Pannonia Family Experience
Checking the weather forecast and deciding to visit eastern part of Slovenia. “Crowds are heading to the west, so let’s explore eastern Slovenia this time”. I briefly made a plan what to see and do in Pannonian part of Slovenia. Let the adventure starts!
On Pohorje hill with a cable car
It was 1st of May holidays and thanks to our friend from Maribor he suggested we visit Pohorje with a cable car. Plenty of locals decided to attend 1st May gathering on Pohorje and city buses were quite crowded. Truly it was perfect weather for spending time outdoors. Those with more stamina can hike Pohorje hill on one of many well-signed hiking trails. Pohorje hill is also a paradise for mountain bikers, adrenaline junkies, skiers and foodies as well.
Pohorje cuisine at Mariborska lodge was a blast. We tasted Pohorje pisker (meat and vegetable stew) and Pohorje layer cake.
This was our 3rd time we visited heart-shaped road. According to posted images on social medias (especially on Instagram!), the place is getting more and more popular. The sign (“If you are not the guest of Dreisiebner farmstay, the entrance fee costs 2 EUR/person) explains it. Well, we didn’t pay an entrance fee, but we took a glass of locally produced wine and admire the landscape which is amazing.
Staying at Firbas Farmstay
Afternoon sun was still shining, Lucija was tired enough after spending the whole day outside so she was sleeping in the car eventhough we were driving on a windy road before arriving at Firbas farmstay. “What a peaceful spot. We were fortunate to get the last room at Firbas farmstay!” I said to Robi while I was standing close to the fence where 3 cows, 2 horses and a flock of sheep were grazing grass and enjoying some moments in peace while waiting for Lucija to wake up. We felt very welcomed from the first moment.
We were nicely greeted by Alojz, the master of William pear liquer, his son Bojan who took over Firbas farmstay and his wife Marjana, a chef who is taking care of local cuisine.
Firbas Farmstay, family friendly accomoodation, lies on the edge of the wine region of Slovenske Gorice and it is a perfect stop for cyclists, walkers, families with children and foodies in particular. A huge pear (it was a gift prepared by Bojan’s friends when he turned 30) is standing in a spacious courtyard where the meals can be served and it is a great place for socializing with friends and other guests as well.
The farm is self-sufficient which means that most of goods you find on your plate or in your glass derives from the Firbas farm and its neigbours. “Except the rise, we bought it at the supermarket.” Bojan told us while he was serving the dinner (beef soup with *vlivanci* (poured egg-batter noodles), rice with pork fillet, apple strudl) which we pair it with homemade white wine and pear juice. Lucija was especially keen on Bojan and called him “Uncle, uncle.” because he was the one who was dealing with food. And Lucija loves eating. She loves food!
At Firbas farmstay where you can rent ebikes (there are 9 of them!), play volleyball, swim in newly opened swimming pool, sunbath on wooden chairs under the shade of 400 peach trees, participate in everyday’s farm life, you can spend a night in simply decorated rooms with 2/3/4 beds, apartments, glamping cottages or even in a hay barn.
“We do not have a proper playground with swings, slides and merry-go-round for kids because the whole farmstay is a playground itself.” stated Alojz and continues that kids love being involved in farm life and invited us to a farm tour next morning at 9am.
At Firbas Farmstay hospitality goes hand in hand with tradition.
Freshly prepared elder herbal tea was so tempting in the morning that we started our breakfast before 8am. A table was covered with homemade goodies (homemade fresh cheese, butter and sour milk, 4 types of spreads, 4 types of jams, 4 types of salamis, 2 types of freshly baked bread, freshly fried eggs, pear and apple juice). Lucija was enjoying the breakfast so much that she asked me to fill her glass with pear juice 5 times (and the whole bottle was empty!).
Alojz started a tour around the farmstay and you could see from the first moment his enthusiasm for the countryside, farm work and heritage that is passed on from one generation to another.
Stepping into Štübl, packed with homemade pear juices and jams, was like traveling into the past where old doors, radio and wooden kitchen equipment were placed.
The Firbas house is registered in the network of European houses with tradition. View over vegetable and herbal garden, pear orchards and vineyard reminds us how difficult countryside life can be if you rely only on nature. “Old fountain is still ful of running water.” and a huge amount of fresh water falls down on a dry stone. In the Veštat which used to be Alojz grandfather’s working place (he was a carpenter) you can admire old farm tools and equipment.
The most joyful moment for kids was definitely when we enter a newly built stall. Alojz gave us fresh picked grass and some corn seeds so we could feed rabbits, sheep, cows, horses, goats and chicken. Lucija was enjoying observing the animals and she was not afraid to touch them gently.
“Hens are very lazy these days and we do not get much eggs. Well, they provided enough for the breakfast. Check if there are some eggs in the box below?” asked Alojz and Lucija took an egg and put it immediately into her mouth.
The highlight of the whole tour was a ride around Cogetinci village with 60 and something years old green tractor.
From Firbas farmstay you can walk to Negova lake, cycle to Negova castle, enjoy in many thermal spas around, attend Gourmet Over Mura Experience, unique culinary treat where you can taste excellent local delights provided at 7 gourmet stops (Kodila, Firbas farmstay, Marof winery, Kocbek pumpkin seed oil, Styer winery, Bevog craft brewery, restaurant Rajh). It is an excellent starting point for exploring gourmet Pannonian Slovenia. Check my blog post about Eating your Way Through Prekmurje region here.
We spent the afternoon in the surrounding area of Lendava taking photos of yellow fields covered with rapeseed and green vineyards with grape leafs starting to grow.
From almost 54 meters high Vinarium tower picturesque hilly and lowland landscape of 4 countries at once (Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Austria) is lying in front of you. Walk up 240 stairs or take a comfortable ride with an elevator and you will be awarded by remarkable view.
The shape of the tower represents a basket and symbolize a coexistence of 4 different nations (Slovenian, Hungarians, Croatians, Roma people). More than 340,000 people visited Lendava tower since it was completed in 2016.
9am to 9pm (May, June, July, August)
10am to 8am (April, September)
10am to 7pm (March, October)
10am to 5pm (November, December, January, February; every day except Mondays)
Price ticket: 7 EUR (adults), 5 EUR (groups with more than 15 people, seniors, students, children between 6-18 years old), 14 EUR (family ticket).
Even though we had only 2 days we managed to visit so many things and at the end while looking on the car counter we realized we drove 650 kilometers in total!
I visited Pannonia by invitation from Firbas Farmstay. They want to promote farmstay and experience among foreign visitors in Slovenia as well.