Last week started well with Monday being 30+ degrees plus but thereafter I’m afraid to report it was another fairly dismal week of rain and cool temperatures. We really haven’t ever known a summer like this before – and let’s hope we never will again. I think we should now dub the summer of 2014 as ‘the summer that never was!’.
Perhaps the only folk who are happy about these conditions are lovers of mushrooms, as the cool, damp conditions have brought an early start and a bumper harvest of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes this year. However, Slovene law dictates that you are only allowed to pick 2kg at any one time and they must be placed in an open wicker basket. Failure to do so can, and often does, result in a 200 euro fine; there are inspectors out there scouring the forests – beware! Oh and of course it goes without saying that you must be 100% certain that you know your mushrooms before picking them as a large majority of them are highly, if not deadly, poisonous.
Last Friday began, as have so many days of late, with cool and cloudy conditions but fortunately the rain held off long enough for the annual Meeting of Model Aircraft which takes place at Lesce Sports Airfield. The event attracts competitors and visitors from across Slovenia as well as from neighbouring countries such as Italy, Austria and Croatia. This year 45 competitors took part in the competition (significantly less than usual – the weather again?), whilst visitors came to watch the spectacle, browse the stalls and get a close-up look at some of the planes on the ground.
A cloudy Saturday passed with me spending the majority of it working – translating – but at least when the weather is less than great it doesn’t seem such a hardship being couped up indoors.
On Sunday however, after a bright but somewhat chilly start to the day, we were finally treated to a day of sunshine and warmer temperatures so I decided to briefly abandon work and a friend and I headed up to the Pokljuka plateau to make the most of it. There are several mountain highlands on Pokljuka and one of the most scenic, and also most easily reached, is Uskovnica. It’s a picture perfect working highland with a cute, yet functioning, church, a mountain hut which serves great food and refreshments (Koča na Uskovnici), a number of weekend houses and the chance to buy cheese and sour milk (a thick yoghurt type consistency) which has come directly from the cattle grazing on the highland. We parked at Rudno polje, which is home to the Biathlon Centre and a hotel, then walked, mostly downhill, to Uskovnica, which only takes about 45 minutes. En-route you can stop to see, and/or sit on, the energy points which are supposed to help various medical conditions. Each one is numbered and there is an explanatory board (in Slovene) telling you which one to sit on for various medical complaints, how long you should stay on it, and how many times you must repeat the procedure. I’m generally a bit of a pessimist about such things but go with the attitude ‘Well, it certainly can’t harm’!
The Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus is still running until the end of August and at weekends it goes from Bled to Bohinj via Pokljuka. It also runs on Tuesdays between Bled-Radovljica-Kropa, and on Thursdays between Bled-Radovljica-Begunje-Brezje. At just 5 euros for the whole day its great value and a great chance to see places such as Uskovnica – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/
This week Bled’s annual open-air cinema event ‘Film by the Lake’ will take place, beginning on Thursday 21st, and running for three consecutive evenings. Films are shown either in Slovene with English subtitles, or vice-versa. More information about the film programme and times can be found here – http://www.bled.si/en/events/2014/08/21/1335-Film-by-the-lake-open-air-cinema
Also in Bled this coming weekend the annual Firefighter Combat Challenge will take place. More information about the challenge can be found here – http://www.fcc-slovenia.si/en/bled-2014 OR here – http://www.bled.si/en/events/2014/08/23/1337-Firefighter-combat-challenge-Slovenia
Meanwhile, in Radovljica, the Radovljica Festival continues with this week with further performances and workshops. More information about the festival can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/32-festival-radovljica/83/260/