Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

It was drizzling by the time I arrived at Vintgar Gorge, but not enough to discourage me from making the hike. Truthfully, the gorge had not even been on my radar. I had taken the bus to Lake Bohinj in Slovenia‘s Triglav National Park the day before, intending to work my way back to Ljubljana via Lake Bled, stopping for a few hours in each place. But one look at Lake Bohinj, with its encircling Karst limestone towers, emerald water, and pocket beaches, and knew I had to hike around it.

View back to stone bridge and town of Lake Bohinj

View back to stone bridge and town of Lake Bohinj

I asked how long it would take to make the hike and was told two hours, three at the most. I made a quick calculation. Three hours to circle Lake Bohinj and a 20-minute bus ride back to Lake Bled would give me three or so hours to see Bled and perhaps climb to the castle before I had to catch the last bus back to Ljubljana. It was doable, if I didn’t dilly-dally. Read More

Beautiful Lake Bohinj in Triglav National Park in Slovenia, is surrounded by spectacular Karst limestone hills

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Beautiful Lake Bohinj in Triglav Natinal Park in Slovenia, is surrounded by spectacular Karst limestone hills. A trail around the lake can be hiked in about four hours.

The man behind the counter at Ptuj Castle suggested I begin my tour at a display of costumes and masks from Slovenian folk traditions and tales. “But I have to warn you,” he said. “Just the other day a man told me it was the scariest thing he’d ever seen.” He shook his head when I laughed. “I’m not kidding. The guy was practically shaking when he left.”

Costumes and masks from Slovenian folk traditions and tales are on display at Ptuj Castle

Costumes and masks from Slovenian folk traditions and tales are on display at Ptuj Castle

Curious, I wandered among abominable snowman-like creatures with feathered headdresses, devils with long red tongues, headless hens, and old women carrying old men in baskets strapped to their backs. Believed to assure good luck and productive crops, for centuries these scary looking magical beings were known only to rural villagers in the northeast corner of the country, especially around Ptuj, the oldest city in Slovenia. Each spring, they would make their appearance during a three-day carnival, or Kurentovanje, which commenced exactly 46 days before Easter. Read More

One of four dragons that adorn the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana, Slovenia. One legend says that the city was founded by Jason, who, along with his Argonauts, slew the dragon. Another legend insists that the dragons wag their tales when a virgin crosses the bridge.

Click on above photo to view it in large format: One of four dragons that adorn the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana, Slovenia. One legend says that the city was founded by Jason, who, along with his Argonauts, slew the dragon. Another legend insists that the dragons wag their tales when a virgin crosses the bridge.

Preseren Square in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, features the Triple Bridge and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Preseren Square in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, features the Triple Bridge and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation

The Town Tower and Ptuj Town Theater in Ptuj, Slovenia. The Orpheus Monument, a carved marble Roman tombstone that stands in front of the tower, is probably from the second century and is considered the symbol of the town

Click on above photo to view it in large format: The Town Tower & Town Theater on Slovene Square in Ptuj, Slovenia. The Orpheus Monument, a carved marble Roman tombstone that stands in front of the tower, is probably from the second century and is considered the symbol of Ptuj.