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.
Unplugging on Velika Planina
Fairytale on Velika Planina is everything I love about mountain resorts: it’s remote and isolated, yet still nicely connected to the valley by a cable car or a road that ends only 45 minutes away. It has personality and all the little benefits of any other nice resort in the valley, plus you stay in pristine nature with spectacular views of sunlit mountaintops of the Alps. That’s why I was beyond psyched when the kind folks at Fairytale on Velika Planina invited me up for a few days of snowy trails and jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets.
And did I mention dogs are allowed? Lisa and her furry buddy Hari were welcome too!
Ski touring in the frozen kingdom of Snežnik and its ice sculptures
I always wanted to see the ice kingdom which the winter Mount Snežnik is famous for and possibly ski among the frozen silhouettes. You see, since the mountain is close to the sea (only 28 km), it receives more precipitation, which in combination with strong winds can build incredible ice structures on anything that sticks up the ground. Thus the lodge at the top puts on an otherworldly ice cover, while dwarf pines, which sporadically cover the highest parts of the plateau, turn completely white and resemble an exhibition of art work rather than trees. Really spectacular!
Five family and dog-friendly hikes
Having two kids and a puppy is super cute…for someone other than the parents. I’m one of those suckers who recently adopted a puppy. If my husband bought a house with a garden a week later, I’m dealing with it my way. I go to the mountains. Or to put it better, we go to the mountains. So, here are five hikes, friendly to kids and dogs, we’ve recently done and have kept my sanity plus entertained my whole family. I’m sure they’ll fit your family as well!
It doesn’t get cooler than this: ice climbing in the Hell thirty minutes from Ljubljana
Ice climbing has never been my thing. Ever since the climbing accident ten years ago, I’ve steered myself away from the vertical and kept my step safer on the trail instead. A few weeks ago, though, the news arrived about frozen waterfalls in the Hell Gorge near Ljubljana; being such a rare sight I decided to duck out of my comfort zone and join my friends the next morning for an ice-climbing session in the Hell.
A family outdoor weekend in Kranjska Gora
There is no such thing as a perfect family weekend, yet picking the right setting can play a crucial role in either surviving the weekend or truly enjoying yourselves. After two pathetic weeks of exchanging places in our rehabilitation bed drinking hot tea and inhaling anything that supposedly sped up our recovery, we were all anxious to get outside and just start enjoying life again. We booked an apartment for the weekend in Kranjska Gora, a small sunny town in the midst of outdoor paradise, as there would be activities for everyone. As it turned out, the place was awesome, while its countless sports options fitted the whole family.
I’ve written about climbing our highest peak over and over and over again. It’s strikingly beautiful and climbing it fills you with indescribable emotions way beyond exhilarated. But then again, Triglav is surprisingly demanding and even in perfect conditions a serious ascent. Experienced climbers describe winter ascents to Slovenia’s highest peak as a true challenge. You want to do it safely? Climb it with a mountain guide. Seriously.
Climbing Triglav in spring can be tricky
It was one of those situations when you seek spring, only to find harsh winter conditions in the mountains which resemble more to those expected in January and not in the mid-May. The weather this week has been mostly rain, bringing snow in the high mountains. Lots of it. Although snow conditions were anything but stable due to a very thick layer of new snow, our team had been planning an ascent of Triglav for this particular weekend for a long time and thus decided to give it a go regardless of the situation. Anyway, one could always turn around if conditions turned too bad, right?
Sunset hunting in the Karawanks or an adventure of contrasts
As soon as my husband and I finished work for the week, we quickly hurried towards Gorenjska and left our car in the parking below the Matizovec farm at the foothill of the Košuta massif. In fact, Košuta is the largest massif in Slovenia with its 10 km (6.2 mi) long crest and as many as 12 mountains over 2 K. The goal for the evening was to hike to Kofce, a mountain hut at 1.488 m (4,882 ft), and record a time-lapse video of the sunset in the mountains.
Valley Mrzle Vode / Valle di Riofreddo: the best ski touring this season
A week of heavy snow fall colored the mountains in white. They looked stunning, promising, even magical in a way. So we set off early in the morning for another ski-tour adventure to one of the most beautiful parts of the Western Julian Alps, the valley of Mrzle vode or as our Italian counterparts call it, Valle di Riofreddo.