Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Križna Cave (Križna jama)

Slovenia’s green Karst is full of caves, only a few of which are open to public. Although Postojna Cave and UNESCO protected Škocjan Caves are by far the most well-known and visited tourist caves in Slovenia, we would recommend the naturally-preserved 8.273 metre-long Križna cave for a more authentic and less Disney-esque experience. The name, which translates as ‘Cross Cave’, comes from St. Cross Church (cerkev Sv. Križa) nearby. It is the seventh longest cave system in Slovenia and offers a totally unique experience. The 22 emerald lakes are connected by an underground crystal-clear stream. Within the side passages ancient bones of cave bears can be seen, and by the number of specialised cave dwellers, the Križna Cave ranks among the richest caves in the world. The cave is so captivating that you can entirely forget about the outside world. The temperature inside the cave is a constant 8 degrees year-round, so be sure to wear your woolly socks and coats!

Foto Peter Gedei
The short tour lasts around 1 hour, and it involves a 600-metre walk, followed by a short dinghy ride on the first lake. The lake splits here and those, taking the short tour can return on foot on the same path. Walking along the paths, used by cave bears for thousands of years, and paddling along the lakes in karst underground is an experience you will never forget.

Underground lakes that are up to 7 metres deep were formed behind sinter barriers, that emerged because of the build-up of calcareous sinter.

Foto Csaba Egri
The entrance to the Križna cave is somewhere in the middle between the Bloke plateau, the Lož valley and the Cerknica plain. If we take the main passage, called Jezerski rov (Lake Passage), heading from the entrance in the direction of water flow, we get to Kalvarija, where the cave splits in two passages. One is called Blata and the other Pisani rov.

Through these two passages, the water from the Bloke plateau streams from one lake to another, continues its way to the Nova Križna cave and surfaces at the Šterbrščica stream.

Foto Csaba Egri
You can visit at any weather and season, rain or sunshine! So, don’t miss out on an opportunity to see this amazing and mysterious Karst underworld.   

More information about Križna Jama cave can be found here: and more information about sights and activities in Green Karst can be found here:

For your best comfort we recommend accommodation in Youth Hostel ARS VIVA, that includes a cultural centre with open-air events and art gallery. You can book your stay on:
T: +386 40 501116

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Underground beauty

Surrounded by dripstones and bats

I have to admit that I didn't know which title I could give to this article to make it more appealing, because this attraction certainly and undoubtedly deserves it. When visiting our cave in Postojna, prepare for a cooling of 8-10°C. In fact, you're lucky because the Postojna Cave is open all year long without exception. During the season between May and October you have the opportunity to see it hourly. Within an hour and a half you can see 5 km of its interior, some of which on your feet and some of it with a cave train. The cave can also be visited by disabled people and children in strollers. Fortunately, there is never bad weather in the underground. The more daring ones have an option to visit 3 underground caves of the Postojna Cave system in the company of experienced cave guides using a rope in 2-4 hours with the caving equipment and a helmet.
Photo: Iztok Medja,
This year the cave is celebrating 200 years since the cave lamplighter Luka Čeč has discovered its most beautiful parts and for this purpose there will be several events and celebrations. Its greatness already saw more than 38 million visitors. They also brought the news about the cave across the globe. They reward every millionth visitor so keep your fingers crossed! The Postojna Cave is also known as the longest tourist cave in Europe as it has 24 km of underground routes.

People in the past believed that a dragon lives in the Postojna Cave. As you know olms live in the cave and when they floated to the surface in the course of strong currents, people were convinced that they are the dragons' offspring. They have no eyes, they live for more than 100 years and can live without food for up to 8 years. Two years ago 21 olms came out of the eggs in the cave but their reproduction is still considered a secret.

Photo: Dragan Arrigler,
The cave was fun even in the 19th century and it was a privilege to visit it at that time. In the visitor's book where he talks about the cave he says that it was already illuminated at that time as if there were stories from the Thousand and One Nights going on there. Before 1900, the cave had permanent electrical lighting. Nowadays, concerts are taking place in the cave. It was in this cave in the world that a new science was born - biospeleology that studies life in caves. Our cave system is considered one of the most diverse on Earth.

Photo: Iztok Medja,
Thomas Cook also included it's visit in his first journey around the world. He said that it was worth making a trip from Venice to Postojna for this world gem.

Photo: Iztok Medja,
After an interesting and mysterious day in the limestone and water landscape you can wake up fresh in a new day at the Proteus hostel in the centre of Postojna around which the park is planted. The dormitory building where the hostel is located, is 800 meters away from the Postojna Cave and 500 meters from the main bus station. The hostel makes sure to organize colourful events for which you have to ask in advance. If you decide to be their guest, remember that with the HI Slovenia membership card you get 10% off

You'll be amazed at the special features of the Karst world and its mystery. In the upcoming summer days the cave visit is perfect for a pleasant refreshment. While you're at it also take a look at the dragon's offspring. What lovely creatures our amazing planet Earth creates, right? Let's take care of our mother Earth!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Among the alpine peaks

Floating in the air

Have you ever glided freely through the air looking at the beautiful mountains around you? Have you ever seen the world as birds do? In Bovec you'll find many adrenalin junkies and this excitement gives them the feeling that they're alive. That way they feel the world around them more genuinely. Fly now in tandem with the outdoor agency Avantura. Their take-offs are from Mangart, Stol, Kuk and Kanin. They have already presented nature from the air to many satisfied customers who still come back to fly with them. HI cards holders have a 10% discount on a tandem paragliding flight.

For relaxation after the experience in the air treat yourself to a hand massage for which you should ask in advance. You can also enjoy in a jacuzzi and in Finnish sauna. They also connect you to restaurants in Bovec so that everyone can find something for themselves. Don't worry, they take care of all your senses!

To fill up your batteries after an exciting and intense sports adventure go to the hostel Bovec with free wi-fi. You'll find it in more than a century old but now completely renovated house in a traditional provincial style. So that your legs won't get tired too much, it'll take you to the hostel only 5 minutes from the main square or from the bus station. And one reminder, in the Bovec hostel with the HI membership card you get a 10% discount on the overnight accommodation!

Who hasn't looked yet in the sky and wished being like a bird completely carefree and weightless? At least for that time in the air, you'll put your problems off your chest and feel only that moment. All in all, this moment is the only one we have and which really counts. The past has passed and the future hasn't come yet.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Underworld of the only liquid metal on the planet

Can you guess what I mean?
Walk through the Anthony's main road which is the entrance for visitors to the underground of the mercury mine in Idrija. I probably don't need to say specifically that the mine is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In front of the pit, there is a large Šelštev building which used to be a calling room which means that they checked the presence of the miners there, made a short prayer with a plea for a happy and safe work after which they were given their daily assignments. It included, among other things apartments from the employees in the mine. The famous Slovenian engineer Stanko Bloudek was born there.

Foto: Jani Peternelj, Fototeka:
Antony's Main Road from the year 1500 is one of the oldest preserved entrances into a mine on the oldest continent and thus also the oldest part of the mine in Idrija. Don't be afraid if the dwarf Perkmandlc is in the cave! He liked to dig ore, tease the miners and sometimes he even showed the miners where to dig ore. Children will learn about the various mining professions here and with a bit of luck they can also find the Perkmandlc's treasure. You'll witness the stories of the hard life of miners and you can see a unique underground chapel. There are also statues as miners' patron saints: St. Barbara and St. Ahatius. With the HI card you're entitled to a student discount.

Prepare to walk about 1200 m on a pleasant 13°C in one hour. When buying a combined ticket for the Anthony's main road and the Hg smelting plant, you get an 11% discount.

Foto: Samo Trebižan, Fototeka:
If I talk about mercury so much, I can tell you more about it, right? They used it for all sorts of things. From extracting gold and treating diseases to measuring the temperature and predicting weather. Working with it brought us Nobel prize winners. The experiments with it gave us the basis of modern chemistry and we're using it in space exploration. Nowadays due to its toxic characteristics it's used less. Through the centuries combustion engineers in Idrija also refined the burning furnaces for the smelting of ore. With the help of experiments and interactive games, you'll learn more about the importance and usage of liquid metal in many areas of life to this day.

Foto: M. Lenarčič, Fototeka:
To best anchor the freshly gained museum knowledge in your heads and to unwind, I recommend staying in the Idrija hostel. It lies atop a hill above the city where a bed awaits you for only 9€/night. The closest cafes to seize the day are only 5 minutes away by foot. They offer you free bed linen, a towel, as well as free internet and parking. If booked in advance, an all-inclusive package is a great deal. If you decide to become their guest, remember that you get a 10% discount with the HI Slovenia membership card. 

As far as I know my closest contact with mercury was when I smashed the thermometer with it. I got really scared about that because it's poisonous but fortunately I quickly got rid of the mess. Who doesn't have at least a bit of it in the dental amalgam fillings, for which some people say harm us while others say they're safe. If my dentist didn't really know how to answer to this question, who can?


Thursday, 26 April 2018

Visit the Museum of Illusions

Our senses can cheat on us

Sometimes when things go wrong we think, well, at least we have brain and eyes, they cannot let us down and we can trust them. But we can also put our own senses on the test. In the Museum of Illusions our confidence in the infallibility of the brain can quickly be dispelled. Again, we can ask ourselves the old question: Is everything in our life just an illusion?

There is nothing as it seems in the Museum of Illusions. In fact, this is not even a real museum. It's not a boring museum where you can only see exhibitions of old things or paintings. Museum is different especially in the fact that it is open every day from nine in the morning to ten in the evening, when other museums are already closed. There is no tour guide there since each visitor is guided by himself. Each exhibited object, whether it is an image, an installation or a room, has an explanation in Slovene, English, German and Italian. Instructions are the guide of what to do with the object and it is a must to follow for the perfect experience. Then it is explained exactly how the relationship between your mind and your eyes works in an object and why the brain does not always understand what the eyes are telling it. This is a great way of entertainment and of learning to understand our vision, perception and brain. The museum gives us the opportunity to discover complex science in a simpler way. All illusions are the result of some scientific research. In the museum we can take a photo, in fact, there are many highlighted photo points from which you can make unusual photos of your co-visitors in all possible poses. And a great photo that cannot be taken anywhere else can be also taken here. Perhaps you've always wanted a photo of your head on a tray on a setting table. Or photos on which you are jumping or sitting on the ceiling. But you can also take a picture with a special camera that works like a kaleidoscope.

There are dozens of paintings in the museum which seem perfectly normal, but of course, when you look closely, they are not. They put your eyes and brain on a test. You can study for hours and think which line is longer than the other. We also find special 3D holographs that change right before us and even Einstein’s heads are waiting for us. There are also some kind of rooms that literally rotate your gaze and give you the opportunity to see things from a new perspective. You can go to an endless disco or to a room where gravity does not work where the ball rolls upwards and even you can get dizzy for a moment. 

With their special features these rooms create an illusion. One of the main stars of the museum is certainly the VORTEX tunnel in which you feel like the whole world revolves around you and you lose balance while trying to not fall down every time you make a step. You can also play with basic colours and observe their inflow. The Ames Room, however, allows us to follow people’s size changing only by walking around the room. The specialty of the museum is that each of the illusionist rooms has its own hashtag with the name of the room which gives them even greater interaction. In the end you are invited to play in a smart playroom which is also very suitable for the youngest as it encourages you to exercise your brain cells through playing with special wooden toys and other games. This way you can further test your brain cells and give them new challenges. Some games can also be bought at the store. There are so many things in the museum that your head can start spinning. All this can come from all optical scams and sloping rooms or simply from all the experiences in the museum. The Museum of Illusions is the largest museum of its kind in this part of Europe.

The museum is such a great, fun and educational relaxation from everyday life. It surprises us and makes us think. Perhaps we can be overwhelmed by how easy it is to influence our brain. It is also suitable for connecting and meeting new people since it is important to cooperate and interact with each other for the perfect experience. And of course we can interact through photo shooting. The museum is located in the centre of Ljubljana, on the Congress Square, near the University of Ljubljana and has two floors. It is in the immediate vicinity of other sights which also means shelter in the rain or on too hot days. The museum was opened in the autumn of 2016 but thanks to all its characteristics, it quickly gained popularity and is certainly worth a visit. It is perfect for every generation and it is also suitable for group tours.

And now the great news: holders of HI cards have a 5% discount on the price of an adult ticket, which costs 9.5 euros. Did you know that the face you see in the mirror is not the same as that seen by other people when they look at you?

Monday, 16 April 2018


On the crossroads of three worlds

The magnitude of the forests and meadows that spread in every direction and the richness of its underworld are only a few blessings that Ocizla offers to its visitors. This sunlit village that houses a little over a hundred inhabitants is so special due to its geographic position – it lies directly on the juncture of the Karst, Istria and Čičarija regions of Slovenia. Though the infamous bora wind doesn’t spare us there in the wintertime, it won’t reach us once we step into the woods, thus we can peacefully enjoy the natural jewels. 

@Author - Photo Sandro Sedran S-Team
If we hike along the three-hour memorial circular TIGR path, which takes us mainly through the woods, we learn a lot about the village of Ocizla.

The hike starts in the middle of the village at the pond, which gets its water from the nearby spring and once served to water the cattle. Water remains our faithful companion down the route and we are constantly cradled by water sources – some visible, others gone because of draught or disappeared underground due to limestone bedrock. The path will lead us alongside various streams; some we will meet, others cross, and for some we will bear witness to their disappearance underground. Small waterfalls and ponors won’t fail to astound us along the way, and nor will the impressive underground world, especially upon crossing the natural bridge. Luza, a natural spring that will greet us after several minutes of walking, is sure to impress, freshen and fuel us for the rest of the hike. The waters in the area are very clean and the first to prove that is the European crayfish, or the noble crayfish that still live here. The purity of the water is due to our ancestors, who exploited the water resources, but also nurtured them. Our ancestors were aware of the water’s importance, so they duly cherished it; they tended and tidied the surroundings and they put up watermills to alleviate their own work – the remains along the trail will testify on that. Our ancestors would catch crayfish in the streams, at certain points the women would gather and do laundry together and in time for koline, the pig slaughtering festivities, people would wash the animals’ bowels in the streams. The water was furthermore used to make slaked lime and many of our ancestors learned how to swim within the water pools.

@Author - Photo Sandro Sedran S-Team
So, as we hike this circular TIGR trail, let us think about the most precious of all worldly goods and the cradle of all life on Earth, water. And just as the water moves to make a water cycle, we will move and round up our hike right at the village pond of Ocizla, where we first started.

@Author - Photo Sandro Sedran S-Team
After the trail you are most welcome to spend the night at Ocizla’s Youth Hostel called Ociski raj, which translates as ”Ocizla’s Paradise” in English. We offer accommodation with a rich breakfast, and everyone with the Hostelling International Slovenia membership card is granted 10% discount on accommodation. Upon seeing the tremendous opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and cycling, we are sure you will want to extend your stay. For those of you who are keen on exploring on wheels, we rent bikes, while the hiking buffs we can always direct to explore the astounding Glinščica river Valley – or the nearby mount Slavnik, if you’re more of a daredevil. Rock climbers will especially enjoy the Karst Rim, where you can find two world-renowned climbing faces: Mišja peč (or “little mouse”, as it is affectionately known among climbers) and Osp. The beginners will appreciate the Črni kal route, which is only a few kilometers from the two aforementioned faces, Risnik, which is quite shorter, and the famous cave for bouldering, Črnotiče.

@Author - Photo Sandro Sedran S-Team
There is something for everyone in Ocizla or near, so we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy your stay here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A stop in the capital

Greenery in the concrete jungle

Ljubljana Tourism and other tourist providers promote the tourist offer of Ljubljana and the rest of Central Slovenia region. The institute was founded by the City of Ljubljana as a local tourist organization. More information about Ljubljana and Central Slovenia is available at Ljubljana Tourist Information Centers (TIC). You can also hire a local guide there. Ljubljana is proud of its title the Green Capital of Europe 2016 and you can also use wi-fi across the city.

@Author - B. Kladnik,
So what do we recommend you visiting in our capital? Take a look at some of the masterpieces of our architect Plečnik: the Triple bridge in the very centre of the city, listen to jazz, rock and classical concerts in the Križanke outdoor theater, which is the former monastery of the Holy Cross and take a walk along Ljubljanica in Trnovo. There is a former freight port and nowadays you can socialize, relax and sunbathe on the staircase and wide benches. You can do the same in the Tivoli Park where there are even more trees, flowers, sculptures and fountains. It's good to get out of the concrete jungle a bit to charge your batteries. Don't forget to take a look at the castle. Go there on foot or with a funicular where you'll have a wonderful view of the city.

@Author - B. Kladnik,
In between you'll get hungry and thirsty. Here are a few solutions. Try štruklji (sour stroodle), kranjska sausage with excellent mustard, beef tongue, ričet stew, bograč stew, roasted potatoes, frog legs, deer's back, pancakes with curd, a traditional Slovene dessert potica… For easier digestion of the consumed food try local beers and wines. In the warmer months that are coming you can also refresh yourself on the way at public drinking fountains because the tap water is good quality and drinkable. In addition, every Friday on nice weather between April and November you can taste Slovenian food as well as food from other countries at a culinary event called Odprta kuhna (open kitchen). If you get some unwanted kilograms, continue your exploration of Ljubljana with a borrowed bicycle for a symbolic price. You know the saying: mens sana in corpore sano!
Of course I shouldn't forget that the HI card holders have a 50% discount on regular tours in Ljubljana!

If you want to see more of what Ljubljana can offer, then the best idea is to spend the night at a hostel. Hostel Vila Veselova next to park Tivoli is a good spot to explore our capital because the main attractions are close, there is also hostel Tabor which has a hall for different events near the main train and bus station. Affordable hostel Ljubljana is located in the suburbs of Ljubljana near the BTC shopping center. We shouldn’t overlook hostel Tresor, which lies in the heart of the very crowded Čopova street and only 50 meters away from the Prešeren Square and hostel DIC, which is located in the shelter of the castle hill and offers accommodation only in the summer. Everybody with the HI membership card get 10% off.

This time we talked more about nature, architecture and culinary experiences of our capital city. Next time, let's take a look at other hidden gems, shall we?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Natural wonder

Relaxing all senses
Savica waterfall or should I say, the source of the Sava Bohinjka in Bohinj valley, originates in the steep wall of Komarča area. It's the most famous and visited Slovene waterfall. It's special also because the water flow is divided into two parts. The A-shaped waterfall has 2 parts. The right one is 25 metres high and the left one is 78 metres high. The highest comes to the surface at an altitude of 836 metres. The water flows from the Valley of the Triglav Lakes and from Pršivec. The waterfall never runs out of water and the most beautiful scenery of it is after heavy rains and when the snow melts. It's not possible to access the waterfall in the winter but in the spring, hikers open the path to it with a traditional hike. You can see a beautiful rainbow above the waterfall in the summer at dawn when the sun's rays touch the falling water.

Slovenian poet France Prešeren also talked about Savica waterfall in his poem Krst pri Savici, as well as Janez Vajkard Valvasor.

There are also excellent hiking trails nearby. The starting point is the Koča pri Savici, which is the starting point for Komna and the Triglav Lakes Valley. From here, we can walk to the Dom na Komni for about three hours. At another one we cross the bridge over Savica and follow the signs for Komarča. First we reach lake Črno jezero and then continue to the hut at the lake Dvojno jezero. It takes us four to five hours to walk there.

A small fee is to be paid to see the natural marble. There are many ways how to get to the Savica waterfall. Read how here. When reaching it, it takes you another 20 minute walk on stone steps.

After a pleasant and tiring day make a turn to the hostel pod Voglom in Bohinj which is located just by the Bohinj Lake. Let me emphasize that this is the biggest hostel in Slovenia with 119 beds. There is also the Pac sports outdoor agency that offers sports activities. In the summer refresh yourself in the cold lake or explore the surroundings with a bike or a boat. In winter go skiing, snowboarding, skating, hiking, snowshoe walking or try rafting, this time in the snowy version. You can use a free ski bus to the Vogel ski center which is 2 kilometres from the hostel. There are even more ski resorts nearby so there is no shortage of choices. One important reminder here – in the hostel pod Voglom with the HI membership card you get a 10% discount on the overnight stay!

I advise you to take a minimum of a week's break and see the waterfall, choose a sport activity at Bohinj Lake and live with the nature in our beautiful mountains where hospitable hosts will serve you real Slovenian food at our mountain huts. After that you will definitely visit Slovenia again.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Let's go to hell

Fortunately we can come back

A charming karst cave created by the Ponikvica stream running through limestone over several million years. Why Pekel cave? To get you out of the uncertainty with the name: pekel means hell. I have found several explanations why the name hell and I chose the most interesting ones. 1. It got the name by an interesting scene above the cave entrance. Well, we have to make some effort to see the image of the devil up there. 2. Local people were afraid of the cave because they thought that the black hole was the residence of the Satan. 3. The following I like the most. When there's lower temperature outside of the cave than inside in the winter, vapours are coming out of the cave at the entrance. It's the only cave in our country where human bones from prehistoric time were found, which is proof that people liked to visit it and even organized parties inside. I'm just wondering what it looked like in the dark but let's leave that for now.
In 1969 during the exploration, Anton Suwa lost his life in the cave and a memorial plaque in the cave is reminding us of him. The Tourist Association Šempeter in the Savinja Valley has illuminated and installed more than 1159 metres of secure routes. In the cave you can also find an underground waterfall. It's 4 metres high and is the highest underground waterfall in Slovenia. Diverse flora and fauna can be found in the cave. Of course you can't miss the bats. The cave temperature is about 10 degrees Celsius and the tour takes one hour. You can see live crib in the cave around Christmas.

Worth visiting here is another landmark. Through Šempeter the Roman road Oglej-Ljubljana-Celje-Ptuj was used for many years. In the vicinity many powerful Romans were living and part of them were burried in the tombs of the Roman necropolis in Šempeter. It's interesting how they discovered it. Almost 70 years ago they found a statue of a woman sitting during a work in an orchard. After the excavation they discovered the entire archaeological sitem, which is still considered one of the most beautiful preserved monuments of the Roman period in Central Europe where over 100 family tombs were found. Among them are also tombs made out of marble from Pohorje with depictions of the buried people.

From this part of Slovenia also come two successful basketball players, brothers Udrih. Now they train in different parts of the world; Samo in Spain and Beno in the NBA, USA. Each year in the summer they are co-organizers of the basketball tournament in the time of the local community's festival.

You can take some rest in the hostel Celje located in third largest city in Slovenia, in Celje, near the main railway and bus station. The rooms are thematically furnished, as the younger artists from Celje took part in the construction of the hostel. They furnished rooms on the basis of legends and myths of the local environment. The hostel also has a laundry room, a winter garden, a larger hall and wi-fi is available everywhere. You can rent a bike for free to see the city. Holders of HI cards have a 10% discount on their stay
I think that this kind of hell is the only one from which it's still possible to return. Especially in the summer it's lovely to freshen up in the satanic underworld. When visiting the Roman necropolis you get a sense of how much the Romans appreciated the afterlife or perhaps you'll get some idea of how should your future tombstone look like. Never mind the last part, it is just a harmless joke.

Monday, 2 April 2018

An inspiration for a poem in the treasury of the First World War

Explore the natural gem of our turquoise region with a light step!

A part of the Triglav National Park are the Tolmin Gorges. They represent the lowest entry point to the park. These are the gorges of the waters Tolminka and Zadlaščica. Around the water is a circular path where you can see the gorges from all sides. The most magnificent attractions are the thermal spring, the Zadlaška cave (Dante’s cave), a large triangular shaped rock (the Bear’s head) which got stuck between the walls of the Zadlaščica canyon and of course the Devil’s Bridge which hangs 60m above the river Tolminka. Dante’s cave is named after Dante Alighieri, a known poet from Italy. Supposedly the cave inspired him to write the famous Divine Comedy. The Devil’s Bridge was built by Austro-Hungarian soldiers during the Isonzo front. 

@Author - Matevž Lenarčič
It’s worth visiting the gorges in July and in August 2018 because then you can have a guided tour. Of course you can also visit them now too because they opened at the end of March already. Members of Hostelling International Slovenia get 20% off when buying a ticket.

It is estimated that you walk 4km in one hour and a half. Rest your eyes on the beauty that surrounds you, listen to the roaring water as the strength of mother nature and in the meantime you exercise. Don’t forget your hiking shoes for the best experience.

@Author - Matevž Lenarčič
You can relax at the Paradiso hostel in the center of Tolmin, on the first floor of the Paradiso bar. As you can see, its name reflects the location – paradise. The common living space contains 2 computers, a TV, board games and a few books to read. Breakfast is included in the overnight stay. Rested and with a full belly you can explore Slovenia easier. HI Slovenia members get 10% off the regular rate

Enjoy hand in hand with mother nature where time simply stops!

Friday, 30 March 2018

How do mercury and lace go together?

You can find both of them in the same city which proves that sLOVEnia is a little nuts!

Visit the Idrija Municipal Museum to culturally feed your mind. The legacy of the mercury mine there was put on the UNESCO list of world heritage in 2012. We're talking about the second oldest and the biggest mercury mine in the world. The Gewerkenegg castle houses the Museum’s main permanent exhibition which is Five centuries of the Mercury Mine and the Town of Idrija. 20 years ago, the museum received an award from the Luigi Micheletti Foundation as the best European museum of technical and industrial heritage for its work and this exhibition

@Author - Dunja Wedam
In the castle you’ll also find the permanent exhibition entitled Idrija Lace, A History Written In Thread which is meant literally. This is the history of the lacemakers, women, who were contributing to their family budgets with their skilful fingers. Today the lace is in the spotlight on runways as an important part of famous fashion designers’ creations. Among other things in the museum, you can do the shortest 5-minute lacemaking course, presented in a video. In 2008 the Museum got the Valvasor award for this exhibition which is the highest Slovene award for achievements in museology. Among other collections, let us also mention the homestead of the writer France Bevk, Slovenia Partisan Printing Shop and the Franja Partisan Hospital. While you're there, try the local speciality, called žlikrofi

@Author - Dunja Wedam
Members of the Hostelling International Slovenia are again treated better because they get a 40% discount when purchasing a ticket to the permanent exhibitions. How cool is that! To best anchor the freshly gained museum knowledge in your heads and to unwind, I recommend staying in the Idrija hostel. It lies atop a hill above the city where a bed awaits you for only 9€/night. The closest cafes to seize the day are only 5 minutes away by foot. They offer you free bed linen, a towel, as well as free internet and parking. If booked in advance, an all-inclusive package is a great deal. If you decide to be their guest, remember that with the HI Slovenia membership card you get 10% off.

@Author - Foto Video Coppo di Marco Coppo
Here the heavy and dangerous work in the mine is splendidly intertwined with the extraordinary work done with the female fingers where the breathtaking creations are produced. They are also suitable for high fashion. You can no longer try the first one because the mine is closed. Still you have the opportunity to try the second one to appreciate more the manual work of our women and perhaps get a new hobby.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Full of adrenalin in the company of world champions

Without much thought get your body moving in no time!

In 2001 two six-time world rafting winners founded Aktivni planet (in English the Active Planet), a sports-tourist agency which is located in Bovec. Bovec lies between the majestic Kanin mountain chain and the gorgeous daughter of the mountains river Soča. Guides come from different parts of the world and are ex-competitors in rafting and white-water kayaking.

At them you can reserve rafting where you can choose a classic or a long slide. They say they adjust the tour to your wishes. They do it for the fearless musclemen as well as for the gentle girls, skeptical grandmas and for the mischievous grandchildren. If this is not a nice presentation, so they are good with words and they know how to safely enjoy on the river Soča. You can experience canyoning in the steep riverbeds of the torrents. In the Krnica valley between Mt. Rombon (2207m) and Mt. Kanin (2587m) expands one of the biggest zipline parks in Slovenia. You fly freely like a bird 1300m above sea level and you are 200m in the air. 

See the nature in its most primal form when going white-water kayaking also in a kayak for 2. Test your survival abilities with an eskimo roll. Hold on to your boogieboard and cruise through the river rapids at hydrospeed. Discover the underground world which has the shape of a »Swiss Cheese«. Take a hike with the tennisrackets on your boots by day or by night. Enjoy in the amazing views while shaping your body at climbing meanwhile the kids distract themselves on the »slackline«. Last but not least look at this part of Slovenia through the perspective of a bird at the tandem flight. The best is yet to come because the HI Slovenia card-holders get 15% off of the sporting activities

To recharge your batteries after exciting adventures in the Soča valley go to the Bovec hostel with a free wifi. You will find it in a more than a century old but now completely renovated house in the traditional provincial style. So that your legs won't tire out, it will take you only 5 minutes from the main square or from the bus station to get to the hostel. In the Bovec hostel you can get a 10% discount on the overnight accommodation with your HI membership card!

After the activities on Soča you will feel like being reborn and wondering why you didn't do that sooner. So it was about time!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Hop on the train of our ancestors!

Let's go 100 years back!
The well-known Bohinj railway has been celebrating 110 years. With the help of the company ABC rent a car in turizem d.o.o. you can take a ride with a steam train that used to be used there. Departures start in May and last until November 2018. In the morning the train takes off from Jesenice and ends the journey in Nova Gorica. On the way you can of course get off at the following stations: Lake Bled, Bohinjska Bistrica, Most na Soči and Kanal. In the afternoon it goes back on the same path. During this time you can admire numerous bridges, viaducts, ravines, grapes, emerald river Soča, see the lake Bled and the Bled castle and drive through the longest tunnel which measures about 6km. You can also see planted vines, figs, almonds and persimmons on the way. At Solkan the train crosses the Solkan bridge with 85-meter stone arch which makes it the biggest stone bridge in the world. There is also a restaurant carriage on the train. Pets are not allowed and bicycles are.
In 1906 the mentioned route connected central Europe with the Adriatic part of Austria-Hungary. The Bohinj route is only part of the entire Transalpine line connecting the Czech Republic in the north and Trieste to the south. Since part of it leads through the Julian Alps, at the time it was a great construction achievement. It was opened by the emperor Franz Ferdinand. Today it connects Slovenia, Austria, and Italy for tourism purposes.
In addition you can indulge yourself in a bus trip through the beautiful Goriška Brda. You get off in Kanal, climb up an observation tower in Gonjače where you can see Friuli, Italian Dolomites, Julian Alps, the Karst region and the Vipava Valley. You might take a look at one of the wine cellars too. This landscape is also very fertile throughout the whole year. Sweeten your days with local cherries, persimmons, peaches, grapes, chestnuts ... Make a toast with excellent wine or have a taste of first-class olive oil.
Of course I shouldn't forget that the HI card holders have a 10% discount on the train ride with the steam train along the Bohinj railway.

After a pleasant and tiring day make a turn to the hostel pod Voglom in Bohinj, which is located just by the Bohinj Lake. Let me emphasize that this is the biggest hostel in Slovenia (119 beds). There is also the Pac sports outdoor agency that offers sports activities. In the summer refresh yourself in the cold lake or explore the surroundings with a bike or a boat. In winter go skiing, snowboarding, skating, hiking, snowshoe walking or try rafting, this time in the snowy version. You can use a free ski bus to the Vogel ski center which is 2 km from the hostel. There are even more ski resorts nearby so there is no shortage of choices. One important reminder here: in the hostel pod Voglom with the HI membership card you get a 10% discount on the overnight stay!
The region that connects several countries and observing it while taking a steam train ride is truly breathtaking and picturesque. The experience will not be exactly the same as in the Harry Potter books where the train picks you up on the platform 9 and three quarters but it will be still exciting, especially for the children!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Lace with mercury?

Fortunately, it's just a joke!

Idrija is famous as the oldest mining town in Slovenia which has the second biggest mercury mine in the world. You can see Antonijev tunnel which is the oldest part of the mine. The cultural and technical heritage of the town can be found in the Gewerkenegg castle where the Idrija municipal museum is located. Of course here you can find also the worldwide famous lace. You can see the exhibitions in the lace school in Idrija where they take care of the preservation and development of lace making. The school also works with companies that apply lace to furniture.

@Author - Jani Peternelj;
The Idrija Geopark lies at the edge of the Alpine and Karst worlds. Due to its unique characteristics on a worldwide scale, in 2015 it acquired the name UNESCO Global Geopark Idrija. You can visit the war museum where soldiers as dolls are in original uniforms and you can see more than 100 pieces of weapon used in the fights. Stop at the Slovenia partisan printing shop which was operating in a hard-to-reach location. They printed the only daily newspaper ever printed by some resistance movement during the occupation of Europe.

@Author - Jani Peternelj;
TIC (Tourist Information Center) Idrija provides us with general information about the city, its surroundings, its sights and events. From the events choose the international Idrija Lace Festival. If your stomach begins to rumble, then you should try žlikrofi, zeljševka and smukavc. The first ones are prepared from dough and stuffed with potato filling, the second one is potica (roll) stuffed with chives and the last one is a stew made out of cabbage, potatoes, garlic and dressed with minced lard. If you are still hungry, order ocvirkovca and štruklji. The first one is potica (roll) stuffed with cracklings and the last ones are made out of dough with a sweet filling of raisins and nuts. Hire a local tourist guide for a more authentic experience of Idrija. If not you, you can still choose a postcard, a souvenir or take some brochures. To genuinely start or finish your culinary research, sip a few drops of geruš which is a bitter absinthe drink. Back in the days the wine was expensive so with the help of methylated spirit, absinthe and spring water the miners created a drink that made them feel happier and more carefree.

@Author - Geopark Idrija;

I recommend staying at the Idrija hostel. It lies atop a hill above the city where a bed awaits you for only 9€/night. The closest cafes to seize the day are only 5 minutes away by foot. They offer you free bed linen, a towel as well as free internet and parking. If booked in advance, an all-inclusive package is a great deal. If you decide to be their guest, remember that with the HI Slovenia membership card you get 10% off

A city that is truly versatile. For lovers of history, underground, fashion, food ... I'll bet anyone can find something here to fall in love with!

                                                                                                               Saša Sladič