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

Monday, 5 March 2018

Caught in the labyrinth in the middle of Ljubljana

Unique adventure game in the dark labyrinth

Fun and adrenalin? Yes, please. And what if we add some inventiveness, moving walls, dark, flash light with a timer and different challenges? Yes, yes and yes! Then come to Ljubljana for an adventure. Labyrinth Ljubljana offers the first interactive adventure game in Slovenia and Europe and is everything described above.

My sister, friends and I visited Labyrinth Ljubljana on a Sunday night. We were hoping for two hours of fun and left filled with adrenaline, higher heart pulse, some bruises on our legs (if you’re clumsy like me, you get that for free), but most importantly happy that we got out of the labyrinth with our wit and wishing that we come back again, as it was really fun.

If you’re an explorer by heart, you’re not afraid of the dark and a timer will get your adrenalin flowing, then Labyrinth Ljubljana is a great adventure treat for you. The labyrinth is located in an old, abandoned house, about 4 kilometres from the Ljubljana city centre (you can get here by buses 7 and 7L) close to the northern bypass to Kranj. The house isn’t anything special until you get a peak inside and see what is hiding in it. A two story house is also an old gallery of the artist Aleksander Novak. You can see it only if you enter a huge labyrinth on 500 square metres and find a way out of it on the other side. It sounds simpler than it is. You travel around the labyrinth in dark and only a flash light with a timer and your friend will help you get out. On your way to the exit you will face challenges, which will see how inventive, courageous, skilful and cooperative you are.

There are two labyrinths available. Gallery on the ground floor and Workshop on the upper floor. The concept of the game is the same, but the labyrinth and the ambience are different. First you have to watch a movie with your team (there can be 3 to 5 people in your team) and then you go to your base – a room where you and your team will spend most of your time. We chose the labyrinth Workshop, which is on the upper floor and we had to climb a ladder to get there. That explains the bruises on my legs. Two members of the team go to the labyrinth at the same time and have a flash light with them, which turns on for only a certain number of seconds and then turns off. It makes sense that friends help each other in the labyrinth. They have to search for challenges in the dark labyrinth where it seems that there are countless turns and crossroads. When you think that you know your way and that you’ve been walking on it before, something changes, the door that you’ve already unlocked, get locked again. What the hell? To get even hotter, the flash light signals that you only have half the flash light time. Then you and your friend head back. If you don’t... you and your friend’s breath (and scream) will be the only thing you hear in the dark labyrinth. Yes, the first adrenalin adventure that gets your blood really flowing.

Labyrinth Ljubljana offers great fun for family and friends where you will be scared for each other, encourage and help each other and solve the clues and riddles together. With some luck and inventiveness, you will find the exit in 120 minutes and rescue yourselves from the dark labyrinth and be able to breathe the fresh air again. Do you dare? All you need is a team of fearless people, sports clothing, two hours of time and the fun can begin. Don’t forget, HI membership card brings you a 15 percent discount on the adventure game Labyrinth Ljubljana. What are you waiting for? The timer will start any second now.