Exploring the beautiful Soča Valley

A few months ago I somehow came across a short blog post about a hiking trail along the Soča river in Slovenia. It’s my home country, so I was surprised I never heard about the Soča Trail (Soška pot), which is actually part of a longer trailed called Alpe-Adria trail, that starts in The Alps in Austria and finishes at the Adriatic Sea. So I made a bit of a research and realized the Soča Trail is about 20km long (actually it’s more about 30km long) and goes along the river all the time, from the spring of the river to Bovec.

My mind was set on this trail the moment I heard about it and I decided this summer I’ll walk this path. So, to finish this summer the way I wanted, two of my friends and me decided to do it, to hike this path. Saturday, early morning, we started to drive towards Bovec, where we left our car. We took a bus from Bovec to the starting point. Around 10:20 am we were at the spring of Soča river and started to walk the trail – a bit later than we thought we will, but oh well, at least we started.

Obviously, at that time we were all still all full of energy, optimistic, positive and determined we will finish the trail. It’s a shame, but none of us were familiar with this area, we drove through it or been to parts of it before, but never really took time to explore this beautiful part of our country. The path mostly goes through the forest, sometimes through more open fields, but it’s easy to walk and absolutely lovely. There are few short hikes uphill now and then, but nothing dramatic, everybody can do it. Along the way, all the sweat is rewarded with stunning views of the mountains, Julian Alps, and views on the clear emerald water of the river. I’ve seen a lot of places around the world, but I must say, this was one of the best views ever.

We were making short stops about every hour, none of us is particularly fit, so we needed a break now and then. Around 3:30 pm we decided to stop for a bit longer, especially because Maja’s shoes were not as comfortable as she expected, so her feet hurt like hell. Nina had some troubles with her shoes too. I guess I was the lucky one, with comfortable shoes and still loads of energy left. So we just sat down on some rocks by the river, ate some snacks and enjoyed the view. The two of them decided this was the end of the trail for them and they would catch a bus back to the town. However, I was still full of energy and excited about the whole trail, so I decided to continue the path on my own.

Honestly, I loved this part of the trail the most. I love my friends and it was so much fun to walk, talk and laugh together – I’m a very extroverted person – but as soon as I started walking on my own a whole new experience opened up for me. Peace, quiet, nature, it was all so relaxing, gave me time to clear my mind and just be. It’s probably a bit weird, but instead of getting tired I just got even more energized. From time to time I was even running few hundred meters, and I usually never run! Definitely a whole new experience for me. I kept going for about four more hours, but then the sun was going down a bit too fast for me and I had to give up. My soul was saying to keep going, but common sense said it’s probably a good idea to stop where I am and call my friends to come pick me up. I believe I still had about 7km to walk to reach Bovec. I still walked about 23km, so I’m proud of myself, it was an absolutely amazing experience. But now I’m determined that I’ll walk this path again and next time, I’ll be prepared and start earlier. 🙂

Surprisingly, after a whole day of walking, I was all bubbly and full of energy even in the evening and I didn’t feel like going to sleep yet. In the morning I was up at 7 am and couldn’t wait for more adventures. 😀 I’m definitely one of those people that get all powered up by adventures… 😀

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. =)

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. =)