More Slovenia Highlights – Beautiful Small Towns

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We spent two amazing weeks in Slovenia, and it is safe to say that the country has climbed up to the top of our list of favorite places!  So much to see and do, wonderful people and good food.  Here are a few other blog posts about our time in Slovenia, but in this post, I will share a few day trips to some beautiful small towns in Slovenia. Because the country is so small, both of these towns, Radovljika and Skofja Loca, were less than a half hour from where we were staying, as well as about a half hour from the country’s capital, Ljubljana.

Radovljika

While staying near Lake Bled, we took an afternoon to visit the charming nearby town of Radovljika, and its medieval town center.

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It was a hot summer afternoon when we visited, and when we arrived in the old town center, the beautiful main street was flanked by vendors selling local wares.  The town center area itself is small, pretty much the main street running a few blocks long, with a few smaller streets running off of it.

We stopped and spent some time (probably less than an hour) at the Museum of Apiculture, the town’s homage to the tradition of beekeeping in Slovenia.  The best parts of the museum were the beautiful and elaborate boxes that had been used to house bees in the past, along with a working hive kept behind glass (with an exit out of the building’s second story window), so we could see the bees hard at work, along with an interesting video (in English) on bees, their hive, their roles and how they communicate.  It was a fun, though quick, stop. I didn’t take pictures in the museum, but the picture of the boys below was from inside the beautiful building that housed, among other things, the museum.

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The exterior of the building housing the beekeeping museum

As we were leaving the museum, there was a production going on outside on the main street with actors in costume.  We didn’t catch much of it (and didn’t get any pictures), but it was fun to watch for a few minutes.  Our next stop was at a restaurant, Gostilna Avgustin, right on the main street but at the back offered views over the plains and mountains outside of the old town.  We sat in a nice inside/outside area and enjoyed the food and views.

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After dinner, the weather was cooling down, so we walked down one of the side streets and got to a view point of the mountains and valleys in the horizon.

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Then, we headed down to the far end of the street again, and that is where we really got lucky!

A young man in medieval costume (he wasn’t the only one walking around town in costume) was setting out a box full of old-style toys and games he had hand-made for kids to play with in the small town square.  They were free to use, though he did have a small box out for donations.

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playing a medieval form of bowling
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I’m pretty sure this one is called “spin until someone throws up”

We had a blast playing with all of them!  In fact, A enjoyed playing with the “devil sticks” so much that the young man offered to sell them to us for €5 – a bargain for him since they were just taped up sticks, but a great deal for us too, since we couldn’t make them ourselves or get them anywhere else.  A souvenir to remember for sure!

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We are now proud owners of the devil sticks A is playing with here

As we were leaving the square, we got a chance to see a few more people in costume practicing cracking their whips. The girl was amazing at it!  The guy had a few good cracks, but the girl managed an amazing sharp, loud crack every time she tried!  We had a great discussion about why the whips made the loud noise when they whipped them so fast, and how it relates to the speed of sound.

IMG_4518_Moment_Moment(3).jpgOur final stop in town was (unsurprisingly) for ice cream, and while we sat outside eating, A was practicing with his sticks, and by the end had gathered quite a crowd of little kids eating their own ice cream and watching him.  IMG_4527 (2).JPG

Skofja Loca

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After our time in Ljubliana, Slovenia’s capital, we took a small detour heading north, to spend a few hours at the beautiful town of Skofja Loca, just half an hour outside Ljubliana.  This is another beautiful medieval town, with a castle towering over it, and a river running through it.

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We walked through the town and to the stairway that would lead us to the castle, should we be the type of family who likes castles enough to brave the hot weather and the climb up to it.  Instead, we are the kind of family who can’t resist a good playground, ESPECIALLY one that sprays cold water mist, so there we stayed, enjoying the views of the castle, and happy in our decision to skip it. IMG_5045 (2).JPG

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IMG_5069 (2)After some time at the playground, and a chat with a traveling Canadian family, we headed to a restaurant located on the river, and scored the prime table, shaded and overlooking the river, bridges and buildings on the other bank.IMG_5087 (2).JPGAfter a delicious pizza lunch, we headed back to our car, enjoying the final glimpses of the scenic town. We didn’t get to spend much time in Skofja Loca, but we are happy we got to see it and do a little wandering before continuing on our Slovenian adventures.  Stay tuned for more on Slovenia. Up next: water!

 

 

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