Western Slovenia plateaus experience
It was raining dogs and cats but I still decided to hit the road and explore charming Western Slovenia plateaus. I briefly made a plan what to see and do in the neighborhood of Flander farmstay. Let the adventure starts!
Explore Šebrelje plateau
Driving on a zig-zag steep but well-maintained asphalt road for about 5 kilometers I finally arrived at Šebreljska plateau. Šebrelje village (650 meters above sea level) is quite and a barely see any villagers. What brought me to Šebrelje village, is a desire to taste Šebrelje stuffed pork stomach (you can find it only in specific shops of western part of Slovenia!) that has more than 200 years long tradition of making this delicacy. Oval shaped Šebrelje stuffed pork stomach is the first Slovene food product with protected geographical indication at the national and EU level.
Drago, a local producer of Šebrelje stuffed pork stomach and other dried meat products (salami, sausages for cooking, dried and smoked sausages), greeted me with a smile and invited me into his “temple” where he hosts tastings. Šebrelje stuffed pork stomach with its distinctiveness in high-quality pork meat, spices, and special climate conditions used for drying and maturing, is recognized delicacy among gourmands from all around the globe. While tasting quality meat products, Drago called a local guide Štefan who guided me to Divje babe babe archaeological site.
We parked our car close to St. Ivan’s church which is believed to be the most powerful energy point in Slovenia. From the top I admired flat areas, ravines, dense forests, high mountains and remote villages up in the hills.
After 15 minutes descending from the Šebrelje plateau on a steep and rocky slope and walking 330 stairs, we arrived to the Divje babe cave. Divje babe multi-layered archaeological site (ranging from 35,000 to 116,000 years) is one of the most important Paleolithic sites in Slovenia. Bones from more than 60 different animal types, stone, bone tools and remains of fire pits were found here. Believe it or not, from the cave archaeologists transported 2 tons of bones of the cave bears. While touring around the cave, you can still spot many bones.
In 1995 during the excavations 55.000 years old Neanderthal flute was found. It was made out of cave bear femur. Neanderthal was a fully developed spiritual being and capable of artistic creation. This is considered to be the oldest musical instrument in the world which can be seen at the National Museum in Ljubljana.
The instrument with spacing of the holes allows a wide range of sounds and melodic movement. Listen to the music of Neanderthal flute played by Ljuben Dimkaroski here.
Prearranged visits can be done between 1st April and 31st October.
Price for a guided tour: 30 EUR (up to 10 people).
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spend a night at Flander farmstay
High above Bača ravine you will find Zakojca village where Flander farmstay is located. Zakojca lies on the edge of the Primorska region surrounded by forests, ravines, pastures, fields and pear orchards (they are more than 200 years old!). Here sub-alpine hills meet the Alps. I arrived at Flander farmstay late in the afternoon.
It was cold and windy afternoon but I still grabbed a chance and walked through the village. I admired an old fruit drying plant and the cattle grazing the grass on the neighboring meadows when Katarina kindly led me to the homestead of the Slovenian children’s writer France Bevk.
300 years old Flander farmstay is sustainable running farm producing homemade food stuffs like fruit juices, vegetables, potatoes, different kind of meat products (prosciutto, stuffed pig’s stomach salami, minced lard spread), homemade bread and other delicacies. Marija is taking care of the kitchen while Katarina is serving food, managing the reservations and cleaning the rooms. “There are 36-38 windows in our farmstay so tomorrow I am planning to plant the flowers and decorate the windows.” proudly stated Marija and brought me a glass of apple juice. It was so tasty. Vencelj and Marko are busy dealing with animals and fields. Flander farmstay is a perfect spot for hiking the mountains of Porezen, Kojca, Črna Prst or Rodica, horse riding and MTB cycling.
Before the dinner arrived, I made a toast with blueberry liquer and indulged my taste buds with homebaked bread topped with minced lard and stuffed pig’s stomach salami while a dog Bela was sitting close to me and licking my hand. I didn’t mind at all! Even though I was the only guest that day, the dinner was prepared very well. I started with a mushroom soup served in a clay pot plate, continued with Idrija žlikrofi covered with pork fat cracklings and a fresh salad with eggs, and finished an evening meal with štruklji dessert filled with walnuts. And yes, I forgot to add. I drank home prepared apple juice and elder flower juice. Njami! I could easily fall asleep in a stylishly equipped 2-bed room with a view of the mountains while listening to the birds singing.
Flander farmstay offers 4 rooms with 2 beds and 2 rooms with 1 bed which are named after neighboring hills that (Porezen, Črna Prst, Otavnik, Obloška gora, Rovt, Kojca).
Quietness, unspoiled nature, chit-chating with a local family and their hospitality and generosity in this rural area above Bača river made my day which I will never forget.
For the breakfast I tantalized my taste buds with homebaked bread, fried egg, Tolmin cheese, salami and prosciutto, fresh butter, jams and honey, yogurt, apple juice, muesli and walnuts. I warmed myself with a herbal tea before hitting the road to Šentviška plateau.
I would like to visit Flander farmstay again in the autumn time in order to visit Zakojca ravine with Katarina. Hopefully she will time then.
Discover Šentviška plateau
The morning was chilly. After saying good bye to a lovely family and taking some morning photos, I took another road to Šentviška plateau high between 600 and 900 meters. 2 deers and a forest rabbit crossed my path. Nobody else was on a road. Steep windy road led me to prealpine Šentviška plateau which is nestled between Idrijca river, Bača ravine and Cerkno hills. Scenic plateau where 700 people are dealing with farming, cattle breeding and fruit growing boasts more than 40 kilometers of marked cycling paths, hiking routes, sinkholes and exceptional ethnological gems. Wooden granary in Pečine dating back in 1778 is one of them. The granary was used for food storage (rye, barley, buckwheat, oats, wheat, seeds and dried meat products).
Under the village of Daber admire a mill and a sawmill in Nart. Inventive locals who designed metal pipes and the mill wheel from the remaining of WW1 weapons.
In Ponikve village you can find one of the last masterpieces of Slovenia and world famous architect Jože Plečnik. He rebuilt St. Mary Church while combining elements of the former church with contemporary solutions. The church was burned down by German troops during WW2 who destroyed everything except the altar statue and the shrine of the Holy Sepulcher. The church was declared a cultural monument.
Key for St. Mary church can be found at Ponikve number 38 (00386 5 380 9619).
Šentviška plateau is a venue of Gora Rocka music festival that is taking place in June.
I wish the weather would be sunny in order to sit on the colorful meadows but I already decided to come back and to do some hikes in the area anyway.
Need accommodation above Idrijca and Bača rivers? Check Apartment Zver, Gostišče Brišar, Holiday House Pri Kuštrču, Holiday House Mrak, Apartment among the mountains, Vila Melhiorca, Apartmaji Pr’Gujlu, Apartment Blaž.