There’s a new look to my blog this week to reflect the beautiful hues of autumn that are now here in the valley and the surrounding mountains. It certainly looks and smells like autumn with the crimson and auburn leaves on the trees, chestnuts, pumpkins and all manner of ghastly Halloween-type things appearing in the shops. However, in the topsy-turvy world of Slovene weather this year, last week was more akin to summer, certainly drier and with temperatures in places reaching 26 degrees, it was warmer than much of August too. The record high for temperatures at this time of year hasn’t quite been beaten, that stands at 27 degrees, but it wasn’t far-off and, as you can imagine, I was revelling in it!
Perhaps I have some Hawaiians to thank for that – let me explain; Back in the winter I received an email from the leader of a group of 12 Hawaiians friends who every year travel somewhere together on holiday. This year’s holiday was to be a European tour covering many of the major cities and sights and including 2 days in Slovenia. Over the course of the ensuing half-year we traded numerous emails, the upshot of which being that by the time they arrived in Slovenia we already felt like old friends. The day of their arrival was also splendidly ‘Hawaiian’ with brilliant, warm sunshine and cloudless skies, and therefore my wish and request that they ‘bring us some Hawaiian sunshine’ really did come true! Having arranged for them to begin with a guided tour of Škofja Loka, which along with Radovljica is one of the 3 best preserved medieval towns in Slovenia, I met the group on their arrival in Radovljica and it was my pleasure to show them around the town, which was looking at its best on such a wonderful day. They then continued with their visit to Radovljica which included a visit to the Lectar Gingerbread Workshop, where they also took part in a workshop and decorated their own gingerbread hearts, lunch at Lectar Inn, and a a visit to the Museum of Apiculture, before they left for their overnight accommodation. Fortunately, they left us the sun too, and brought me some Hawaiian chocolates – aptly named ‘Sunshine Chocolates’!
Last week my blog hits reached another new milestone – over 30,000 – and the number of readers, and countries where it is read, is growing exponentially and continues to surprise and amaze me in equal measures. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that the posts I have written about food, such as last week’s one about struklji and krapi, seem to attract the most interest, views and comments; just as well then that I love to eat and still have plenty to write about on that score! Fortunately also then that Slovenia’s bi-annual Restaurant Week (Teden restavracij) is due to begin again shortly, and will run from the 18-26th October. This event sees some of the best restaurants throughout the country offering diners a chance to try out specially chosen three-course menus for a set price of just 14 euros. Two of Radol’ca’s restaurants will also be participating; Vila Podvin and Gostilna Kunstelj. More information can be found here (only in Slovene language) – http://tedenrestavracij.si/ and you can also read reviews about these restaurants in the Taste Radol’ca section of this blog.
On Saturday I visited some friends in Zaloše, a small village near Podnart, where they own and run the restaurant Joštov hram. The weather was perfect for a short walk in the forest up to the viewpoint of Stovc, from where there are magnificent views across the wide Radovljica plains and the mountains of the Karavanke range. Though not a mountain, or even really a hill, there was the customary record book (vpisna knjiga), where those who visit can record the date and time of their visit and the number of times they have visited in that year.
This is quite common practice at mountain huts, and on certain peaks, in Slovenia. Some people like to tot up the number of times they go, setting themselves personal goals, and in some cases, at certain mountain huts, there are even prizes awarded annually for those achieving the highest number of visits per year and the season ends with a social gathering including music, food and other festivities. For some, this certainly provides the perfect incentive to get, and keep, hiking in Slovenia’s mountains. In this area, some of the most popular and frequented mountain huts are Koča na Taležu, Roblekov dom and Valvasorjev dom – the latter of which recently won the prized title of ‘Mountain Hut of the Year’ in the annual competition which is voted for by the public, and they also added to this accolade by winning last weekend’s ‘Best Strudel’ competition. I frequently hike to all three of the above mentioned huts, although rarely do I go in as I’m usually in a hurry, however, now I will have to make a point of stopping by sometime to taste that great strudel for myself!
There’s a fascinating new exhibition on view at the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska, which exhibits photographs of Carnolian honey bees’ honeycomb as never seen before. If you are in the area or passing, it’s worth a look. The exhibition will be on view until December. More information can be found here – http://www.cricg.com/novice.html
Would you like to see the Julian Alps from a different perspective? Here’s the chance with this panoramic flight taken from Lesce Sports Airfield. The 45 minute flight has been compressed into just a 3 minute video and gives a wonderful impression and bird’s eye view of the beauty of Slovenia’s Alps – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nbDjsLfZfQ