Castle above Velenje

Even though I’ve been to Velenje a few times before, this was my first time at the castle on top of the hill. The size of it actually surprised me, because I didn’t know it was that big. And it is very well kept and renovated, so it is great for a short visit. Not to mention the view from up there. You can see the whole valley, the city and surrounding nature from up there.
We didn’t go inside the castle because we were a little bit late for that, but we walked around it and enjoyed the views. That was enough. And what I really like about this castle is a wooden bridge that really gives that feeling of medieval drawbridge (even though this one wasn’t meant to be moved, or maybe it used to be in medieval times).
I actually don’t like Velenje very much. I never did. Probably because it is more industrial, coal mine oriented town, and to me it simply looks grey and depressing, but I do like some places in its surroundings – like the artificial lakes that exist because the tunnels of the mines collapsed (I think that was actually planned, it didn’t happen by accident). Now I guess I found another location that I like in the area of Velenje.
Next time I’ll try to visit the inside too. =)

Church of St. Pankracij above Slovenj Gradec

Few weeks ago this was a random trip to Koroška region in Slovenia. We didn’t have any real plans on what to visit or where exactly to go. This was one of the places we found. We were in Slovenj Gradec and we noticed there is a church on a hill nearby. It actually looked more like a castle from below. Well it actually is some mix of fortress and a church.
So we decided to visit it and at first we were driving around on the wrong streets before we figured it out how to get to the top. And when you are up there it is actually really nice, because it is surrounded with forest (and some house right next to it that doesn’t fit up there if you ask me). But hey, it was a nice random finding and worth the visit if you are in the area.

Feeling the space travel at KSEVT, Vitanje

Ok, so I didn’t actually feel the space travel, but this place gets you a step closer to that. KSEVT building is dedicated to space travel and it is named after Slovenian space technology pioneer Herman Potočnik Noordung. There is an exhibition dedicated to his life, then to his work, to some fictional space ideas and also a part that represents actual space travel things and problems. It is quite interesting, probably even more to those that are very into this stuff.
This place is in a small village named Vitanje in Koroška, Slovenia. For us that live in more central part of Slovenia this is more or less in the middle of nowhere, but to be honest, it is not that far away and the scenery is really nice and pure.
Why I wanted to visit this place is the architecture. The KSEVT building got some awards and to me it is simply amazing, even though I am often not very thrilled about modern architecture. I really wanted to see it, to go inside, to take some photos… So I did.

Ok, I just have to tell you a little bit about this building – it looks a bit like a space ship, maybe even more because it is in the middle of a small and very ordinary Slovenian village and its shape is round. At first it looks like the whole structure is made only by windows and metal, but it actually contains concrete and wooden elements too. It is designed so you walk uphill and then downhill around the building when you walk through the exhibition. It is similar on the roof, because you can go around in circle, uphill and downhill and there is also a roof that leans on one side, so when you see the roof windows and the other “straight” buildings in the area you are a little bit confused what is usual and what is unusual. There is a large round hole in the middle of the first floor and through it you can see the conference room on the ground level. To tell you in short – it is very unusual.

You can see everything I wrote on the photos, but I am sure you can’t feel and appreciate this amazing building if you don’t visit it. The only thing I am sorry about is that I didn’t take photos with my tripod, so in many cases I had to compensate with ISO. So if you ever pass Vitanje make sure you stop at the building and if you have a chance, go inside, visit it, experience the building and feel it. =)

Rainy foggy day close to Idrija

Actually this trip happened about a month ago, but these days I’m posting photos with a delay. Better late than never they say. =)

So it was a rainy and foggy day, but we decided to take a trip to Idrija anyway. In this blog post I decided to only publish photos that I took at Divje jezero and Brusove klavže – two places very close to Idrija, just a bit off the main road. I’ve never been here before, so this was very interesting. And I usually don’t really go outside and take photos when it is raining, but this time I just had to use this opportunity and the whole foggy ambient. The mist above water was giving this feeling of some hidden secrets, so it was perfect for a bit more mysterious photos.

First we stopped at Divje jezero. It’s a small lake, but it is actually connected to the nearby river Idrijca. Because of that I am not sure if that actually counts as a lake, but that is what it is called. It is surrounded by high rocky walls. When we were standing there we could even hear the rocks crumbling and falling deep down into the water. It is kind of crazy now that I think about it, because you can’t be sure where the rocks will fall down, so I guess it is a bit risky. Living on the edge! =D Anyway, this place is pretty amazing, probably even more when you see it with all the mist.

Then we took a rocky road a bit further into the forest and drove to the old river barrier. It is actually called Brusove klavže and the closest comparison would be with a regular river dam. I think it is a typical thing in this area, it has a historic meaning and too bad we can’t see how they actually worked. I assume it must have been a risky job. Working high above water, opening and closing the ramps that regulated how much water can flow through to the other side. The whole point of this monumental structure was to allow tree logs to travel further down the river, where they were used for the big mercury mine. This building is also known as Slovenian pyramids, because of the scale and the whole monumental feeling. And when you stand there, trust me, it is amazing, great and suddenly you feel so small…

Anyway, here are some photos to give you an idea of what I’m talking (writing) about, but if you get a chance I really recommend you to visit this place.

Grožnjan, Istria

I know, I know… It’s been a really long time since my last post, but there was so much stuff going on that my photos were just waiting on the computer. I’m working on some projects and I took a lot of photos lately, but I just didn’t find time to edit them and write something. Nevertheless, today I managed to organize myself and with more than a month of delay, here are some photos from the last day of a weekend in Istria. You can read about the first two days at some previous blog posts – Day one at Novigrad and day two at Pelegrin and Poreč.

Anyway, we spent our third day at a small town (or maybe it is more a village) named Grožnjan. It is a bit more inland of Istria, close to Slovenian border, but I’ve never been there before. They say it is an artist town, mostly occupied by painters. I’ve heard about how great it is, how nice, full of live and so on… So maybe I expected a little bit too much out of it. I mean, yes, I did like it, but maybe I wasn’t so excited about it, because it was already a bit off season and there wasn’t so much going on. There were some people, some shops were still open, but in general my impression of this town was a bit too “slow and lazy” for my taste. It is probably very nice for retired people or for those seeking a lot of peace and art. I like that stuff too, but here it was just too much for my taste. But hey, if you are in the area, I still think it is worth the visit. If nothing else, the views are great from up there!

Oh, and just so you know – when you see the road sign for Grožnjan, turn that way and when you think you got lost and you maybe missed some road, well, you probably didn’t. There is just not many signs that would let you know you are going the right way. And when you reach the top there are parking spaces, so don’t worry, unless it is a day with a lot of tourists.