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December 2020

Let's Give Each Other Stories

Lived experiences are the most precious

It's time for pleasant thoughts! This year was unusually different; lots of wishes went unfulfilled due to the pandemic, but we've all had plenty opportunity to consider what really brings us joy. The things we can't have are those we want most, right? What are you dreaming of now, and what do you miss? Travelling, exploring, escaping the daily routine, these are likely on your list of longings to realize when it's safe to adventure again. Where better than in the Vipava Valley and the Goriška, hidden jewels in the heart of Europe. Here, delightful experiences await, bound to excite, pamper and relax our guests. Discover unique stories and feel like you're in paradise.

Stories from within the castle walls

The Vipava Valley, surrounded by hills on three sides and to the west opening into the plains of the cross-border Goriška, has due to its unique position historically been a lively crossroads between cultures. With its gentle climate and fertile soil, it attracted creative and entrepreneurial people throughout the centuries. Between the walls of the land's many castles and manors, curious stories live on, waiting for you to discover. The Rihemberk Castle in Branik, one of Slovenia's biggest and most picturesque medieval castles, is gradually being restored to its former glory. You can visit between spring and autumn, delving into its ancient mysteries. The mighty castle is also home to a colony of bats, who find this clean and peaceful habitat to their liking. Another walled treasure with a fascinating history is the Vipavski Križ Castle with its petite medieval village, which centuries ago held rare town privileges and market rights. Remnants of the busy trade, mostly with Vipava Valley wine, may be explored with a local guide, or you can opt to hunt for treasure along the medieval alleys of the little town instead. The colourful history of Goriška, which now coexists with the frontier places of neighbouring Italy without a visible border, is best explored in the Kromberk Castle with its Goriška Regional Museum. Beautiful exhibits stimulate curiosity and might lead you to discover more artistic stories, like those waiting in the local galleries and many smaller museum collections.

Stories from unspoiled nature

At the crossroads between worlds, where the western edge of the Dinaric-Karst range meets the warmth of the Mediterranean, the highest peaks offer dazzling views over the Julian Alps and the Dolomites, and nature is breathtakingly beautiful. Tall Kras plateaus rising over the Vipava Valley to the north and east thrill with their karstic phenomena. On foot or by bike, you can explore this fascinating world, wondering at natural creations and hearing the stories of the land, which have passed between generations. Legend has it that the spectacular Otlica Natural Window, a natural bridge at the edge of the Trnovo Forest Plateau above Ajdovščina, was drilled into the mountain by the horn of none other than the Devil himself! The karstic spring of the River Vipava, linked to the mysterious subterranean world of the Kras caves, holds more secrets to find. It was through these hidden caverns that the notorious Predjama Castle by the great Postojna Cave is said to have been supplied with food during long months of siege. Many recent stories are equally interesting. The Great Ice Cave in the Trnovo Forest, in hot summer days a favourite goal of hikers and cyclists, historically supplied ice for trade ships leaving the Trieste port. Records reveal it was exported all the way to Egypt. Tales of mystique also abound in the few still-preserved old mills by the River Vipava, where the song of nesting birds is heard all day long. Another inexhaustible source of stories is the torrential River Hubelj, by which industry began developing in Ajdovščina in 16th century already.

Secrets of the wine cellars

Tastes may differ, but happenings revolving around tasting great food and drinks fortunately never end in the Vipava Valley. Genuine, distinctive and frequently personal stories are at home in the valley's wine cellars, traditionally made of stone and found underground. In the beloved vaulted spaces, where temperature stays nearly the same all year round, the precious harvest of the local winemakers is maturing into phenomenal wine. Indeed, Vipava Valley wines are a story like no other. The richness of varieties thriving here, including old indigenous varieties like the Zelèn, never fails to impress lovers of wine. Natural winemaking mingles with modern perspectives, while care and affection for the vine and boutique family wineries pass from generation to generation. The stories of the winemakers, their ancestry, colourfully diverse vineyards and charming cellars will brighten your spirit. They'll be happy to share their day with you, introducing guests to an unforgettable tasting of wines straight from the barrel, accompanied by home snacks – a great starting point to the exploration of local cuisine.

See you in 2021

The stories are patiently waiting. It's our heartfelt wish for 2021 to again offer opportunity for travel and merry meetings in the pristine surroundings of the Vipava Valley and the Goriška. Until then, from the soul of the paradise valley, good luck!