Ayşegül Karaali
Slovenia

I am just a curious person who likes nature and sports, hikes up to the mountains and jumps into the cold waters, runs in the forests and travels as much as possible. I am Aisha, a 23 year old Turkish girl, born and raised in Istanbul. Three years ago I moved to Slovenia with my little sister. We planned to stay in Slovenia for a year so that she could study and I could improve my English. After a while, I decided to continue with my studies in Slovenia. Started studying the language, and now I Iive and study in this beautiful country. I explore the country and its culture while still improving both English and Slovene. Here, I am going to share my stories with you. Join me through the adventure.

SLOVENIA DIARIES

İlirska Bistrica

on
19/02/2019


I’ve decided to open a vlog…
But instead of shooting myself, I’ve got lost among all my photos and videos from the last two years in Slovenia.
I thought this way, I could make a video which tells my life in Slovenia. There I found out something which, I almost forgot about. So now, let me share my adventure with you.

It has been a year now since I started exploring Slovenia. Back then, it was my first job in Slovenia. They called me from the newspaper and ask me to explore a small unknown area of Slovenia. This journey was my first journey with a purpose in Slovenia. There I said to myself they did not find me by chance. I am the right person!

But first I would like to introduce myself.
I am Ajša! A Turkish girl, studying at the Faculty of Sports of Ljubljana University. I have been living in Slovenia for more than a year now and I literally feel Slovenia. As a person who loves nature, sports, mountains, travelling and meeting new people, learning and experiencing different things, this country is perfectly matched with my soul and life rhythm.

After spending some time as a tourist in Slovenia, I wanted to know and discover more about the country. Although they say It’s a tiny country, amazingly there is a lot to see and do.
If you want to see the beauty of Slovenia as a tourist, you will find out where to go and the most known attractions places for tourists. The trend happens to be; Ljubljana, Bled, Škocjan Caves, Triglav Natıonal Park, Vogel, Soča… I went through it myself and I was not disappointed.
Have I really seen Slovenia, apart from the best-known locations? Recently I was going to Opatija with my anthropologist Slovene friend and we passed by a small calm town called ”İlirska Bistrica”
The region looked interesting to me and I asked my friend, what he would recommend seeing in that small place? He smiled at me and said ”This is just a transit zone, nothing much.” At first glance, the region looked desolate yet I was determined though to go back and give the region a second chance.
I planned to spend a weekend at İlirska Bistrica. I did not have much of an idea about the region. I was just going to go and discover the place. The same friend suggested to accompany me. He would go to have lunch with his family to Opatija as well.

This idea went well with me. By the way, I am learning Slovene. One of the best things about travelling in Slovenia is that you have to speak Slovene with seniors.
I was determined to get full efficiency from the trip. I packed my bag with Slovene comics, fruits and warm clothes. It was going to be a quite cold weekend.

My friend had brought a CD composed of Slovene songs so that we grooved on Slovene songs all the way. We went down to the road on Saturday morning around 10 am.

First Glance

When we got to the city centre, the first eye-catching building was the glorious town hall. As soon as we parked the car and having been welcomed by a strong wind, we headed towards the information centre. There we learnt that one of the places to see was a Waterfall Sušec (Slap Sušec) and Kinder’s Botanic Park (Kinderjev Park). This area had a great significance in the past, but later it has lost its importance.
We were following the signs and observing. It is impossible not to feel the İtalian presence in the region.

Within the last 100 years, the town’s history had been primarily shaped by the nations that had occupied it.
Bistrica had been under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire since 1867 and was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy in 1920, it became part of Yugoslavia after World War II and finally of independent Slovenia.
Remnants of this can still be seen in numerous monuments, the railway station, and the Italian barracks from the Second World War.

Natural Beauties

While Slovenia is experiencing the coldest days of the year, we were trembling but not complaining because our attention was paid to the surrounding nature and the beauty of the area. We passed by a mill (Novak’s mill) and followed along the river. When we reached the waterfall, we took a moment and watched the beauty of it for a while. The sound of water was relaxing… The image was a scene from the heaven.
Our second destination was Kinder’s Botanic Park. We found this easily. After a short tour we finished the Botanic Park.

There was no variety of plants or a sign. Our bodies were tired from the violent wind and the walking. We got on the car and warmed up then my friend went for lunch to Opatija with his family as he planned.
I was again on the streets of İlirska Bistrica. This time alone.

After a short walk I felt a bit hungry. I did not hassle, turned right to a restaurant-bar style and it looked quite nice to me. ”Park Seventeen” As I observe the surroundings, I realised that the place is famous for Pizzas. İn the open area, right next to me, I watch a young man who was turning a pizza dough with a great mastery. Pizzas fast cooking, smelling delicious and the voices are rising ”Pica je okusna, odlična!” Portions are huge. Usually, families come here. I ordered a chicken salad. It was even served on a large plate with full of chicken and ingredients. After the meal, I had a deep conversation with the young cook. He told me all about the region and showed me some old pictures. This is a place that smells of history. A lot had happened in the past and now almost forgotten.

I had a cup of coffee and did a little research on where to go and see next. There is an interesting monument, church and a castle. What is interesting though, is that even in this small region there are many things to do but the information signs are quite limited.

When leaving the restaurant, I was very pleased with the price and people’s kindness and after wandering around the streets and taking photos, a cool bar named ”Tomex Bar” caught my attention. I got into the place, order a cup of coffee and I was amazed by the tasteful design of the place. Dark green and brown harmony, the integration with wallpapers. After a while, I could not stand there alone and went across the bar. There were a few old guys arguing with an excitement. I could understand the subject. I was looking at them and smiling, one started talking to me. I tried to respond with my broken Slovenian and he switched to English and said something that I forgot; he was quite good in English. We had a long conversation with him about the humanity. This old uncle was born and raised here. As he said that I had chosen the wrong time of the year to visit the area. I agreed with him. It was almost impossible to take a walk due to the cold weather. I need to go back in the spring! During our conversation, I made him laugh because I called his region small. Although he has travelled a lot and has many stories to tell, he thinks that it’s not a small region. I guess I have much more to see or his world in here is bigger than I see.
By the time my friend came over and joined us, I had had a pleasant chat with the old men and realized that it was quite late, then we took the road again. We had a night trip to the church. The church was huge and the cemetery was lit. It was dark and the storm had started. We barely walked to the car.
It was around -10 degrees with a stormy wind. I had never seen and felt such a breeze in my life. It was dangerous to be outside. While looking for a restaurant we went outside of İlirska Bistrica. The storm has intensified and we could not turn back. They had closed some transitions. We entered the first restaurant we saw and had a decent dinner then found a nearby hotel and spent the night there.

Sunday

Sunday morning we woke up in the hotel and learned that It was going to be the coldest day of the year. There were even warnings not to go out. Despite these, we had plans. After a nice breakfast, we went to see the church. We wanted to see it in daytime. It was quite challenging but this was nothing we were unaware of the position of the monument. We followed a path and went up on it. There was a vast green field and a view of the church from the hill.
Towards the end of our trip…

The form and shape of this sculpture is engrossing. Finally it was a good closing to see this monument. The wind was crooked and hit us cold. Despite this challenging weather I enjoyed every moment.

On Sunday in the afternoon we returned to Ljubljana. On the way back I read Slovene comics out and we listened Slovene songs. We made a pleasant journey through the long empty fields of Slovenia.

İlirska Bistrica is really an interesting place. Has significant history and beauty yet some people do not know it.
There is a route waiting to be discovered. A peaceful town that appeals to anyone who wants a nice weekend with reasonable prices, nice cafe, good restaurants plus the hospitality approach of the townspeople will keep you beaming.

There are so many beauties I have not mentioned. The region offers opportunities for sport enthusiasts. There is an exquisite lake for lovers of fishing. I recommend you to go in the spring and be fully satisfied.
İlirska Bistrica surprised me a lot. I never thought It would be such interesting with a lot to offer. If there is such a place to see, why is it never known? I learned about why. It’s up to you to discover it even when you are in that place. We could not find an information center although there were signs that we could get some limited information.

I got all the information online from www.tripadvisor.com. The region gives the impression that does not seem to target tourists. I just liked the fact that the region is far from being commercial and crowded but also a little forgotten.

I usually buy small gifts for myself, to remind me of the trip or places I visit but unfortunately we could not find the souvenir shop there. Many shops were closed because It was already a weekend.
I do not feel finished with the area yet. I will definitely go back in spring to do the most of it.
🙂

We stayed there only one night at Postojnska Jama hotel. (Saturday and Sunday) We had breakfast at the hotel it was buffet all inclusive.
Lunch:
-Chicken Solata
-Mixed Pizza
Towards evening:
-Tea and Coffee
Dinner:
-Burger and beer.
-Chicken with orange sauce and mashed potatoes with a glass of wine.
Breakfast:
-Scrambled eggs, mixed fruit and yogurt, orange juice.
-Boiled eggs, and toasted bread with cheese and ham, coffee.

Upsides::
An important and valuable area in terms of natural beauties and history.
A non-commercial area away from crowds and noise.
Offers; fishing, hiking, rafting and lots activities.
Downsides:
A place that is hardly known a place not visited by people. There is not much for tourists.
Places to stay are not very cosy.
Very cold during winter

AREAS OF ASSESSMENT of foreign nationals, from (1-10)

1.Tidiness, appearance of locality hygiene. (9/10)
It’s quite clean and well organized region.
2.Traffic, public transportation, road signs. (10/10)
Traffic is not intense in this region. Signs are clear.
3.Accommodation (6/10)
There are not many options and the prices are not super cheap.
4.The culinary offer (local cuisine, local drinks) (8/10)
There are a few restaurants in the area and they all look nice. We found the meals nice
and affordable.
5.Range of cultural content (on the day of the visit and in general) (6/10)
The region is active in terms of social activities but does not attract many people.
An important and valuable area in terms of natural beauties and history
6.Range of sports activities, recreation, entertainment. (8/10)
I guess the region has many sports activities during the summer.
7.Souvenirs, shopping possibilities. (5/10)
Maybe there was only one shop and It was closed.
8.Websites of locality and major attractions. (6/10)
There is not much information online. The official website of the region is not in English.
9.Opening hours of Tourist office, professionalism, friendliness. (7/10)
Online information center is accessible but the information for tourists in the city is a bit
limited.
10.Hospitality in general, impression. (9/10)
Really hospitable and helpful.






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