I met Russ when he married my high school sweetheart, Jody. Jody passed away from cancer over 10 years ago. We still kept in touch over the years. Russ & Jill still live in California and over the years I stopped by on my many bicycle trips down the California coast. He suggested I meet them on his annual Italian vacation. I suggested they try something new, come visit us in Slovenia. So they came to visit us here in little Skofja Loka. So this is that visit.
The best traditional Slovenian food in Skofja Loka is Starman’s, I try to take all my guest here.
RUSS FIT’S RIGHT IN, ENJOYING LOCAL SLOVENIAN WINE
Natasa had to work so I agreed to be the tour guide to Lake Bled, Vintgar and the Bee museum (I’ve been wanting to go here). I’ve been in Slovenia 2 years now and there’s still so much that I haven’t seen.
We start early with a breakfast buffet overlooking Lake Bled & the Castle, visit the local crafts fair, walked up to the castle and then hike the gorge at Vintgar.
Beehive painting, which was most prolific between 1820 and 1880, started to die away with transition into 20th century. Painting on the frontal panels of bee hives is a particularity of Slovenian Alpine region and is an indispensable part of Slovenian folk art. The host took us on a private guided tour of the museum, I love Slovenia!
MUSEUM WEBSITE AND MORE IMAGES OF BEE DOORS HERE
Natasa got a few days off, so the four of us went to Ljubljana one day and the next day we drove around Mt. Triglav, through the Soca Valley.
I checked about getting a tour guide to take us around, $50 hr. So I bought the $2 book and biked the tour of the Art Nouveau buildings in Ljubljana. Jill wanted to visit the Joze Plecnik museum, it had been closed for 2 years for remodeling and had only been open a week. Joze Plecnik designed many of the buildings, markets, and bridges all around Ljubljana. It was cool to go through his house. His life was very similar to that of architect Gaudi: single, religious and lived a simple life. Joze Plecnik use to use his drawing pencils until they were so small he could no longer hold them.
Doing the pre-tour of the Art Nouveau was somewhat empowering. I knew where to go and what features to point out to my guests.
I met the head of Tourism for Slovenia, she told me the Soca Valley is the most beautiful part of Slovenia. I’m not sure which is my favorite part of Slovenia, but having biked the Soca Valley I can tell you, it is very beautiful.
We re-visited camp Kamne where Natasa and I met. We drive over the Julian alps on our way through the Soca Valley. We visit the World War I museum in Kobarid.
Russ and Jill stayed several days in Skofja Loka and said they can’t wait to come back. When Jill got back she wrote about her trip that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Updated 7:08 pm, Thursday, October 15, 2015
Why we went: We have an American friend who recently moved to Slovenia. This often overlooked country has much to offer, with abundant natural beauty and a lovely capital city, Ljubljana.
Don’t miss: The Skocjan Caves in Slovenia’s Karst region are absolutely incredible. The caves, on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites, comprise one of the world’s largest underground river canyons.
Don’t bother: Touring the museums in Ljubljana. Your time is better spent strolling the town center and exploring the interesting squares and architectural highlights, including the Art Nouveau buildings and Joze Plecnik’s many contributions to the city.
Coolest souvenir: Hand-painted replicas of beehive front boards that reflect an important part of Slovenia’s tradition of beekeeping and that are the visual, cultural equivalent of folk songs, poetry and fairy tales.
Worth a splurge: A day or overnight trip to Piran, a picturesque town situated on the southern tip of Slovenia on the Adriatic coast.
Wish we’d packed: More waterproof hiking clothes. Slovenia gets lots of rain throughout the year, as evidenced by its lush landscape and abundant rivers and lakes.