Climbing Mt. Begunjščica in harsh winter conditions

IN Adventure , Karavanke , Karawanks , mountaineering , mountains , Winter , Winter climbing

{A disclaimer for the wise: conditions in the mountains can change very quickly, therefore plan your climb accordingly; read about the planned route, check the avalanche reports, the amount of snow in the mountains, and reports about the temperature and wind changes, consult with mountain guides and local climbers,…}

A few weeks ago, back in March, I joined a guided mountaineering course to learn about climbing steeper terrain in the snow safely. It was great with the hands-on approach, so we learned the skills while actually climbing a mountain, the 2,332-m high Mala Mojstrovka above Kranjska Gora. As it turned out, the climb was unforgettable, and, me being me, I had to return to the mountains the very next day and try the easiest winter approach to Mt. Begunjščica, the 2K mountain you usually see in the background of the Lake Bled photos. Today, comfortable in my office, I’m reliving the crazy but wonderful moments of climbing that thing in a swirl of a snow blizzard, fierce wind and temperatures way below zero, and, yet, my heart melts with the fond memories. Here’s the story.

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Three spots to see blooms in early spring

IN Family hiking , Flowers , Hiking with kids , spring

Following the weeks of mountaineering in very real winter conditions, I wanted the past week to be different. Warm, pleasant and colorful. As it happens, our little green country is fortunate to have three different types of climate, and when the first flowers only start to bud in one place, spring is already in full swing in another place. 

Barring some occasional drizzles, late winter was pretty dry not leaving nature as spectacular for wildflowers as usual. But since nature is slowly awakening as the proverbial rainy month has only just started, flower lovers can already see the first spring blooms in a few sites. Here are three blooming sites from three completely different parts of Slovenia I visited last week, each very different, yet wonderful in its uniqueness. Enjoy!

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Beginner winter climb in the Slovenian Alps: Mala Mojstrovka

{A disclaimer for the wise: conditions in the mountains can change very quickly, therefore plan your climb accordingly; read about the planned route, check the avalanche reports, the amount of snow in the mountains, and reports about the temperature and wind changes, consult with mountain guides and local climbers,…}

As crocuses, primroses and spring snowflakes awake from the hard soil and the nature in the valleys begins to pick up more vibrant hues of blue and green, the mountains continue to stand firmly their winter ground in the face of the awakening spring. You drive to them in perfect sunshine, but end up climbing in temperatures way below freezing with occasional snow blizzards and fierce wind chills. Yet, the freezing temperatures make the snow stable and awesome for some serious winter ascents, and that’s what counts when you’re slowly battling your way up on the steep snow glazed slopes.

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The peak on the brink of the accessible

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Julian Alps , Mojstrana , mountaineering , mountains , Winter hiking

Through the window of a car, I remember being awestruck as a child by the serrated outline of a rugged mass of rock and snow, usually shrouded  in a swirl of clouds, towering over Gozd Martuljek’s green and vibrant landscape. Later I learned that the Martuljek Mountain Group is the remotest and wildest part of the Julian Alps with only two mountains accessible on marked and secured trails. Other peaks, all over 2K, quietly watching the world from their solitary abode, remain a place for experienced mountaineers, comfortable with climbing and manoeuvring through the labyrinth of faint tracks.

Many years later I am still awestruck; so much that entering that mystical world seems like a far-fetched unattainable adventure that only exists in dreams. Particularly so in winter. Coming close to it to catch a glimpse of the elusive beauty and absorb the grandeur is another matter. And there is no peak closer than Vrtaško Sleme, which at its 2,077 meters brings you so close to the Martuljek Group it seems like you can almost touch its first peak Kukova Špica.

See Exploring Slovenia’s Guided Tour to Špik, another peak in the Martuljek Group

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Safe winter trails that will blow your mind

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Kamnik-Savinja Alps , Karavanke , mountains , snow , Winter hiking

When everything becomes still, the streets empty, the noises die down, the silence becomes overwhelming and I can finally hear it. The winter is here. First snowflakes lightly fill the air and the world turns calm and beautiful. Our hearts fill with joy and our minds with fantasies about our favorite corners of the world turning white. We go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of You

IN News

It’s that time of year again! We are all cheering, laughing, dancing, spending time with our loved ones, cooking, baking, and making our lives a little brighter at least for a few moments. I’m sure we’ve all seen better years or at least calmer and less stressful ones, and to be honest, more joyful years, too. I’m also sure that our biggest wish this year was to return things back to normal. Funny, right? For all those wishes we usually have and the little things that bother us and wish to change, once faced with a real situation with lockdowns and social contact restrictions, normality seems like heaven. Oh, the beautiful times when I shipped the kids to school and got those 7-8 hours for calm work! Oh to all those lunches and dinners that we spent at my parents’ (without having to cook or clean afterwards!)! Oh to all crazy get-togethers with my friends! Oh to all hikes, climbs and time I spent in the real mountains!! Life is not quite the same without all that, right?!

That’s why my greatest wish this year for all of us is to appreciate and enjoy life and enjoy the little things that we still have and can’t be taken away that easily. While I keep my fingers crossed that in the months ahead things will get back to normal, I also wish that we’ve all realized what’s really important in life, what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth keeping regardless of the restrictions. To appreciate the little things that breathe meaning into our lives. Have a great Christmas, happy holidays and an awesome New Year, and make sure you spend the special moments the way you want to! 

Here are a few highlights of my 2020…

Jalovec and the Ponce Mountains from Cipernik
Bled and the snowy Karawanks for a crazy sunset
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Chasing the sun and views in the Karawanks: from Stol to Belščica

IN Adventure , Alps , Hiking , Karavanke , Karawanks , mountaineering

As the very last tourist has left Bled, and this enchanting little town seems almost too big for an occasional jogger or a couple enjoying the promenade around the lake, its nature has never looked more amazing and, best of all, more tranquil. The hazy fog colors light yellow as I drive through the sleepy town, and the forest around the lake looks pleasantly vibrant in the fresh morning sun that manages to peep through the fog. I’m tempted to make a stop to absorb this autumn scene, but the tour I had opted for in the Western Karavanke Mountains would be long and we’d need every minute of the dwindling daylight. 

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Hiking above Bohinj: Krstenica Plateau, Mt. Jezerski Stog, Mt. Adam and Eva

IN Adventure , Alps , Autumn hiking , Bohinj , Hiking , Julian Alps

Sometimes a hike is just a hike. Sometimes it’s a portal to another plane of perception. These days, when Covid-19 is firmly setting its ground and has likely affected each and every one of us in one way or another, an escape to the great outdoors has never been more appreciated. We start the car and head towards the odd world without masks and hand sanitisers. Towards the world where panic is replaced by families of serenely grazing chamois, the virtual problems with the tangible ones, and busy streets by sunny little spots with amazing views. A place where we embrace life at its fullest.

See Exploring Slovenia’s tours above Bohinj: Mrežce, Triglav Lakes, From Bohinj to Soča Valley

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5 epic hikes and climbs in Triglav National Park that will blow your mind

IN Adventure , Alps , Bled , Hiking , Julian Alps , Kranjska Gora , mountains , Triglav National Park

As much as I love snow and a white fairytale-like landscape, there’s still that tiny corner of my heart that misses the carefree summer adventures in the mountains. The kind that comes along with a relatively small backpack and less planning. Then autumn rolls around, and the mountain huts close down for the season, the cold sets in and the daylight shortens. The mountains empty and the trails, which had been very lively even a few weeks before, quiet down, and the silence is merely interrupted by an occasional whistle of a chamois and marmot. Nevertheless, autumn brings a different kind of magic.

With the best autumn days only to come, I encourage you to head out to the very heart of the Triglav National Park and enjoy the countless dreamy hiking trails that connect valleys with the rugged mountainous world. Here are my top recommendations for hikes and climbs in the Triglav National Park near Kranjska Gora and Bled – enjoy!

At 838 square kilometers in size, the Triglav National Park is the largest protected area in Slovenia and our only national park
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Climbing Triglav with kids: possible or better to skip it?

IN Adventure , Alps , Julian Alps , safety , Triglav

It’s the connection we have with nature and mountains, wandering steps into the unknown, carpets of colourful flowers along the trail, drifting clouds over towering peaks, and huge expanses to rest your gaze upon. It’s a way of life, and something all outdoor loving parents would wish to pass onto their children; but the question is: are your children ready to endure some mountain climbing? If you’re dreaming about conquering Triglav, the highest mountain of Slovenia with your child… you should know that you’re not alone and that there are many ways to climb it safely.

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