridge for another cca. 1hr 15mins to reach the peak of Tolsti vrh (1,715m).

At the top there is a small fenced area where you can take a breather, soak up the views, and sign the record book. In the background you can see Mt. Storžič, which is on my list of peaks to conquer this year, so, more about that to come in the course of this year!

From Tolsti vrh you can take the path that leads directly downwards – steeply at first before levelling out. It takes around 1hr 30 mins to reach the Zavetišče v Gozdu, which is a kind of (non-mountainous!) mountain hut that is open at weekends.

If you need some sustenance after your hike, you could visit Gostilna Pri Bajdu in Senično near Golnik, which you can read about in a previous blog here, or visit one of the other places to eat in the Tržič area.

So, this was a good start to my hikes and adventures in the Tržič area for 2020. Here’s to many more and, in the meantime, check out the Visit Tržič website to find out more!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

The Tekec Nativity Scene – A Festive ‘Must See’ in Tržič

The festive season is in full swing with the Christmas lights on and markets open in many of Slovenia’s towns and cities.

Even some of the smaller ones, such as Tržič, have joined in the festive spirit and, for the first time, the town had an official switching-on of its Christmas lights recently.

I went along to see the mayor light up the tree, and whilst there took the opportunity to go and see the Tekec nativity scene (Tekčeve jaslice).

There was a large turnout in the atrium of the old town centre, which was just as well so we could huddle together to keep warm!

I then made the short walk from the main atrium towards the town’s main church and to Cerkvena ulica 2 (No. 2 Church Street), which can be identified by a shooting star in the entrance porch – as seen below – to see the Tekec nativity scene!

I have to say that, not really knowing what to expect, I was very pleasantly surprised. The name ‘Tekec’ comes from the name of the house in which it is situated – Pri Tekcu. The fact that it is hidden away in this house in Tržič is – in my opinion – both a marvellous bonus for the town and its people but also a crying shame, as it is such a wonderful scene that it deserves to be far more well known and appreciated.

So, for those of you visiting the area over the Christmas/New Year period, as well as those from Slovenia who haven’t yet been – whether young or old(er)! – I would urge you to go and take a look, as describing it here doesn’t do it justice, though I will give it a (brief) go!

Tržič was formerly known for its shoemaking tradition, and the nativity scene was made by the local shoemaker Jožef Ribnikar (1902 – 1970). He started carving the figures from linden wood using a cobbler’s knife when he was still a youth and began setting up the nativity with scenes from the birth of Jesus in 1935, adding the last figures in 1970.

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The amount of painstaking work that must have gone into making it is apparent in the detail; some of the figures even move. But you need to take your time to look at it and appreciate it, as there is far more than first meets the eye!

Nowadays Marjan Zupan, Jožef Ribnikar’s grandson, has taken over the reigns of maintaining the nativity scene, which is housed in the Ribnikar family gallery, and Marjan delights in proudly telling visitors about its history.

Whilst it is officially open daily from 25 December to 6 January from 9am – 7pm, provided you call or email in advance, visits can be arranged throughout the year by appointment.

Contact details: The Zupan family, Cerkvena ulica 2, 4290 Tržič, T: +386 4 592 31 31 in +386 51 274 374, E: marjan.zupan@gmail.com

You could also perhaps coincide your visit to see the nativity scene with a visit to see a live nativity play in nearby Žiganja vas on 20th/21st December. The event revives old Christmas customs and Father Christmas will be there to delight children too. More information here (only in Slovene) – https://www.visit-trzic.com/prireditve/zive-jaslice.html

So, be sure to make a visit to Tržič part of your festive season and a very Happy Christmas to one and all!

© Adele in Slovenia