Friday, 31 May 2013

Idrija Lace Festival 2013

Every year in the middle of June the Slovenian town of Idrija becomes the center of the lace world for a few days. This year's lace festival is going to be the 32nd in a row. It will be taking place from 14th to 16th of June 2013.

The main event of this annual festival is the national competition in lace making. Every year it is especially nice to see many youngsters competing for the prestigious title alongside seasoned veterans.

There are also many other interesting things going on besides the competition. For instance there is a lace fair with loads of different lace products, but also materials and patterns used for actual lace making.

Even if lace products are not your thing, there are many alternatives to keep you occupied. Every evening of the festival there will be local bands performing late into the night on the central town square.
Locals also take care that no visitor leaves with an empty stomach. There are many local specialties to choose from. One that should definitely deserve your attention is called žlikrofi. Žlikrofi are small boiled dumplings (similar to ravioli) filled with potatoes, onions, lards and seasoned with local spices, offered as a side or main dish. Simply delicious!

For the nature lovers there is a hiking trail waiting in every direction. You will probably encounter some of the vast variety of wildlife species roaming through the nearby forests. Unspoiled nature can actually be found everywhere in the surrounding rolling hills.

A lot could also be said about the rich technical heritage this town has to offer but I will write about that in a separate post. There is another recently made video about the town of Idrija and the surrounding area included within Geopark Idrija worth checking out.

If you are in (or near) Slovenia, you should start planning your visit as soon as possible. If you need any local advice you are welcome to contact me - there are many opportunities to stray away from the beaten path.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Underground world of Principe Pallavicini winery

These photos were taken on a wine tasting tour just outside Rome, Italy. If you find them interesting, you are welcome to check out a detailed review of our visit to the Frascati wine region (just follow the link).


Monday, 27 May 2013

Crete: an ancient Greek treasure

I was truly shocked when a couple of days ago I realized 18 years has passed from my first visit to Greece. It was a week long trip to the country's largest island - Crete. I have visited Greece since then - most recently it was a trip to Corfu.

Crete is a brilliant location to take a holiday, particularly if you’re after somewhere with loads of history and culture, as well as pretty much guaranteed good weather most of the year round. All though it’s a Greek island, Crete is more like a little country of its own, with so much to offer in terms of sightseeing. It’s the largest of the Greek islands and there’s bags to do here, whether you’re after a family holiday, a couple’s romantic getaway or a break in the sunshine with a group of mates.

So, what exactly is on offer in Crete in terms of history and culture? There are the many Byzantine monasteries and ancient mosques to start with, then the Venetian fortress of Rethymo and of course the legendary cave said to be the mythical birthplace of Zeus, Greek king of the gods. If you’re after somewhere to stay in close vicinity to historical sights, Aphrodite Beach Club is a recommended choice, sitting just a short drive away from Heraklion, which houses the fabulous ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos. If Greek history and a bit of myth and legend float your boat, Crete won’t disappoint in terms of fascinating stuff to see and do.

Of course, there’s not just historical beauty here, Crete is well known for its stunning natural beauty too. The island is covered in a rugged landscape of wonderful mountain ranges scattered with caves and gorges spilling out to sea. The interior of the island is dotted with fertile plains, as well as Europe’s only palm tree forest beach and some truly gorgeous beaches and coves along the south coast in particular.

When you visit, look out for Cretans in authentic Greek dress and keep your ears open for some traditional Greek music on your holiday here; Crete is a place which has managed to hold on to lots of its culture and tradition, which makes for a really nice change to some of the more touristy-fied holiday spots.

When you come to Crete don’t forget to sample the gorgeous Greek cuisine too. There are loads of restaurants taking advantage of all of the fresh produce Crete has on offer, from olives, to fruit, fish, seafood and a whole host of other tasty treats. No wonder nearly a quarter of all Greece’s tourist choose Crete! Don’t worry though, you can escape the hustle and bustle by simply coming out of season; the good thing about Crete is that you don’t have to visit in the height of summer to get decent weather.

I suggest you pack your bags and visit Crete the moment you see a good holiday deal somewhere out there! You will probably like it. A lot!

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