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June 2018

We are the Cornelly family originally from West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom but we now live in Slovenia. To introduce ourselves our names are Alison and Billy and our grandchildren Rene and Rubie who are aged 12 and 11 years old. We were very lucky to be asked by Radio Si to visit the town of Slovenj Gradec and we were sent the two-day itinerary which gave us an idea of the events that were planned for us. We left our home in in Slovenia to drive the one-and-a half hour drive to Slovenj Gradec to meet Maria Lah at the tourist information office, and we then went for a coffee at the bar across the road to discuss our planned two days. We began our first day with a tour of the two beautiful churches of St Elizabeth who was renowned for her charitable works within the area. Maria explained to us that the town of Slovenj Gradec and areas around it, dates back to medieval times, and showed us the outlined wall that marked the city walls. Maria was a mine of historical information about the age of the town and how it had many artisan and merchants whose  collections had helped preserve the culture and history of the town and our girls were especially enthralled by the old history of the first smaller church of St Elizabeth. On our way out, Maria introduced us to the priest.

It was time for a drink and as English tea lovers Maria took us to a quaint tea shop called Čajnica Pec that specialise in different flavour tea, that had names that marked the flavour and was presented in a way that was especially enjoyable in the relaxing hip courtyard. Our next tour was of the history museum and art gallery and we were past into the capable hands of our guide Alexandra to hear about the heritage and history of the collections on display. It was then time for delicious lunch at the Ančka restaurant by Maria who explained the recent renovation of the new business in the town centre, and we all agreed the meal was excellent.

As we strolled through the town Maria pointed out various art and monuments to us and the history behind it such as the water statue and we had many photo opportunities. One of the highlights was a visit to the Perger 1757 family business where we met Lucian. Who invited us to tour the shop and sample the delicious honey bread and sweets. He explained to us the history behind the family business how the honey bread and famous infinity candles were made. We couldn’t resist purchasing candles and also some sweet things for the girls knowing they had natural flavours with no preservatives.

The last visit of the day was to the historical church of St George at Legen and we were introduced to guide Saša who asked us to wear slippers over our  shoes to enter the church. Saša then explained the history of the church and the archaeological finds of graves during the renovation of the church floor. These remains are now protected by a re-enforced glass floor and the lighting underneath allows you to see the remains thought to be the mainly female inhabitants of Vodriž castle. Maria then took us to our overnight accommodation a short drive from the town at Golavabuka to the Lešnik tourist farm owned by Irma and Albert Javornik. Were we found a very warm welcome of drinks and snacks, all homemade juice for the girls. We arranged a time for our evening meal and were shown to our accommodation. This was a brand- new build of 4 and two bedded apartments and Irma showed us around the facilities including a ground floor apartment adapted for disabled people with wheelchair access. It was all done in good taste bring the old and new together without spoiling the heritage or history of the buildings. Each apartment was named after trees in Slovenia and furnished inside with the tasteful modern furniture from the tree it was named after. We enjoyed a lovely three course evening meal of two selections of homemade soup and one with knedelčki which we really enjoyed. A large selection of homemade breads and hot meats and vegetables. With strudel to finish. Albert makes wooden toys and puzzles and we were kept very mind boggling entertained by the puzzles during the evening. After a comfortable night’s sleep, we had a quick tour of the beehive and Albert showed us how he collects and produces the two different types of honey, one from flowers and a darker one from the forest trees. Breakfast at the farmhouse cereal and a selection of Slovenian meats cheese bread and amazing home-produced honey that they girls really enjoyed knowing where it came from. Again, we left with a few purchases for home of fresh honey and dried Salami.

We met Maria in the town centre of Slovenj Gradec where the medieval festival was being held. Everyone was dressed the part and Maria took us to the stall where we hired medieval clothing, this was something the grandchildren very wanted to experience, and we were happy to join in too as it was very authentic and made us feel part of the day. Rene and Rubie enjoyed the archery stall going back a few times after Rubie hit the bullseye. The stalls consisted of local arts and crafts like the local blacksmiths. We spent the day relaxing and enjoying the shows and displays available. Finishing the day with popular family vote for another visit for a late lunch at the Ančka restaurant. We all agreed that we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Slovenj Gradec and would recommend it as a very friendly place to visit and experience the heritage and culture available.

We will definitely visit again in the future.

Cornelly family

Photos: Cornelly family