Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Zapreval Tourist Farm
Bob in front of the peč
Slovenia has over 200 tourist farms; working farms where guests are treated like family. http://www.slovenia.info/en/Countryside.htm?podezelje_1=0&lng=2
When Bob and I visited Slovenia the first time in the fall of 2004 we stayed in 4 different tourist farms in different parts of the country. Each experience was unique. There was one we wouldn’t recommend because we needed to put a chair against the door to keep it from swinging open at night, the people seemed to argue about everything, a light in the bedroom was dangerously hanging from a wire and Bob had to bend backwards in half to keep from hitting his head when using the toilet. Another was just an apartment in someone’s modern house and it was not on a farm or had any of the charm we came to expect. But we have a favorite that we have visited often since and can highly recommend.
Zapreval is a small village high above Ljubljana and not far from the medieval village of Škofja Loka. From the Žgajnar tourist farm you can see the lights of Brnik Airport if there is no fog, but there is no sound of planes. There are only a few farms in Zapreval but it sits in the middle of Stari Vrh ski resort so day and night time skiing takes place all around the village. In the months when there is no snow people hike and the very strong and determined ride bikes. We have been there in all seasons except summer and it is the most perfectly peaceful place at all times of the year.
Jana greats each guest with a warm smile and šnops made from flowers, blueberries, or maybe even honey before she shows you to your room. I keep trying to drink this horrible liquid that makes me shiver with every sip just to see why it is so celebrated, but so far I can't recommend it. At the farm there are basic accommodations for as many as 20 people, and most of the rooms easily sleep 3. Each room has a private bath and an incredible site viewed from the tiny old windows to the mountains, the valley, the ski slope or the gardens.
Meals are served in the common dining room with the peč. My favorite seat is leaning up against the tiled stove and keeping my back warm. A peč was a common part of every home. The hearth was in the kitchen and served as a cook stove and oven for baking, but the channels of hot air blew through a maze of ceramic tiles that stuck out into the room next to the kitchen and served to heat the house. Children slept on top of it in the cold winter, and on racks hanging from the ceiling clothes were hung for drying. This family farm is generations old and they still raise cows, fruit and vegetables that are served at table. We stayed here the first time in September and Bob went with Jana to the woods hunting for mushrooms that were then served in the most tasty mushroom soup [gobova juha] imaginable. The food is homemade daily and she is very sensitive to vegetarians. Mostly it is a place of great aesthetic beauty in a natural farm sense and we feel very cared for and welcome.
Off season the cost for a room, breakfast and dinner is less than 20 € per person per night.
We have visited Zapreval 3 times this school year. Once in the fall, when Aaron and Elle were here after Christmas and then late winter just before Bob returned to the U.S. Sadly the snow was not so good this year and even though they make snow and have beautiful new ski equipment and buildings the skiing is only marvelous if the snow is great. We did do some skiing and it was such fun, but we were never there when all the slopes were open. But that didn’t matter, because it is really fun to be there on top of the world, in the quiet of the early morning, when the fog is still settled in the valley and the sun is melting the ice off the trees. It is truly a piece of heaven.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Bob and Kay
Aaron and Elle dancing
Bob and I have been married for 35 years. Impossible, since I still feel 35, yet true!
We celebrated our anniversary while Aaron and Elle were visiting us in Slovenia and in good Slovene tradition we had a party. A great party!! We rented the beautiful cozy banquet hall at a tourist farm in Tabor and invited 50 friends from our schools and the choir at Sveta Gora and Bob’s family from Podlipa. As is traditional the evening began with pršut, bread, cheese and šnops (and grilled vegetables for the vegetarians). Then we all sat down for dinner of pork, chicken, sausage, potatoes, vegetables (and pasta for the vegetarians) served with homemade wine from Joško and Alida. Next came the buffet of salads followed by American desserts made by us(chocolate chip cookies, brownies, peanut butter cookies, toffee bars). We hired a button box accordian player to provide music for singing and dancing, and much was done all night long.
It was the greatest joy for us to celebrate our union with our new friends. They have become so meaningful to us and they celebrated our friendship by singing songs for us, writing new words to old songs to applaud our longevity and even the teacher's choir sang “When I’m 64”.
It was an unforgettable evening of lots and lots of laughter with dear friends and family.