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. =)

Old town Škofja Loka

Last weekend we decided to have a short trip to Škofja Loka. I’ve been to this town before, but never in the old town square or up in the castle. So basically this was all new to me. It was nice and sunny day until we got up to the castle. Moments after we got inside and started to view the exhibition when it started to rain outside. But hey, who cares about the weather outside, when you have so many interesting things in the castle. Luckily it stopped raining when we finished the tour and we had to go outside. Lucky us!
When we arrived to the castle some lady welcomed us. We were surprised when we learned about the ticket price, it was only 3€ for students. Really cheap, considering there is so much to see. And that lady was so nice and she told us a little bit about the castle and about the exhibitions, so we were really impressed.
The castle above Škofja Loka is full of history that is connected to the area. You learn about the coat-of-arms of the municipality, the area size through different decades, you learn about some traditions, trades and crafts that thrived around there. There is also a part dedicated to the hat factory that is in the town. Some rooms are dedicated to famous Slovenian impressionist painter Ivan Grohar and some are dedicated to famous Slovenian writer Ivan Tavčar. There are different objects from few thousand years ago and some that are relatively new – from World War I and II for instance. And for all the fans of modern art there is even a part dedicated to some modern painters.
We were very impressed by this renovated castle and we think they really did a great job. The whole museum is very interesting and there are different topics from very different part of history, so I am sure everyone can find something that he or she would like. And they even have a drawbridge, but sadly it wasn’t working when we were there. I think they are still trying to make it operational, but when it will actually work I believe it is going to be amazing. Especially for the kids!
So yes, I would definitely recommend this visit and I am sure you would like the old town square and buildings there. You can see this is a medieval town, because they are still trying to keep that feeling. Even all the commercial signs in the old part of town are iron and in antique style. And while we were there they were just renovating some streets and they were paving them with new granite cubes. So yeah, thumbs up for all that.
Anyway, here are some photos of the Škofja Loka castle, the town and some details in the area.

Bogenšperk castle inside and outside

After a while we finally got some nicer and a bit more stable weather, so it was a great opportunity for a short trip. Well why not Bogenšperk castle one more time, since I said I want to return with my SLR camera.
This time we also went for a tour inside the castle. We could have a guided tour, but we decided we would prefer to walk on our own so I was able to take photos without people jumping in front of my camera and without any time limit. It was such an interesting experience seeing a tour guide opening the castle door with giant iron key, though I am a bit sorry now that I didn’t notice it a bit earlier and I didn’t take a photo of that. But hey, if you visit the place yourself you might see it.
Anyway, inside of the castle you have different rooms with different themes. One is dedicated to Bogenšperk ownership history from the first to last owners, including very famous Janez Vajkard Valvasor (Johann Weichard Valvasor). He is very important for Slovenian and party even European history and cartography when it comes to 17th century. There is also a room dedicated to British Royal Society in which Valvasor was selected to be a member. There are rooms dedicated to cartography and its equipment, an old machine for making graphics, and some other rooms Valvasor used for writing his books and creating graphics.
Probably the most famous room in Bogenšperk is the library, which now serves mostly as a wedding venue. It is pretty amazing. We were told that the ceiling, the floor and the huge book closet along the wall are the only original pieces left in the castle. They are there since the castle was built, everything else was brought in or renovated as the time passed by.
The tickets are really cheap and affordable if you ask me. Only 3€ for students and 4€ for adults, and I think that for castle or history lovers this money will be well spent.
Anyway, some new photos of Bogenšperk castle, this time taken with my SLR (though I admit, I could use a bit more time with focus and aperture this time…).

Bogenšperk castle with my mobile phone

So it happened… I went to some awesome place and I didn’t have my camera with me, just my mobile phone that doesn’t really have a great camera. But at the end I think in general photos are ok, just image quality is poor. Now I have a reason to return with my dSLR camera and make better photos.
Anyway, this was my first time to this castle and we really didn’t plan this trip, we just randomly decided to go there when we were already in a car. I knew this castle was renovated and that it looked nice, but when I’ve seen it myself I was surprised because this castle is truly amazing if you ask me. It is gorgeous, everything is so well done, grass is like that British green lawn that everyone loves, surrounding park is clean and in general everything is as some great lord would still live there. I can imagine weddings there must be really amazing.
For now, only few photos, but I’m sure I’ll write more about it and post more photos when I will re-visit the location. =)

Ljubljana castle – Ljubljanski grad

This weekend I went to the castle above Ljubljana. I’ve been there quite a few times and I’m always impressed by the amazing renovation they did. I simply love how they combined this medieval complex with some modern touches and it still feels castle-like. I know some people complained at first, saying it doesn’t fit, but I think they did a great job and it seems tourists like it too.

Anyway, at the moment there is an exhibition of National Geographic 50 best photos in the last 126 years since the magazine exists. It is simply amazing! Some photos look almost unreal, but others simply hit you with reality. If you have a chance, go and visit the exhibition, it is worth those 2€ entrance fee.

Since I was at the castle anyway, I used the opportunity to take some photos, though many tourists kept on jumping in front of my camera so I couldn’t do as many photos as I would like to. I guess I’ll have to go there some other time again, not Sunday afternoon.