By Deeba Salim Irfan:
It is said, Slovenia – Is an unexpected Revelation. I found this to be absolutely true. Before I tell you more about Slovenia, tell me what kind of a traveler are you? Are you an easy-going traveler, or are you a perfectionist? Do you like to be surprised, or do you plan everything in advance?
I am a writer and an incurable wanderlust. Most often, I like to travel to write, besides, of course, the warm and memorable family holidays. I am a perfectionist and plan everything down to the minutest detail well in advance, and that is why my itineraries are much sought after by people who know me.
But when I travel alone, I like to be surprised. I want to have new experiences. I like to get inspired. That is what fuels the creative nerd in me and sets the creativity ablaze. I crave that. That is what I live for. Rest everything else, is vital to my being. This nomadic glint is essential to my soul.
Writer’s Retreats are such escapes for me. Roughly structured, but mostly unstructured and one goes with quite an open mind not knowing what learning and enriching experiences one will return with.
I would like to share about my trip to Slovenia in 2017. It was one of the memorable trips as it gave me a blend of both – time with family and time alone. I had clubbed the first part of my holiday with a family with the writer’s retreat I curated in Slovenia.
We drove into Kranjska Gora from Vienna (4 hours drive). I absolutely love to drive through Europe. In fact, I like to drive on all our holidays. Get to feel the pulse of the country. Get to see the countryside. We stop at scenic places for tea and savories (Haldiram) that we always pack with us.
From Kranjska Gora we drove an hour to our hotel adjacent to Lake Bled, an incredibly scenic and compact lake. The Lake has a tiny island with a church. We had a memorable dinner in the castle towering the Lake Bled with absolutely stunning views.
Next day we spent time in that area – so we drove half an hour to Lake Bohinj. Spent some time and then took the cable car for the glorious setting and spectacular panoramas that made our trip up Mt. Vogel absolutely worth it.
Next day we drove 4 km from Bled to Vintgar Gorge. This is also an absolute must-visit. The highlight is a 1600m wooden walkway through the gorge, built-in 1893 and continually rebuilt since. It crisscrosses the swirling Radovna River four times over rapids, waterfalls, and pools before reaching 16m-high Šum Waterfall. The entire walk is spectacular, although it can get pretty wet and slippery.
I fell in love with their traditional dessert – Prekmurska Double Pie, stuffed with poppy, nuts, apples, raisins, and curd. Absolutely delicious and I would attribute a couple of my extra kilos to Prekmurska bingeing. Yet, I can’t wait to go back for this again
After I spent the family time, it was time for the Slovenia Writer’s Retreat I had curated at Eco resort, Veliko Planino which consists of modern individual huts made with an untreated wood-a replica of traditional herdsmen’s huts.
The location was an hour’s drive from Bled and half an hour drive from the capital, Ljubljana. After the retreat, I headed straight back home. So, on my last trip, I didn’t enjoy the capital, which I will enjoy on my next trip.
The resort is approx. 4 km from the cable car station to Velika Planina plateau. One of Europe’s few surviving high mountain herdsmen’s villages-Veliko Planino where traditional Alpine Herdsmen’s culture is still alive. An absolutely scenic high mountain plateau, part of Kamnik-Savinja Alps and is famous for its stunning beauty.
We stayed for three nights, writing and crafting our pieces, ideating, and engaging in inspiring conversations amongst ourselves and with local artists.
We took the cable car up to the plateau. At the top, we walked the pristine fields, drank in the views, and admired a herding and dairy economy that has hardly changed for hundreds of years. It’s an absolute treat.
I held a session on the pastures near a lake before taking the cable car back to the resort.
All our huts were equipped with a kitchenette and sitting area, however since the weather was good, most dinners were out in the open.
I am sure whoever would join us on our next Writer’s Retreat in Slovenia, is bound to return with a lifetime of memories and a bagful of learning.
Fun Facts about Slovenia:
- There are still over 400 Brown Bears in Slovenia and a whole lot of forest for them to hide in. In fact, 60% of Slovenia is forested.
- Eye contact means a lot to the average Slovenian. When greeting and shaking hands, eye contact is maintained all through.
Author: Deeba Salim Irfan
Author of this article is the curator of the unique Kangra Valley Writer’s Retreat open to 10 serious writers (Struggler/Advanced), in the Himalayas for 3N4D (22–25 Nov.). On this retreat, writers get one-on-one feedback from Sr. Commissioning Editor of Penguin India, they get to do creative meditation, attend few literary interactions, and get six dedicated hours a day to write. To know more, write on – firstname.lastname@example.org
Deeba is an Author (Women Fiction – ‘URMA’ and upcoming ‘355 Days’ & a poet – award-winning ‘Charcoal Blush’) and Founder of TheWriteScene.com, a portal for writers. She is also a brand expert and headed an Ad. Agency in Dubai before throwing up the corporate life to follow her passion for writing and travel. http://www.deebasalimirfan.com
Instagram: DeebzIrfan Facebook: @AuthorDeeba
(Views expressed and experiences shared by the writer are his/her own and He/She is liable for the same. It is not essential for the moderator to agree with the views and experiences)