What to do on a weekend in Tolmin

This time we spent a long weekend with friends in Slovenia, an Italian neighbour we know too little about.

We visited Triglav National Park, on the western side of Slovenia, nearby the Italian border. It took us about 5 hours to get there from Bergamo. The mountains of this park belong to the Alps, with the highest pick of Triglav reaching almost 3.000 meters. There are many options here: from trekking to kayaking, cycling, paragliding etc.

 

 

This is also a trip that brought us to the past, back to the Great War of 1914-1917, when young people had no choice but dying on the Soca Valley’s mountains.

We stopped for lunch in Kobarid (Caporetto) and we visited the Italian war memorial dedicated to the people who lost their lives battling against the Austro-Hungarian army on 24th October 1917.

This was the worst defeat inflicted to Italians in history. There are 7.000 corpses in the memorial. Walking around this place made us stop and think about a whole generation swept away by war, reconsidering how lucky we are.

Leaving Kobarid, we finally get to Ciginj, next to Tolmin, where we booked our accommodation. We stayed in a beautifully renovated barn which was perfect for the 4 of us.

Tolmin Gorge

In the afternoon we decide to visit the famous Tolmin Gorge, which is just 15 mins away by car. It’s a pristine place where nature amazes. The path, on a round circuit, is well thought of, and fairly easy. It takes about 1 hour and a half to visit the Gorge. At the park entry you can get tickets. They’ll give you a map, and explain how the walking path develops.

After we get back from the Gorge, we have dinner at Okrepčevalnica Tolminska korita, where we are positively surprised by the good quality of food.

Lake Bohinj

The second day we go to lake Bohinj, the largest of Slovenia. By car it takes about 1 hour and a half, taking the only road, slow and windy, going up the mountains.

The path develops around an immaculate nature, where you can stop for a picnic, or you can swim in summer. It takes about 3 hours to walk around its 12 km of length.

In the evening we are back in Tolmin and we decide to continue our culinary journey in another local restaurant, also famous for its fried fish: Slavečki Stjepan, in Zatolmin. Once again, we aren’t disappointed neither with the quality nor with the modest price.

Javorka: memorial church and trekking

On our third day we are looking for a trekking in Tolmin, so we stop by the tourist office for information. They suggest visiting the Church of the Holy Spirit, and a trekking around the mountains of Tolminka river.

The instructions are simple to follow. You get to the church parking at Srednjica Alpine pasture and walking up the hill (20 mins). This church was built by the Austro-Hungarian, commemorating the 2.564 victims during the Great War. It’s considered the finest monument to World War I in the territory of Slovenia, and you can tell why as you get there, it’s impressive inside and outside. It’s open only on weekends so they gave us the key to get inside, being a Monday. Yes, you got it right, they gave us the massive key church!

Back to the parking spot, we reach Polog Alpine pasture and we start the trekking there. At the first junction we turn right towards Prode pasture. We cross the river on the so-called ‘kurukula‘, a sort of cable car by hand – lots of fun there. We continuo to Planina pod Osojnico pasture. On the other side we take the easy mule trail taking us back to the starting point. The itinerary the tourist office gave us is easy to follow, see the introduction and leaflet.

At the beginning of the walk you can also visit a war bunker that you’ll find on the way. It’s open to the public and you only need a torch to be able to visit it.

The trekking, of medium to low level, takes about 2 and a half hours. Landscape wise it’s varied with alpine pastures, river Tolminka, green woods, and scenic mountains slopes.

The next day we leave Slovenia stopping by The Kobarid Museum on the way back. This museum is dedicated to World War I, in particular to the battle between the Austro-Hungarian and the Italians starting off on 24th October 2017 when the Italians had a disastrous retreat. Once again, we stop and think about the horror and futility of wars, and this one in particular, that took place in the mountains of the emerald Soca Valley.

 

 

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