Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Red letter box in the village of Stanton – the Peak District – Derbyshire

So Autumn / Fall is going to be just so exciting!

As you know, I’ve been hinting about where I’m going, and now I can reveal the details.

But first.

Top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

A couple of weeks ago, I was featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!

And then not long after, I was featured as one of the top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

p.s. I’m number 43!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

There’s simply no stopping me!

Isn’t that quite inspiring?

I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.

Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.

Thanks so much!

Back to the British stuff!

How to be British!

As you know, I’m The British Berliner, and the British part is the fact that my original home country, is England.

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

My original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester, but the leafy suburbs of Cheadle!

In fact, not far from my parent’s home is Abney Hall Park – the inspiration for country house life, and indeed, many of the scenes – of Agatha Christie!

Makers Market in Cheadle Village

What I’m trying to say is that even though I sound as if I come from the manicured landscapes of Surrey, I’m actually from the North of England!

And what was once the suburbs of Greater Manchester in Lancashire, is also part of the suburbs of Cheshire!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire

If you would like to know a little bit about England just follow the links below:

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

Book your hotel here!

I had plans to go to Russia…!

Let’s make a re-cap on where I’ve been to, in 2017 so far:

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

HOLLAND:

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

I went skiing in January, but I didn’t actually write about it. Oops!

 

Here’s what I wrote previously…

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

AUSTRIA:

CROATIA:

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

SLOVENIA:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

UK:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

GERMANY:

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

Book your hotel here!

Now that’s out of the way, let’s move forward.

OMG!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

All you need is, some strawberries, a picnic hamper & a bottle of Pimms!
©British Tourist Authority

I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

CHESHIRE:

Tegg’s Nose in Cheshire
©Visit Chester & Cheshire / NWDA

I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.

Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural, with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not too far away!

I’ve written about it before, but it’s such a lovely place that I’m going to show you around a bit more!

Book your hotel here!

STAFFORDSHIRE:

Walking on The Roaches – Staffordshire

Staffordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England.

It adjoins Cheshire to the north-west, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the south-east, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west!

The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of the West Midlands, parts of Derbyshire, and in the area now known as the Black Country.

Black Country Industrial Scene
©Edwin Butler Bayliss (1874–1950) – Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage

The Black Country is a region of the West Midlands in England, and commonly refers to all or part of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It’s so-called, because during the Industrial Revolution, this part of the country became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries, glass factories, brickworks and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution, thus turning the air black!

Staffordshire has many small towns, and we’ll be going to the  Northern part of it.

Book your hotel here!

MANCHESTER:

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Manchester really needs no introduction, but if you insist…

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester, and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Now even though I’m a Mancunian, I haven’t lived in Manchester since I went to university!

I haven’t been back to Manchester for quite some time!

And that’s quite some time ago!

So we’re going to do some day-trips.

I’m planning to visit some cultural galleries and museums, check out the night life, drink cocktails on Canal Street – Manchester’s Gay Village – and chill out by the canals.

Yippee!

Book your hotel here!

BLACKPOOL:

Blackpool – A seaside resort on the coast of North West England!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Blackpool faces the Irish Sea between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, and is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton, 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester, and has a population of about 142,065 people!

Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained so until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable to travel to the coast in the summer, for a bit of seaside air and the attraction of a sandy beach!

Beauty Queens in 1950’s Blackpool

Blackpool rose to prominence when a railway was built in the 1840’s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. By 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, theatres, fish-and-chip shops, and was otherwise known as “the archetypal British seaside resort.”

Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for your ordinary Brit to travel abroad, affected Blackpool’s status as a leading resort in the late 20th century, and it fell to tacky, shabby decay.

In fact, I haven’t been there myself since I was twelve (12) years old, and found £5.00 in the sand!

We spent all our money on Blackpool Rock!
@Kate Hopkins

I was enormously pleased I can tell you, so my brothers and I spent it all on Blackpool Rock!

However, lots of money has been ploughed into it, and quite frankly, Northerners haven’t been deterred by it’s less than reputable past. In fact, at one time, it was billed as England’s answer to Las Vegas!

In 1954, Blackpool enjoyed a tourist boom and attracted up to 17 million visitors a year!

Blackpool’s major attractions and landmarks these days include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, its sandy beaches, and the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway!

We’ll be out there to see what all the fuss is about!

Book your hotel here!

DERBYSHIRE:

Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

Derbyshire, otherwise known as Derbys or Derbs, is a county in the East Midlands of England.

The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the southeast, Staffordshire to the west and southwest and Cheshire to the west!

Fischer’s Baslow Hall – Derbyshire
©Baslow & Bubnell Parish Council

Kinder Scout, at 636 metres (2,087 ft), is the highest point in the county, whilst Trent Meadows, where the River Trent leaves Derbyshire, is its lowest point at 27 metres (89 ft). The River Derwent is the county’s longest river at 66 miles (106 km), and runs roughly north to south through the county, and Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms (near Swadlincote), is the furthest point from the sea, in the whole of Great Britain!

A huge portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire and the Pennines, and we’re going to be staying in a cottage, in the village of Baslow!

Exciting stuff!

Book your hotel here!

YORKSHIRE:

Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK!

Yorkshire, otherwise known as Yorks or the County of York, is a county in Northern England, and the largest in the UK!

Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire are areas which are widely considered to be among the greenest in England, due to the vast stretches of unspoilt countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose, of the royal English House of York.

The War of the Roses – The White Queen!

If you are versed in English history, you’d know well the Wars of the Roses between the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster – a red rose – and the House of York – a white rose. If you enjoy watching British cultural dramas, you might recognise the name in the wonderful BBC TV series – The White Queen!

I have happy childhood memories of camping in the Yorkshire Dales, but this time we’re going to be visiting the lovely historical city of York!

Book your hotel here!

WHY THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE?

Chelmorton in the Peak District National Park
©Simon Harrod

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Ha! Ha! I’m not going to be climbing live volcanoes anytime soon, but we do enjoy horse-riding, sailing, hill-climbing, trekking, and rambling through the countryside.

One of the reasons that I chose Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire is not only because of nostalgic visions of my childhood, but also, because parts of it belong to the National Forest, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors National Park, as well as the Peak District National Park!

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Yep!

We’re going to be getting ourselves dirty, wrapping ourselves warm, and breathing in fresh clean wholesome air!

Book your hotel here!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s embarrassing! I have never been to York!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You won’t believe it, but I have never been to York!

I know!

It’s as bad as when I didn’t go to Switzerland, even though Switzerland is literally next door!

Which way to the City of York?

To rectify that, I’m going to be working in partnership with Visit York in order to experience all that is best for an Original City Adventure in York, and the surrounding area!

We’re going to be using the York Pass, going on a hop-on-hop off bus, visiting historical attractions like The Richard III & Henry VII Experience, York Minster, York Castle Museum, and possibly, squeezing in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway!

Dick Turpin, the infamous 18th century highwayman!
©The York Dungeon

Since we’ll have a teenager in tow – we’re also going to be spending some time at the York Dungeon, the JORVIK Viking Centre, York’s Chocolate Story, and an interactive horror history experience organised by the York Theatre Royal! 

We’re going to have a wonderful time!

Book your hotel here!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit York, absolutely all opinions, and the delicious Yorkshire puddings that I’m certain to have, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Have you ever been to the English countryside? Have you ever been to Northern England? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

I think it’s becoming awfully clear, that we really had just the greatest time in Slovenia, and I’m not even finished yet!

Isn’t it strange?

Top 30 expat bloggers 2017!

But before we go any further, I’ve just been featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!

Isn’t that cool?

I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.

Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.

Thanks so much!

Back to Slovenia!

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

If you had asked me about Slovenia a few years ago, I couldn’t even have shown you where it was in the map, and now I can’t stop writing about it!

Really, I’m becoming quite the (baby) expert!

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but an utter delight!

And the Slovenian locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

If you’re just joining, and why is that?! This is what I have written so far:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

Book your hotel here!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

This week, I’m going to tell you about the lovely time we had at Lake Bled!

LAKE BLED

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Lake Bled, otherwise known as Blejsko jezero, Bleder See, or Veldeser See, is a lake in the Julian Alps of North-Western Slovenia!

The lake is of mixed glacial and tectonic origin and is 2,120 m (6,960 ft) long, 1,380 m (4,530 ft) wide, with a maximum depth of 29.5 m (97 ft), a small island in the middle of it, and a medieval castle hanging over a cliff!

The fact is, you can’t go to Slovenia without at least spending a few hours at Lake Bled.

We decided to dedicate a complete day to it! After all, it isn’t every day that you get to go to the Julian Alp mountains, and visit the fabulous beauty of a lake that has been attracting and dazzling people for more than one thousand (1,000) years!

A millennia!

Wow!

Book your hotel here!

HOW TO GET TO LAKE BLED

We took a public bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled – Slovenia, & a semi-private van on the way back!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

As you know, I’m a huge fan of taking trains, but just like Croatia, the train station for Lake Bled is a little iffy to get to. In this case, the train from Ljubljana only reaches to the Lesce train station, which is about 4.5 km from Lake Bled, and you still have to take the bus!

We decided to take the bus.

Don’t get confused. The bus station in Ljubljana doesn’t really look like a bus station, and is sort of in the middle of the road! However, there are loads of buses with signs towards Lake Bled, and you can pay for your ticket on the bus. A one way ticket is about €6.00 per person.

Cash only of course!

It took about 90 minutes and the buses are usually crammed to the brim, so take something to read, or simply look out of the window!

Right there in front of us, was Lake Bled – Slovenia!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Once we got to the bus station, we sort of walked around the tourist office, found a little road going down a slight hill, and right there in front of us, was Lake Bled!

The first thing we opted for at Lake Bled – Slovenia, was ice-cream, and then we had another one!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

It was June, and boy it was hot, so the first thing we opted for was an ice-cream, and then we had another one on the way back!

On the return journey, we were approached by a little agency that offered to take us back to Ljubljana more frequently than the public bus, faster, and in a semi-private vehicle with far fewer people, at a cost of €8.00 per person, rather than €6.00!

I admit, I was a little suspicious at first as I thought it was some sort of scam, but when I insisted on a receipt, was given it with no hassle at all, and saw the very nice van, I was sold!

And true to their word, we were back in Ljubljana in less than 45 minutes!

Let’s get to it!

Book your hotel here!

LAKE BLED – 10 REASONS TO VISIT!

Lake Bled – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

Absolutely ignore all those people who say that Lake Bled isn’t a thing, too many tourists, not worth the talk, is over rated, etc. It’s absolutely not true. It’s worth it and what’s more, if you’re in Slovenia, and you don’t visit, you’re a fool!

There.

I said it!

And here’s why!

I absolutely adore anything to do with water!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
  1. Lake Bled itself: I absolutely adore anything to do with water. I live in water cities, I spend time visiting places just because they have a river, and I’m weirdly drawn to river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other, to lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and seas! I spend a lot of time going to the Baltic Sea in Poland, and would you believe it, even Germany has a seaside, and it’s really rather nice!

So was it any wonder that Lake Bled was on the agenda, and besides, walking around the lake was just so tranquil. A slow pace takes about three (3) to four (hours), whilst a brisk walk would probably take about an hour and a half.

Less, if you ran!

Bled Castle is one of the most iconic places in Slovenia!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

2.  Bled Castle: The castle, other wise known as Blejski grad or Burg Veldes, is a 12th century medieval building that was built on a very steep cliff overlooking Lake Bled, and is the oldest castle in Slovenia!

Bled Castle is one of the most iconic places in Slovenia and is home to a museum collection, the Knights Hall, the Gothic Castle Chapel, a castle printing workshop, a wine cellar, a castle smithy, a herbal gallery, and the Castle restaurant! And if you’re lucky, you get to experience an archery tournament, and just like Ljubljana Castle, costumed characters wandering around the castle courtyard too!

Within Lake Bled – Slovenia, is a sort of mini-island in the middle of it – Bled Island!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
The only way to get to Bled Island – Slovenia, is by boat, or swimming!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

3.  Bled Island: Within Lake Bled is a sort of mini-island in the middle of it!

On the island is a Baroque stairway all the way back from 1655, and with 99 stone steps leading up to the pilgrimage Church of the Assumption! There is also a lovely bell-tower with a wishing bell that can be rung, the chaplain’s house, provost’s house, small hermitage and some rather mysterious legends…!

The only way to get there is by boat, or swimming!

Sail away on traditional wooden pletna boats on Lake Bled, Slovenia!
©Marco Coppo – Slovenian Tourist Board

4.  Sail Away: All around Lake Bled and Bled Island are traditional wooden boats called pletna boats which can either be rented privately, or which you can travel in with other people. The origins of the Pletna boat goes back to 1590, and you can recognize it from its’ colourful awning and oars that remind me of Thailand!

You can also rent rowing boats, canoes, and other sport equipment!

Taking photographs of Lake Bled – Slovenia. There’s no need to be shy!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

5.  Take photographs: There’s no need to feel shy taking photographs. Everybody was taking photographs because the scenery was so beautiful. One of the reasons why we took so long walking, was because I kept taking pictures!

Lake Bled cream cake in Slovenia!
© 2017 Rear View Mirror

6.  Eat Slovenian food: We had a lot of Slovenian food, but the most iconic thing to have whilst at Lake Bled is actually the Bled Cream Cake! Oh yeah! More about this next week!

Go hiking at the Vintgar Gorge – Slovenia!
©Jacob Riglin – Slovenian Tourist Board

7.  Go hiking: If you’re feeling a little more energetic and want to do even more, you can either go to the nearby Vintgar Gorge where you can find the largest waterfall in Slovenia, or go hiking at the Triglav National Park which isn’t that far away either, and is the only National Park in Slovenia!

Everywhere you go in Slovenia are huge beautiful ducks and swans!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

8.  Admire the swans: Everywhere you go in Slovenia are huge beautiful ducks and swans.

Why there are so many, I haven’t a clue, does anyone know?

One of the most common swans found around Lake Bled are the mute swans! Swans are large, heavy, aristocratic-looking birds which breed successfully in Slovenia. By all means admire them, but don’t get too close, and definitely don’t feed them. Sadly, humans don’t know when to stop and end up feeding them meat, cake, and all sort of poisonous crap.

Best to take lovely photographs, coo at their beauty, then leave them alone!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

9.  Hang out with the locals: There’s always something happening on Lake Bled, and while we were there, there was an international rowing regatta competition on the other side of the lake!

So when we got there, we bought ourselves a drink, sat down, and started clapping and cheering with everybody else!

It was great fun!

Share your declaration of love on Lake Bled – Slovenia!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
Show the love!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

10.  Be romantic: If you’re travelling with your loved ones then where better to share your declaration of love than to go on a romantic night-time carriage ride around Lake Bled, leave a heart lock, or by putting your head inside a huge heart-shaped symbol of love, which you can find while walking along the lake shore!

 

So what are you waiting for?

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

Book your hotel here!

LAKE BLED – 10 REASONS TO VISIT!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the magnificent walk around Lake Bled that we had, are my very own!

I’ll be telling you about my next adventures in a couple of weeks!

What about you?

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Have you ever heard of Lake Bled? Do you like swans? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

Sloooovenia!

What a pretty little country it is!

We visited Slovenia in June and it was utterly new, making the countries that I’ve visited (not that I’m counting you understand!) to be 37 countries in Europe, 12 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands! 3 countries (so far), have been new in 2017.

That makes a grand total of 64 countries and 5 continents!

I pledge to travel and to share others how to do so too!
#ExploreMore2017

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but an utter pleasure!

And the locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

And the locals in Slovenia have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful!

If you’re just joining, and why is that?! This is what I have written so far:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Dragons are everywhere in Slovenia!
©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

Book your hotel here!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

  • You can be a craftsperson for the day, and learn how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina
  • You can go hike up the Alps, mountains and waterfalls in Kamnik
  • You can take a bus or train out to Lake Bled. More about that in a few weeks!
  • You can go to the beach or even go wine-tasting!
  • You can get off the beaten path and discover the unknown parts of Slovenia

Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do that, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

This week, I’m going to tell you about the charming time we had in Kamnik!

KAMNIK

The Little Castle / Mali Grad in Kamnik – Slovenia
©A. Fevžer – Ljubljana Tourism

Kamnik, otherwise known as Stein in Oberkrain, is a town in northern Slovenia, beneath the peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps!

Kamnik was first mentioned in 1229, when it was an important trading post between Ljubljana and Celje, thus making Kamnik one of the oldest towns in Slovenia!

In the Middle Ages, Kamnik was one of the most influential centers of power for the Bavarian Counts of Andechs, and developed into a charming medieval town. Sadly, the only remnant of the Bavarian nobility are the ruins of two castles near the town center, and the Franciscan monastery!

Kamnik – Slovenia still retains it’s rich history and many cultural sights in the Old Town!

Having said that, Kamnik still retains it’s rich history and many cultural sights with the Old Town still very much present in the Austro-Hungarian style, as well as it’s surrounding area, representing a starting point for the numerous outdoor activities such as hiking through the valleys, hills, and mountains around Kamnik, and the breath-taking nature of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps!

Courtesy of Ljubljana Tourism, we were invited to go on a day-trip to experience what it was like to be a craftsperson for the day, how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina, and to do a few hikes up the Alps, mountains, and waterfalls in Kamnik!

We took the local Kamnik bus in Slovenia!

We were supposed to take a local bus and make our own way to the city of Kamnik.

At first, we were a little confused as the bus station in Ljubljana doesn’t really look like a bus station, and is sort of in the middle of the road! And we thought we would be meeting our guide in Ljubljana, so we spent a bit of time wandering around and wondering where our guide would be!

Once it clicked that we were to meet in Kamnik, we found many a bus going in that direction. Our ticket was just €3.10 each, and the journey took about an hour!

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Our smiling guide – Matej Hribar – on the Velika Planina – Slovenia!

Once we got to Kamnik, our smiling guide – Matej Hribar – was there to meet us!

We shook hands and then drove through the village in his car to the next meeting point, which was to the Velika Planina cable car, and also to meet our lady cheese guide!

Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name. ‘So sorry!

Going up the Velika Planina cable car in Kamnik-Slovenia

The aerial cable car usually takes just five (5) minutes from the Kamniška Bistrica Valley at 560m, to the Velika Planina’s Šimnovec at 1419m above sea level, which we had to go up to!

Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia! With incredible views!

Even though we were in Slovenia in June, the weather was visibly cool and even rather foggy and misty, but the view was incredible!

And stupidly, for some strange reason, I opted to wear my nice orange suede shoes rather than my hiking shoes!

I mean, I knew that I was going hiking, and took my hooded jacket and rain coat, but it just didn’t occur to me to take my hiking shoes too!

I’m still smiling, even though my suede shoes were utterly ruined on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia!

Well, I paid for that, as my suede shoes were ruined and utterly soaked through!

Oops!

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WHAT IS THE VELIKA PLANINA?

A shepherd on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Aleš Fevžer – Ljubljana Tourism

The Velika Planina, otherwise known as ‘big pasture’ is an independent settlement of herders and shepherds on the Big Pasture Plateau, in the Kamnik Alps of Slovenia!

In fact, the Velika Planina is one of very few herders’ settlements of this scale, and is the largest shepherds’ settlement in Europe!

The Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia, is the largest shepherds’ settlement in Europe!

Wow!

It is distinct because of the homes which are scattered around the Velika Planina.

The wooden huts and barns on the Velika Planina, are single-room dwellings with oval roofs covered with pine shingles, and extended extremely low!

The wooden huts and barns are single-room dwellings with oval roofs covered with pine shingles, and extended extremely low, so that space is created for livestock to be inside the huts too!

Nowadays, there are very few permanent residents in the settlement, but every June, the local herdsmen bring the cattle to the Velika Planina, move into the herdsmen’s huts, and stay there until September, to tend to grazing cattle!

Grazing cattle in Slovenia!

Sadly, we arrived at the beginning of June, and were a little too early to see them all!

And so the hike began.

On the ski lift in the Slovenian Alps. But I won’t be doing it ‘cos I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic!
©Andrew Lloyd – Slovenian Tourist Board
The empty chair after I fell off the ski lift!

There is actually a chair lift that takes you from the highest summit in the Velika Planina at 1666m, and is used during the skiing season or for cycling and running competitions!

I don’t like chair lifts as when I was younger, I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic! It wasn’t pretty, so hiking down the mountain it was!

On the way down we saw many more huts, and hiking trails for trekking, sprinting, and mountain biking on the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

On the way down we saw many more huts, and hiking trails for brisk walking, trekking, sprinting, and mountain biking!

Ahoy! The path is rocky on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
©Matej Hribar

But do be careful, as running down the mountains and valleys could lead to breaking your ankle, as the path is rocky!

Follow the signs on the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

And if you’re ever lost, just follow the signs!

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The cheese lady, myself, The Tall Young Gentleman, and our guide – Matej Hribar – at the Preskar’s Hut Museum, on the Velika Planina – Slovenia!
©Matej Hribar

As part of our hike journey, we went to Preskar’s Hut Museum!

Preskar’s Hut Museum is a hut that exhibits the life of herdsmen in the 19th century. We were far too early in the season for the traditional herdsmen and workshops, but our guide – Matej – had the key, so we could venture inside!

And what an exhibition. Take a look at the photographs!

Shepherd’s tools at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
Shepherd’s churning jugs to make cheese, at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
Shepherd’s traditional clothing, at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!

 

In front of Shepherd’s traditional clothing, at Preskar’s Cottage on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!

We continued our hike and by this time we were pretty peckish, so to the Zeleni Rob Lodging House we went!

And in this lodge, we not only had a bite of lunch, but we also learnt how to make cheese!

Not your typical hard cheese but a Slovenian speciality called “trnič.”

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HOW TO MAKE TRINIC HARD CHEESE!

How to make Trnič hard cheese on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
©Jošt Gantar – Slovenian Tourist Board

Cheese making has a long tradition in Slovenia and the Velika Planina is particularly known for Trnič, which many consider the most romantic of Slovenian cheeses!

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese from Velika Planina – which resembles a female bosom!
©Klemen Brumec

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese made in the Velika, Mala, and Gojška Planina, in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, which resembles a female bosom!

In the 19th century, “Trnič” hard cheese was only made by the herdsmen, and was a symbol of love, given to a sweetheart as a sign of faithfulness, and also a promise of marriage! They were always made in pairs and decorated with the same ornaments.

The herdsmen kept one of them and presented the other to their beloved. If she accepted this gift, it meant she agreed to his courtship!

Our lady cheese guide showed us how curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!
First, the curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!

First, the curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!

Next, the clumps are shaped and kneaded into the shape of a female bosom!

Next, the clumps are shaped and kneaded into a dough. We found this difficult to do, as the dough is kneaded into the shape of Ahem!

A female bosom!

Afterwards, the trnič dough is decorated with patterned wooden sticks!
©David Lotrič – Slovenian Tourist Board
My own effort at decorating the trnič dough, wasn’t quite as good!

Afterwards, the dough is decorated with patterned wooden sticks!

The trnič dough is left to smoke over an open fireplace or dried in a warm, dark, airy space!
©Jošt Gantar – Slovenian Tourist Board

They are then left to smoke in the shingle over an open fireplace or dried in a warm, dark and airy space for about two (2) to three (3) weeks!

Finally, the trnič cheese is grated which you can just about see!

Finally, the trnič cheese is grated and sprinkled on risotto, porridge, pasta, soups, salads, or very thinly sliced and sprinkled with honey, pepper, olives, pumpkin seeds, or butter!

Phew!

Now for a bite of lunch!

We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaazing!

‘Remember when we had Štrukli Truffles in Zagreb – Croatia?

This time we had the Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries.

It was amaaaazing!

We needed to work off some of that delicious snack so more hiking was necessary, and a drive to the valley of the Kamniška Bistrica!

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THE VALLEY OF THE KAMNISKA BISTRICA!

The Valley of the Kamniška Bistrica in Kamnik – Slovenia!

The Kamnik Bistrica, otherwise known as Kamniška Bistrica, is an Alpine river in northern Slovenia.

The valley of Kamniška Bistrica Valley is named after the Kamnik Bistrica River, which is 33 km or 21m long!

The river is one of the cleanest in Slovenia and boasts a series of natural attractions.

I wasn’t able to hike on the Koželj Trail, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” did a short version, with our guide!

I wasn’t able to hike on the Koželj Trail ‘cos of the wetness of my orange suede shoes, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” did a short version, with our guide!

Look at the lovely gorges of Veliki and Mali Predaselj in Kamnik – Slovenia!

The valley of Kamniška Bistrica plunges from the south, into the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and is a very popular starting point for outdoor activities such as the gorges of Veliki and Mali Predaselj, and the 30 metre high Orglice Waterfall, otherwise known by the locals as Worglše, Orglice, Orličje, Orlišče, or simply, the eagle!

Look beneath your feet! It’s the beauty that is Slovenia!

What can I say!

Next, we had even more food!

I think I’ll postpone it and tell you all about it in a few weeks!

Myself & “The Tall Young Gentleman” on top of the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

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HOW TO VISIT SLOVENIA: INTRODUCING KAMNIK – A TOWN STUFFED WITH MOUNTAINS AND CHEESE!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!
©Tomo Jeseničnik – Slovenian Tourist Board

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the trnič cheese that we made, are my very own!

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

Will you?

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

Watch this space!

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How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

Have you ever heard of Kamnik? Would you spend your time hiking, being a shepherd, or eating cheese? Let me know in the comments below!

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