51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Ay Up!

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

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

Now if you’ve met me in really life, you’d be shocked to discover that I actually hail from the Northern part of the country.

But you wouldn’t know it if you heard me speak!

When I talk, I sound as posh as any Sloane in Chelsea.

Put that down to an independent private education!

The Angel of the North – Gateshead – Tyne and Wear

Having said that, even though I sound rather plummy, I am in fact, a Northerner, and my original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester mind you, 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 from Up North!

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, Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

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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!

I had planned some day trips but we went to Liverpool instead!

That notwithstanding, we did a historical walk, had a few beers, and then went to hipster Ancoats and the Northern Quarter!

Yippee!

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Grab a few beers at Pot Kettle Black in Manchester!

There are so many things to do in Manchester that you need at least a week to do them all, so here’s a list of things you could do whenever you get there.

Go on then, choose your poison!

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51 REASONS TO VISIT MANCHESTER. AND MORE!

Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, in Victorian England
© Nino Munoz/NBC

1.  Discover the Victorian historical past of Manchester
I found a large collection of self-guided walking talks distributed by Discovering Britain and created by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers – IBG), which you can find online! I picked The Slums, squalor and salvation – A self guided walk around Victorian Manchester. Being that I was named after Queen Victoria, I’ve always had a fascinating interesting in the era of that period! I enjoyed it very much, but ran ut of time!

2.  Read a book at one of Manchester’s oldest libraries
The John Rylands Library is one of Manchester’s most majestic buildings, and as a little girl, I was very much a bookworm and a bit of a boffin, so this library was one of the libraries of my dreams! It’s a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture and looks more like a castle than a library! Go see for yourself.

3.  Go to Victoria Square – the first “industrial suburb”in the world!
Victoria Square in Ancoats was built in 1894, and is the first “industrial suburb” in the world! Ancoats became a cradle of the Industrial Revolution and was a thriving industrial district before it suffered economic decline and became quite a horrible slum! You can still see bit and pieces of it’s historical past, but you’d have to hurry as Ancoats is being turned into a gentrified Quarter of horrible glass and steel!

4.  See the home of one of North England’s most famous writer
Once the home of famous novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, the building – Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is now open to the public, exhibiting her old kitchen, servant’s hall, a tea room, and beautiful recreated gardens.

5.  Learn about Manchester’s industrial past
The Museum of Science and Industry is one of my favourite museums and is based on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world! As you know, I really like museums but most importantly, it’s completely free of charge, so why shouldn’t you visit?

Walter Greenhalgh in Tudor costume at Ordsall Hall – Manchester

6.  Travel through time
Ordsall Hall is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture. Dating back to 1340, Ordsall Hall is one of Manchester’s oldest buildings and was built by the Radclyffes, an influential local family with close links to the monarchy! And certainly, when I was a young girl I never forgot the importance of Tudor and Stuart! Oh, and it doesn’t cost a penny!

7.  Explore Art!
The Manchester Art Gallery is an amazing gallery that houses a huge collection of paintings, craft and design, and early 20th Century British art. Entry is free!

8.  Imagine life during WWII
Be a modern day Doctor Who and wander through time via the original tunnels from the Stockport air raid shelters used during 1940 Wartime Britain. Opened in 1939, the shelters were the largest purpose-built civilian air raid shelters in the country, and provided shelter for up to 6,500 people!

9.  Visit one of England’s finest Grade II listed buildings
One of the finest pieces of architecture is the Manchester Central Library. With it’s original historic features, cutting-edge design, impressive Wolfson Reading Room, as well as a fascinating collection of reading material, as a young girl, it inspired in me a love of dusty books!

10.  Hail the Suffragettes!
The Pankhurst Centre was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family, who led the Suffragette campaign for Votes for Women & the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, and is a must visit for anyone interested in political history at the turn of the 20th century! It’s also free of charge!

Buying records in the Northern Quarter is a very good thing!

11.  Stay trendy and cool in the Northern Quarter
Similar to Berlin’s Kreuzberg, the Northern Quarter is one of the most popular places to head to. Situated between Piccadilly and Ancoats, the Northern Quarter retains a unique character and charm, and is Manchester’s urban creative, urban heart and home, to countless independent fashion designers and stores, record shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, street art, and other creative hubs! We spent a little bit of time hanging out here. Note that the Quarter also has the bohemian hippy air of Copenhagen’s Freetown of Christiania!

12.  Lose yourself in music
Since it opened in 1978, Piccadilly Records has become one of the world’s best independent record shops selling a wide variety of musical genres spanning from indie, disco, funk, house, psych and everything in between. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, they’ll tell you where you can!

13.  Rip your jeans at the centre of Manchester’s punk scene!
Manchester was very much a prominent part of the punk scene in the 1970’s where the Buzzcocks, the post-punk band The Fall, and Joy Division used to play before they hit the big time! Occupying a grand old Victorian building is the pub where it all started – Band on the Wall – with a reputation for hosting respected artists from all over the world. Visit, if you want to reveal Manchester’s 20th century music scene!

14.  Take a stroll and do business
Situated in the heart of Manchester, Spinningfields is one of Europe’s most successful urban regeneration projects! It’s the leading regional business quarter in the UK and the centre of Manchester’s corporate community, over 165 world-class financial and commercial services organisations, luxury international fashion brands, restaurants and bars, and over 5.5 million tourists a year!

15.  Be dramatic. Do theatre!
Once the largest trading hall in England, the Royal Exchange Theatre is soaked in history and was a prominent target in the Manchester Blitz in 1940! Today, the Royal Exchange Theatre attracts the very best acting and writing talent to the seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, and is uniquely suspended in the middle of the historic Cotton Exchange, so that each and every seat, is less than nine metres from the circular stage. We went to see a play there and it was remarkable!

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) North – Manchester

16.  Experience the reality of war at the Imperial War Museum North
The Imperial War Museum North (IWM) at Salford Quays was initially established during the First World War! Housed in an iconic aluminium clad building, it represents a globe shattered by conflict and is the first museum in the UK to be designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind, and of course, is free of charge.

17.  Power to the People!
My second favourite museum in Manchester is the People’s History Museum. It’s a national museum that shows the way ordinary people used to live, as well as the history of labour and democracy, in the UK. It’s very interactive and hands on. We visited a few years’ ago, and The Tall Young Gentleman was amazed to see an 1800 telephone that had both a mouth piece and an ear piece. He was so astonished, he didn’t know how to use it!  Absolutely free of charge!

18.  See the oldest library in the world. Probably!
Chetham’s Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world! It’s housed in a building from 1421, and it’s entire collection is deemed to be a national and international treasure!

19.  Visit Whitworth Park Gallery
The Whitworth is a gallery that I remember well as a young girl! It’s located in Whitworth Park, and is now a part of the University of Manchester and exhibits an extensive and eclectic collection of art and design, which is of international significance. It’s free of charge.

20.   Run away to the circus. No! Visit the theatre!
The Lowry represents a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art, as well as events and activities to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike. One of the most familiar childhood places that I remember is that of the Lowry Gallery. The Gallery presents paintings, sculpture and photography, as well as the exhibitions of one of Britain’s best loved artists – LS Lowry.

Party on in Manchester!

21.  Party on!
Housed in a venue built in 1878, The Deaf Institute, is a music hall ballroom with velvet curtains, a domed ceiling, a massive mirror ball, and parrots on the wall! It also hosts live gigs, comedy and club nights for big names in the early stage of their career, as well as craft beers served to rock ’n roll sound tracks!

22.  Listen to live classical music
As one of the BBC’s six performing groups, the BBC Philharmonic offers a wonderful opportunity to experience live classical music at its very best. The BBC Philharmonic gives many concerts, nearly all of which are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, it also appears at the annual BBC Proms. If you’re interested, you can apply for free tickets for concerts in the studio, or purchase tickets for the annual season at Bridgewater Hall.

23.  Experience musical talent at the Hallé
In my younger days, I used to play the clarinet and was a member not only a jazz-like Big Band, but also a symphony orchestra! And one of the places that I delighted in visiting was the Hallé. The Hallé is an 1857 English symphony orchestra that ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles and supports youth choirs, children’s choirs, and youth orchestras, as well as releasing its recordings, on its own record label! It was a huge deal to perform there, and we did!

24.  Listen to music under the Arches! 
It can’t get any more authentic when you dive under the arches along the railway tracks. Gorilla is a mixture of film, comedy, live and club music space. It’s also a little gritty and is one of Manchester’s music haunts. And isn’t that what we all want!

25.  Get it in, at Manchester City FC!
Enjoy an exciting Manchester City Stadium and Club Tour and bask in the pride and heritage of Manchester and it’s very own football team – Manchester City!

Sculptures of football legends, at Manchester United

26.  Kick a ball for Manchester United
Travel to the home of the most successful football club in the world! Book yourself a Manchester United Museum & Stadium Tour, and enhance in the experience of a life-time as a premier league football player and a behind the scenes look at the most recognised football team in the world at Old Trafford!

27.  Be a Viking and throw an axe!
If you’re looking for something different, why not visit the Great Northern Warehouse where Whistle Punks will show you how to throw an axe. Jaaaaaa!

28.  Go to the clouds on the 23rd floor!
The highest point in Manchester is a unique venue on the 23rd floor! Cloud 23 at the Hilton has the most fabulous views of Manchester’s skyline as well as genteel afternoon tea, and elegant cocktails. Dress smartly. Note: Children under 18 are only allowed between 11:00 and 17:00.

29.  Sip gin at the City of Manchester Gin Experience
The City of Manchester Gin Experience is a purpose-built space with a cinema screen and private bar. Take your time and tour the distillery, explore the history, learn about the intriguing history of gin, as well as drinking it. And then top it off by creating your own personalised bottle of gin!

30.  Welcome to Chinatown!
Manchester, twinned with Wuhan in China, has the second largest Chinatown in Britain, and the third largest in Europe! Originally created in the 1970’s as a cultural hub for Chinese families in the north of England, Chinatown is now famed for its restaurants, grocery shops and bakeries, as well as Chinese New Year celebrations which attract thousands of visitors. In 1987, an impressive archway (a paifang) shipped from China – was built!

The original Bury Black Pudding – a breakfast delicacy of the North!

31.  Put your finger in a Bury Black Pudding!
Black Pudding traditionally served with hearty favourites like bacon and fried egg is the ultimate Lancashire delicacy and dates back to 1865! There is an English speciality called Bury Black Puddings! It’s a Bury institution and a must have, when having an English breakfast in the North of England! I’m not a fan myself, but why not give it a try at least once!

32.  Eat street food at a Farmers’ Market
Manchester has a huge number of local food and drink, produce, and Farmers’ Markets, so why not enjoy all that Manchester, and the North of England has to offer!

33.  Sing carols at the Manchester Christmas Market!
Step into winter with a dose of European / British  local food from the number of Christmas Markets scattered around the city. It won’t be traditionally German, but you’ll get food, drinks, wooden gifts, hand-made products and a good sprinkling of glühwein and sausages!

34.  Visit Manchester’s Edwardian Corn Exchange
Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in Manchester’s rich past via the Edwardian Corn Exchange. Bask in the Gothic Quarter and take your senses through the quaint medieval cobbled streets, away from the hustle and bustle of Manchester city centre.

35.  Sip coffee at Pot Kettle Black
Established in 1871, Manchester’s Barton Arcade is an  industrial vintage space that is home to a speciality coffee shop – Pot Kettle Black. We went there for a snack and a few drinks, but sadly, they stopped serving meals at 16:00, and the cakes they had on offer were either filled with nuts, or crammed with chocolate! A beer it is then!

Manchester craft beer – Chorlton Pale Ale –
©thebeerinreview.co.uk

36.  Enjoy craft beer
Manchester has a growing craft beer scene, with more than 80 breweries operating across Manchester! Try the beer, slap someone on the back, and buy a round for the locals!

37.  Laugh your head off!
Located along Deansgate Locks, the Comedy Store Manchester is right in the heart of a popular nightlife spot. Housing a spacious bar and canal-side restaurant as well as an auditorium, this hugely popular venue showcases some of the best comedic talent from around the world building on its impressive heritage from the original London venue, which helped launched the careers of French and Saunders, Jack Dee, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, and Eddie Izzard. We went to one of the performances, and it was pretty alright!

38.  Pub crawl through Deansgate Locks
The Deansgate Locks’ is home to not only the Comedy Store Manchester,  but also ten converted railway arches with six bars, a walkway, and a bridge hanging over a part of the Manchester canal beneath! Not far away is the real Deansgate and also the longest road in the city centre, one of the oldest thoroughfares ,and dating right back to Roman times! Can you imagine that just 30 years ago, many of the gentrified gastro-pubs used to be working men pubs, or packed with underaged kids either wearing tightly ripped jeans and second-hand leather jackets, or listening to the 70’s post-punk music of The Police, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Cure, before the area beame a desolated mess! In fact, when I went back a few years ago, I was shocked at how gentrified Deansgate Locks had become!

39.  Drink at some of Manchester’s finest pubs and ale houses
You wouldn’t be in Manchester if you didn’t have a bevy of good old British pubs, serving real beers and traditional ales. Check out the Peveril of the Peak – one of Manchester’s most celebrated pubs – as the only ‘detached’ pub in Manchester city centre, and it’s distinguished two-tone green tiled exterior. It dates from the early 19th century and is said to be named after a stagecoach that ran from Manchester, across the Pennines. It’s an architectural gem, has original wooden benches, stained glass, etched mirrors and bells. Or perhaps The Briton’s Protection – a historic, grade II listed pub dating back from 1806! As well as serving real ale, it is known for offering a wide range of over 200 whiskies. A real British find!

40.  Be fabulous and glow, at Manchester’s Gay Village
Located just south of Chinatown, along and around Canal Street, the Manchester Gay Village is both a place to party, and a piece of the people’s history. Like New York, London, and Berlin, Manchester is one of the world’s leading gay-friendly cities, so whether you’re part of the LGBT community or just a supporter of the cause, head out to Canal Street and paaarty!

Head to Manchester University!

41.  Head to university!
Manchester is a university town and has over 99,000 students across four universities namely the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Bolton. It’s also home to the University Campus Oldham and the Royal Northern College of Music. Like London and Berlin, Manchester has one of the largest student populations in the UK, and therefore, one of the largest entertainment and nightlife available and very cheap beers!

42.  Shop ’til you drop
Manchester Arndale, otherwise known as the Arndale Centre, or the Arndale, is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, and receives up to 41 million visitors every year! The Arndale was built in the 1970’s but was redeveloped after the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing, making it Europe’s third largest city-centre shopping mall! It’s so worth a visit!

43.  Hop on the train
The best way to explore the North England region is by train! Northerners have a soft spot for heritage trains which can’t really be used for travel, but are a picturesque reminder of how we used to live! One of such, is the East Lancashire Railway. With a history stretching back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the East Lancashire Railway is the steam-powered heart of the Irwell Valley, pumping goods and people around the region for nearly 200 years!

44.  Be a Children’s BBC (CBBC) presenter for a day
The CBBC, otherwise known as Children’s BBC, is the British children’s television strand owned by the BBC and aimed for older children aged from 6 to 12. BBC programming aimed at the under 6-year-old child is broadcast on the CBeebies channel. If you have young children, let them go behind the scenes, join one of the interactive tours, and discover how it feels to be a TV presenter. The CBBC tour lasts about 1.5 hours and is suitable for ages 6 to 11! Note: You can only watch the CBBC videos and games online, if you’re actually in the UK!

45.  Visit a farm!
Set on 70 acres of rolling countryside, the Smithills Open Farm is a family run business, where children can meet and learn about a mixed bag of animals such as goats, cows, pigs and sheep, as well as reptiles, and more unusual species like Burmese pythons. Most animals can also be fed and held!

Hats off!

46.  Hats off!
Hat Works is Stockport’s hat museum! It’s an attraction with two floors of interactive exhibits, taking you on a journey through the history of Stockport’s once thriving hatting industry. At Hat Works, visitors can step back in time and experience the world of hatting from its humble beginnings in the cottage industry, to the mass production of the early 19th century when hat manufacturing was a thriving industry, with over 100 hat factories and businesses in the area. You can even try on a huge collection of hats, or try your hand at making your own! Utterly free of charge!

47.  Go rambling through the country
Manchester isn’t just city centred, but encompasses rural environments too. The Dovestone Reservoir lies at the convergence of the valleys of the Greenfield and Chew Brooks, above the village of Greenfield, on Saddleworth Moor. The reservoir is on the edge of Oldham and the Peak District National Park in the South Pennines, offering several walks amongst picturesque landscapes. The reservoir has its own sailing club, a permanent orienteering course, an extensive network of footpaths, and good links to areas of open access moorland. If you’re looking to ramble in the countryside, go sailing, cycling, orienteering, or horse-riding, then this is the place to do it!

48.  Sail across the oldest man-made canal in the world!
Pack up your troubles nd put it on a barge by river cruising along the historic Bridgewater Canal opened in 1761! The canal flows through Dunham Massey, Sale, Stretford, Barton-upon-Irwell, Old Trafford, Boothstown, Worsley Village, and beyond. Relax in the gentle sounds of Manchester’s most historic waterways, or use Manchester Water Taxis, or a Waxi, to travel around!

49.  Travel for free with the hop-on, hop off bus!
Within the Manchester city centre, you can travel for free! Yes, for free! The Metroshuttle is a free of charge ‘hop on, hop off’ service, linking all of the main rail stations, car parks, shopping districts and business areas. There are three services which operate on circular routes and operate in Manchester city centre (routes 1, 2 and 3), Bolton and Stockport. When in “town”, we also used the metroshuttle, and it’s very efficient. Just look for the bus stop signs dotted around the city centre. Free of charge!

50.  Pop into Greggs for a meatpie
Greggs is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom! It specialises in savoury products such as pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, vanilla slices, and cream finger doughnuts! The first Greggs was opened in 1951 and is generally considered to be primarily based in the North of England. Prices are low and quality is really good for a quick snack. To be candid, you’re not in Manchester if you don’t pop into Greggs for a cheese pasty or a sausage roll!

That’s it for now!

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51 REASONS TO VISIT MANCHESTER. AND MORE!

The beautiful Edwardian Corn Exchange – Manchester.

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself in my original home town, and some of the ideas are inspired by Visit Manchester, absolutely all opinions, and the great times I had in my childhood, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

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

Yippee!

November is going to be exciting!

The Music Producer at Piccadilly Gardens – The Northern Quarter – Manchester

Watch this space!

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51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!
51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!

Have you ever been to Manchester? Do you like black pudding? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

And so it’s here!

The last post that I’ll be writing about Slovenia.

But what a most important post!

It goes without saying that my stay in Slovenia was lovely.

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

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 smashing!

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

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

It was my second time to go to the Balkans, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, and why is that?! Here’s what you missed:

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!

Myself in Ljubljana – 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!

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How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do soooo many things.

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

We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!

We didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

‘Remember how I told you about 51 things to do in Ljubljana? Well, one of those things to do was to eat. Actually, if I’m really honest, about eleven (11) of those points, were connected to food, and here’s why!

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SLOVENIA OR SLOVAKIA!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Honestly speaking, most people have never previously heard of Slovenia.

In fact, most people mix it up with Slovakia! 

Hmm!

A historical castle in Slovakia!

Isn’t Slovenia somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both, surely?

Being a British European means being widely travelled.

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Eek!

Don’t worry.

Breathe!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as a country in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and South-East Europe too!

One of the best types of sausages in Austria – A most wonderful hotdog. In Vienna!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Slovenia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

And this is reflected in it’s food!

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So let’s get started:

WHAT IS SLOVENIAN FOOD?

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

Slovenian food is defined by the diversity of Slovenia’s landscape, climate, history and neighbouring traditions, as well as it’s religions, towns and villages. And each region has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!

In fact, present-day Slovenia is heavily influenced by food from Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary!

The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food. Or even better, indulge yourself on a guided food tour so that you can get inside knowledge from local experts!

We were invited to join the Taste Ljubljana culinary tour as well as lunch, during our daytrip in Kamnik!

I even took part in a tiny TV slot for the Taste Ljubljana Culinary tour, as part of a video about tourism in Ljubljana for Slovenian commercial TV! I’m only in for about 5 seconds. See if you can find me!

And why?

Because food. Yum!

Slovenian sausages & wine, as part of our “Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.”

I adore street food as it’s ultimately the best way to get to the culture of a nation. I’ve been to many countries, and sampled many a nations’ cuisine, and Slovenia was no exception!

The major characteristic they have in common is that they are made from locally produced ingredients.

Most ingredients used in Slovenian food would be:

  • cheese
  • potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • sausages
  • pork
  • fish
  • vegetables
  • beans
  • grapes
  • oils
  • honey

Take a look below:

SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

I could write pages and pages of what Slovenian food consists of and how they make it, but instead, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!

We stayed at the aptly named Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

In order to encourage sustainability and environmental consciousness, we stayed at a very nice hotel aptly named hotel – Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green – located in the heart of the Old Town of Ljubljana, situated in the middle of a leafy park, and mere minutes away from Metelkova City – an abandoned army base and one of the largest, and most successful, urban squats in Europe!

We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms at Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms, and it was enormously comfortable.

We were on the 12th floor and had a fantastic view of Ljubljana from the window, along with a wide desk, a huge wardrobe, an en-suite bathroom, sustainable bathroom shower gel, plenty of fluffy towels, and of course, most importantly, free fast Wi-Fi!

Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

They even had a fridge but sadly, no kettle so that I could make myself a cup of tea!

The service was warm and friendly.

The variety of nationalities visiting the hotel were wonderful, ranging from a tour group of elderly ladies from France, a busload of young Americans travelling with Contiki, and a Bollywood film crew from India!

Prices are from €70.00 per night, including breakfast. For two people, easily €35.00 a pop!

Awesome!

I couldn’t make myself a cup of tea, but the views were fantastic at Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

Book Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green here or here!

But OMG!

Our breakfast was awful!

Eek!

BREAKFAST:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

After the wonderful delights in both Sweden and Croatia, we were so disappointed.

We were looking forward to:

Slovenian home-made bread, butter & milk
Sadly, we got this bland piece of toast!
Although the jam was quite nice!

Sadly, what we got was a bland continental breakfast, that could have been from anywhere.  But if you’re desperate for a cup of tea….

If not, skip it!

Skip breakfast and have lunch instead!

As soon as we told the various Slovenian locals about our breakfast experience, they made it their duty to ensure that from then on, everything we ate, was some of the best, that Slovenia had to offer!

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SNACKS:

If you’re looking for traditional ingredients, you can get everything you need at a local street market!
  • For ultimate excitement, try horse burgers! Yes, horse!

Apparently, horseburgers are very popular in Slovenia!

The very famous horse burger in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

The Tall Young Gentleman was eager to try it so went to the doner and falafel restaurant that specialized in horse burgers, about 5 minutes from our hotel!

It was “quite OK,” and then he had another one! Bought at Šeherezada in Ljubljana. Cost: €4.00

A few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We had a few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese, with olives (yuk!) to start! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €3.00

You can also have:

  • Polenta with cheese
  • Ajvar with Slovenian bread
  • Bacon bread
  • Buckwheat bread or Ajdov kruh
  • Crackling bread or ocvirkovka
  • Pumpkin bread with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and whipped cream
  • Sweet rye bread or razeni kruh
  • Serbian baked beans

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LUNCH:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

We had a mass of delightful lunches, while we were in Slovenia, and the highlight in my opinion was the gourmet lunch on the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle wall!

There weren’t any prices on the board, but it’s Eastern-Central Europe, how bad could it be? The food was fantastic and the service attentive, so we decided to spend the rest of our money!

A delicate crispy white, cracker, a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A foamy cream sauce, with herbs in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We both had a delicate starter of a sort of crispy white, cracker, a foamy cream sauce, and a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals. It was made especially for us ‘cos of my nut allergy, so isn’t on the menu! It was delicious and light. Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.00
Venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry & spruce buds in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • I had the venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry and spruce buds! It was most delightful! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €28.00
Boar, mushrooms, and grapefruit in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We shared a platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €10.00
I absolutely adore anything to do with water!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

A few days later we went on a daytrip to Lake Bled!

All around us were people noshing on the Original Bled Cream Cake, but we were starving, so we had a proper lunch instead!

A platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese at Lake Bled – Slovenia!
  • I had the platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese and olives. Without the olives! It was very nice and the view over Lake Bled and the Julian Alps was stunning. But the service was slow! Bought at the Hotel Park restaurant at Lake Bled. Cost: €13.90
Pasta with chicken and young spinach at Lake Bled – Slovenia!

One of the great things about being a respectable travel lifestyle expat blogger is that you get invited to many things! As a result, we were guests of Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.

Some of the things we had were:

You can’t go wrong with sausages, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Klobasa sausage – You really can’t go wrong with a traditional Slovenian sausage, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun. Yum! We were invited to a complimentary lunch via Klobasarna. Retail price: €3.50. Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!
Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears via Vodnikov Hram. Retail price €19.50. Food tour all-inclusive
Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer. They had to make something different for me ‘cos of my nut allergy, so I can’t remember what everybody else had. Sorry! It was a very nice place though, via Druga Violina. Retail price competitive! Food tour all-inclusive. With beer!
Fried chicken with garnish and remoulade sauce in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Fried chicken with garnish. Notice the remoulade sauce! It was a fancy restaurant via Restavracija Romansa 1971. Retail price: No idea! I couldn’t find the menu in English! Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!

You can also try:

  • Burek
  • Boiled beef tongue
  • Ljubljana cottage cheese pancakes with tarragon
  • Klobasa sausage and Kisod Zelje sauerkraut
  • Dandelion Salad
  • Sour turnip soup or jota

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DINNER:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

For dinner, we always strive to patronise interesting traditional-inspired restaurants. For this, we don’t scrimp, but use the opportunity to sample all that is good in Slovenian cuisine.

I have to tell you. Pretty much every evening meal that we had, was a win!

On our very first evening, we strolled around, and less than 10 minutes, we found a long narrow street with table after table outdoors. We managed to nab a table for two and opted for a lovely restaurant a few minutes away from Dragon Bridge!

I was a bit nervous, as the menu seemed to be centred on beef, and although I’m not a vegetarian or vegan for that matter, I’m not fond of beef at restaurants!

I wasn’t to worry as the meat used is free-range and grass-fed, the staff were great, and attentive, and made sure that our platters were delicate, and not in the least chewy!

And you know what?

I was astounded and most impressed!

Just look at this lovely meat platter in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
And this lovely meat platter in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
And this succulent piece of meat, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We shared the meat platter. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €12.50
A platter of pork chops in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • And then we shared a platter of pork chops with squares of creamy butter, paprika, and shallots. Yum! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €15.00
We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaaaazing!

A highlight of traditional Slovenian food were the meals that we had in Kamnik!

After our hiking adventure at the Velika Planina and in the valley of the Kamniska Bistrica, we had quite a large appetite for a traditional meal, and boy were we given the red carpet.

We were taken to the family-run inn & restaurant Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, where home-cooked meals are made the traditional way, and had a chat with the owner and chef – Janez Uršič – who was delighted to have us as his guest!

The food was absolutely fantastic!

Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs & spices in Kamnik – Slovenia!
Soup with a dumpling in it, garnished with petals, in Kamnik – Slovenia!
Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, and probably veal in Kamnik – Slovenia!
  • Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs and spices, soup with some sort of dumpling in it, garnished with vegetables and petals, and Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, bacon, probably veal (but I can’t remember), broccoli, and a creamy sauce!

We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!

You can also have:

Eating frogs – Slovenia – a basic guide to food!
  • Frog legs
  • Palacinke – thin pancakes filled with nuts or jam and topped with chocolate
  • Potato dumplings  or njoki
  • Jota  – a meat and vegetable stew
  • Black or blood pudding
  • Klobasa sausages
Slovenia – a basic guide to food!
  • Seasoned venison with smoked bacon and huckleberries
  • Sweet and sour boar, with prunes, chocolate and red wine
  • Zavitek or strudels
  • Goulash or golaz
  • Buckwheat porridge
  • Slovenian sour pork kidney served with vinegar, sour cream and bacon
  • Ox tail
  • Tripe served with mint, cheese and bacon
Baked potatoes with cheese, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Baked potatoes with cheese. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €1.00

Oh yeah!

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SEAFOOD:

Our seafood meal in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

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!

And since we spent a huge amount of time on Lake Bled and Ljubljana, it seemed only prudent that we try out the seafood.

We chose our seafood meals at a restaurant on the river-side. We practically found it by accident, but once you poke in and out of the various bridges in the Old Town, you’ll find it directly below the Triple Bridge, facing the Central Market!

Fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast & a side salad in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • I ordered the Seaman Plate which consisted of fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast, and a side salad. I was really looking forward to some seafood, but I didn’t really like it! Bought at the Okrepčevalnica Ribca or Fish Restaurant Ribca in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.60
Bass fillet, bacon, baked potatoes & rucola in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
We chose our seafood meals on the river-side, but neither of us really liked our meal! We probably should have ordered frog legs instead!

You can also have:

  • Seafood pasta salad
  • Crabmeat and broccoli

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DESSERT:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Dessert in Slovenia was pretty wonderful. I had to watch out here and there, ‘cos of the nut factor, but I was able to have about 75%!

If you’re on a diet, forget it, and indulge!

Štrukli wth cream, raspberries & raspberry compote in Kamnik – Slovenia!
  • Štrukli (I think!) with cream, raspberries & raspberry compote. OMG. So delish! We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaaazing!
  • Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries. We were invited to a complimentary lunch in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
Lake Bled cream cake in Slovenia!
© 2017 Rear View Mirror
Walnut and raisin potica cake with a digestif liquor! I couldn’t eat it of course, as it had almonds in it!
  • Walnut and raisin potica cake – One of the other famous cakes in Slovenia. Of course, I couldn’t eat it, as it had almonds in it! We were introduced to ours as part of the food tour which I’ve already discussed above, via Kavarna Nebotičnik (Skyscraper) building. It was a really cool place and great for a nightcap! Retail price: €2.00 – €4.00. Food tour all-inclusive. With a digestif liquor!

You can also try:

  • Gibanica – a layer cake with cottage cheese, walnuts, poppy seeds, and apples
  • Jabolcni zavitek  – a type of apple pastry
  • Siroy zavitek  – a type of cheese and raisin pastry
  • Upside down pie
  • Blue lagoon cake or torta plava laguna filled with hazelnuts, almonds and breadcrumbs
  • Waffles
The Tall Young Gentleman & his almond-covered ice-cream in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
Having a most scrumptious ice-cream at the Triple Bridge!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
The first thing we opted for at Lake Bled – Slovenia, was an ice-cream, and then we had another on the way back!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
  • Who doesn’t like ice cream?!!

I’m always having to be careful ‘cos of the liberal sprinkling of nuts that I seem to see everywhere these days, and the combination of chocolate! The former ‘cos I have a nut allergy, and the latter ‘cos I don’t like chocolate!

The huge portions above were bought at this really lovely place on the riverside, opposite the Central Market in Ljubljana. They were so huge that I  couldn’t finish mine, so they packed it for me in a box! Bought at – Kavarna Cacao. Cost €6.40 and €7.60 respectively.

The others were bought at little ice-cream shops in Ljubljana and at Lake Bled. Cost: About €2.00, depending on toppings! Yum!

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DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:

Ice cream in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

The food culture in Slovenia, as in many other Mediterranean States is that of outdoor, al fresco dining. The weather generally tends to be warm and summery, and the lifestyle in the country tends to be more relaxed.

You can, and should, take little breaks, have a snack, or a drink. The cost is relatively peanuts, and the quality is great.

So why shouldn’t you indulge?

A glass of wine taken in the Old Town, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A delicious mug of cold craft beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

Here’s a most delicious mug of cold craft beer! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €2.50

My gin cocktail in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

p.s. Don’t forget to hang out with the locals! We had such a great time with our guides, that we went out for drinks one night, and met other locals! Thanks Urban. Good times!

Note: Taste Ljubljana Culinary Tour includes tour guidance, the tasting of five traditional dishes, the tasting of five different drinks, and a digestif. Each participant also receives a brochure containing recipes for typical Ljubljana dishes, and a small gift.

Cost: €38.00 for adults, €28.00 for children up to 12. €0.00 for children under 2!

Wow!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel!

SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

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

I’ve got plans for Autumn.

Find out next week!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

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!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Have you ever had Slovenian food? Would you try a horse burger or boiled beef tongue? 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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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!

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!

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Thanks a million!

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!

See you in Berlin.

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