I am Simone Michielen and on this warm and sunny day I went with my Dutch friend Wilma to Škofja Loka. An early start, but it was a joy to begin with a coffee at Homan, in the heart of the old town.
Škofja Loka is small but impressive! After our wake-up coffees we were welcomed at the DUO arts & Crafts centre by Petra, who still does a traditional craft, making moulds for honey bread cookies. Not the right word, but that is how we called it…
We were allowed to use these perfectly cut moulds and make beautiful shaped cookies. They didn’t only look good, they also tasted delicious. Petra showed us how to cut the moulds and by trying ourselves we found out that you need a lot of practice to become as good as she is!
Mirjam, our local guide with a lot of knowledge about history and local stories walked with us around medieval Škofja Loka and took us back in time. The upper terrace where the rich and famous lived, the lower terrace for the “normal” people and the devil’s footbridge where a severe accident took place in history, it all came to live by Mirjam’s stories. Lesson learned: Don’t think you’re more than anybody else in Škofja Loka, you might fall of the bridge…
We were very happy to follow the red thread in our story and went to the local homestead and bee keepers where we walked the path of bee keeping and honey making. The guide and passionate bee keeper explained us about the process and showed how bee keeping evolved over the years. The signs on the path were very clear and made it possible to walk this trail also by yourself, but we enjoyed the company and the extra details a lot. For me food is important –what’s new? and luckily we also had a chance to taste the different kinds of honey. I learned that certain honeys are only available after plants blossom. Yes, I am blond.
On our way further on to the countryside, we were so happy to visit my future home, Tavčar Manor in Visoko. They even gave me the key! What a beautiful manor, in a beautiful park. Still renovating, but we could already see the pearl that will come out of this shell. Worth a visit, but take your loved one, a blanket, picnic basket and a bottle of rose with you. It is the perfect place for an old fashioned romantic picnic on the grass.
Lunchtime! We were invited for lunch in Stara Loka, to enjoy some traditional food at gostilna Starman. The day got warmer, but on the terrace with the roof it was perfect to enjoy both food and company. We chose some traditional dishes from the menu and of course, big portions in Slovenia! Almost too much for a hot summer day.
After our late lunch we were taken to Želizniki, an old town known for iron and nails. What a warm welcome! We were tired, but Katja adjusted the walk a bit and she got our interest with her enthusiastic story about the history of the town and the families who lived there. And what a beautiful town it is! We loved how peaceful it was, and how well it was preserved. We sat at a traditional melting oven opposite of the museum for a while to hear some more stories and went to meet Matej, a blacksmith who introduced us to the world of shaping iron. Which looks so simple, but is in fact quite hard. Even a simple nail took us ages, as in the old days people had to make (when they were really good) 1000 per day. A hard life in a beautiful town and surrounded by a stunning landscape, absolutely worth a visit!
We were impressed! By the beauty of everything we saw and visited, but maybe even more by the friendliness of our hosts and people. It is wonderful to feel this welcome as a tourist. Even my little dog had a great time and we stayed a lot longer in Želizniki than planned, enjoying some drinks and food with our hosts!
Text and photos: Simone Michielen