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June 2024

Close to nature: An active weekend in Loška Dolina

On Friday afternoon, we arrived at the Ars Viva youth hostel in Stari trg pri Ložu. We were greeted by a thunderstorm and Tjaša, who kept her spirits high despite the downpour outside. Luckily, the weather didn’t ruin our plans, it just modified them. Instead of bikes and outdoor activities, we could have nice chats and a workshops.

Our first attraction was visiting the TIC Lož, a tourist information point. Lili introduced us to the fascinating history of the Loška Dolina valley. She told us about traditions, like setting up “ostrnice”, traditional hay formations. She also showed us films and photos of breathtaking nature. She surprised us that as much as 90% of the valley is covered by forests. It’s also called the coldest place in the country – Slovenian Siberia.

In the evening, we had a joint cooking session – culinary workshops with Lili Mahne. Our MasterChef taught us how to prepare the traditional “božični kruh”. It seemed like a simple dough, but we created real works of art – birds stuffed with vegetables, croissants with jam, pretzels with poppy seeds, or tarts with fresh fruits. We baked so many snacks, we were eating for two more days.

At the end of the day, the rain was still cheerfully playing songs on the roofs, so we decided to spend time in the Ars Viva. It turned out that the youth hostel has large tables, which are perfect for board games. Despite lousy weather, we had a successful Friday full of various events.

The next day, we could see the sky again. The wind blew away the clouds, and the sun rose — a perfect day to spend outdoors. After a delicious breakfast at the hostel, we packed our backpacks and went to meet Matej, a local guide and speleology expert. He took us to two caves in the nearest area — “Mrzla jama” and “Partizanska jama.” There, we could admire beautiful rock formations and colonies of bats.

After the caves, it was finally time for some biking. But instead of standard, traditional bikes, we had tricycles – bikes that we ride in a lying position. On the way to Gostilna & Pizzeria Pri Stani in Žerovnica, we could admire beautiful views of the Loška Valley. For lunch, we tried “kaura”, a local soup with kohlrabi, fish from Cerknica Lake, and homemade apple pie. There was so much food and it was so delicious that we had trouble getting up from the table.

In the end, we cycled to the Snežnik Castle. The building looked like something out of a fairy tale. It’s a medieval structure accessed by a charming bridge. It’s covered in ivy, and around it winds a moat filled with water. Thanks to our great guide Veronika who shared her knowledge with us, we could learn the history of the castle and visit all the rooms. In front of the castle was a local music festival, which we stayed for after the tour.

The weekend in Loška Dolina was full of amazing experiences. We recommend it to all active people who love nature. Personally, we will definitely visit this magical place again.

Lukasz Popowitz and Lilka from Poland

Photos by: Lukasz & Lilka