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In the Shelter of Nanos

Dear Travellers! 

The die is cast in team Visit Postojna: We are taking you on an exploration of natural, cultural and historical sights of our destination through the eyes and experiences of our guests. Despite the current situation regarding the new coronavirus, our travelling plans have been turned upside down for the better, as we can now finally take time to discover the beauty of our country and get to know the stories and legends of our hometown. Along with Nina and her family, we are taking you on a three-day trip into the heart of nature of Nanos and Predjama Castle.

In the afternoon hours we arrived at the Ecotourism Farm Hudičevec, aka “devil in disguise”. It sounds menacing, right? The story behind the name is actually quite playful. The estate was once owned by a baron from Trieste who had a housekeeper that feared no one, not even the devil himself. One time she fell gravely ill, and the priest from that area disguised himself as the devil, hoping she would open him the door. However, the feisty woman grabbed her gun and shot him. The place has been known as “Hudičevec” ever since.

Today the farm is owned by family Simčič and it is one of the most hospitable homesteads in Slovenia. The farm’s cuisine is based on seasonal dishes, soups, struklji, brick oven bread and local desserts.

Aside from the everyday farm chores, guests can check out a collection of old tools as well as different farm animals, such as horses, donkeys, goats and sheep that are looked after by their guardian dogs. The hosts also provide comfortable overnight accommodations with sauna, fitness and playgrounds (football field, volleyball court, basketball court, boules court …). The little ones can have a lot of fun on different playground equipment, playground climbers, and on endless green areas that are perfect for running around and for play. The surrounding area is filled with forest paths suitable for walking or riding rental bikes.

Day One

We arrived at the farm in the afternoon hours and settled in our room. The farm is a true attraction, especially for children, since they can get to know different animals and discover how to take care of them. For dinner, the hosts served us local specialties: grilled lamb and colt steak with vegetable on the side from their own garden. An evening walk in the arms of the plateau Nanos is truly something!

Day Two

After breakfast (brick oven bread, home jams and juices, cheese, eggs) we set out towards the great Nanos Plateau. We left the farm on foot towards the parking lot that serves as a starting point of the hike. The marked gravel road first leads through a steep grass hillside and later reaches into the forest where we meet an intersection after a few minutes.

We continued our hike on a less steep path, but you can also choose a steeper one. We decided to test both: some of us chose the easier path, and the fitter ones decided to try out the steep one. It takes 2h 20min on the less steep path and 1h 45min on the steep one to reach the top of the plateau.

Hike to Nanos Plateau

In the shelter under Pleša, the most prominent summit on the plateau, we stopped at Vojko’s Hut for a lunch of local delicacies: cooked barley, sweet strudel, pancakes and a glass of local wine from an eco-friendly production to toast with.

After hanging out with Barbara and Peter, an extremely pleasant couple who are the new tenants and keepers of the hut, and indulging in extremely delicious lunch, we set out towards the aerials where we enjoyed a view of the entire destination of Postojna, the massif Javorniki and even a part of the Vipava Valley. However, on the very top of Nanos we were given a not-so-warm welcome by the wind bora, a very common visitor of the mountain.

Even our four-legged friends that went along with us were provided with fresh water, some treats and a lot of attention by the young hut-keepers.

After our break we continued our path towards Suhi Vrh (“Dry Peak”), through Strane, Šmihel pod Nanosom and towards Predjama (2h 40min).

In Predjama some of us first saw the magnificent Predjama Castle and researched the legend of the robber knight Erasmus. We also decided to check out the picturesque Cave under Predjama Castle, the second longest Slovene cave that stretches over four floors. Our tour guide revealed to us that the Slovene speleologists had not so long ago made multiple new discoveries in the cave. He also informed us that there are still many other parts of the cave waiting to be explored. We all agreed in excitement to come back very soon to check out the new discoveries.

There is no electric illumination inside the cave. Therefore, visitors are equipped with battery lamps before entering. Aside from comfortable clothing and footwear, no special equipment is needed to visit the tourist part. In dry weather you can also take a walk towards the sinking river Lokva that shaped the cave.

Predjama is a special village not just for its 800-year-old castle built inside the 123-metre-high cliff, but also because of its kind and hospitable inhabitants who are also the best tourism promoters. A stop at the Predjamka Inn was just perfect and with a view of the breath-taking castle one of the many highlights of our trip. On our way to Postojna we stopped at a double hay rack also known as “toplar”, which represents a valuable example of Slovene vernacular architecture. We had arranged a visit of the hay rack and the ethnographic collection in advance. The collection consists of objects and artefacts used by people in this area in activities ranging from agriculture, forestry, hunting, blacksmithing and many more. Various exhibitions are usually held at the hay rack, and the traditional ethnological and cultural event “Forester-Farmer, Past and Present”, takes place here every August.

After the visit of the double hay rack, our path led us to Postojna where we stopped at Café Siesta, as recommended by the residents, and discovered a sweeter version of another local legend of the shepherd Jacob and the dragon of Postojna. The famous Jacob’s cake was a gift to the brave shepherd boy who saved the locals from the evil dragon. We were also highly impressed by the homemade vegan forest fruit sorbet.

Day Three

We spent our morning enjoying a much-needed rest on the farm. It is amazing how relaxing and at the same time uplifting a barefoot walk on grass can be, or even simply laying in it! We checked out a collection of old tools, visited the animals, had fun on the playgrounds and tasted homemade struklji and cold cuts with brick oven bread before our departure.

We brought our first trip to an end with plenty of new impressions and had a lot of fun. I am sure you will too!

“Read you later!” 😊