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. =)

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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.

Abstract Idrija

This time I will not complicate or write too much. I took some photos during my trip in Idrija, but I decided none of them are really worth publishing. Maybe I am too critical, maybe I just don’t think they would all fit together into one post, I don’t know. So I decided to post only few more abstract photos that I like.

But I still must write something about Idrija. It was my first visit of this town and I didn’t know what to expect, but I was surprised how nature and town are somehow connected. There is so many natural elements present everywhere, from narrow water canal, to the river and then hills and trees… Totally unexpected. And they have a very nice castle on top of the hill, but we didn’t visit it this time. We visited their famous mercury mine that is open for public so we can visit it. The mine is pretty impressive and very interesting, so I definitely recommend the visit, but prepare for some walk down and up the stairs. And for all you fellow arachnophobic people out there, beware of large (by large I mean 3cm size) black spiders that hang on their spider-webs at more or less every light… That was a huge shocker for me and I don’t even know how I managed to deal with it. I guess in some situations you just find courage, though I did walk very fast when I passed every spider and I was walking very low, just in case my head could hit some spider-web. So yeah, that was freaky. =)

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.

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.