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A Green Tours holiday in Slovenia 2nd-9th June 2018.  We were a party of 5, with sunny and dry weather, lead by Paul Veenvliet. See Tour Report 

 Helen's Website is at: Helen

Saturday 2nd June 2018   Up early to catch the 04:20 train to Gatwick and  a sub standard Titan Airline plane to Marco Polo airport Venice to be met by Paul and the group

The drive from Venice to Novo Vas as tracked above

Typical Slovenian countryside

The famous Chicken shape of Slovenia

The Group is greeted by Sasha, the Manager, at the gate of Hostel 24 our base for the next  four days

In the road verge which was full of wild flowers


Helen's Geotags (enlarges)

Small Blue


Glanville fritillary

Wild Rose

Birdsfoot Trefoil


Our base "Hostel 24" with an remotely operated gate which Paul eventually opened remotely

We walked through the village for the  first day's supper at the only pub

The old water supply piped originally from the spring in wooden pipes

A modern house in the local style plus quad bike

An old style house

A Meadow Brown

An old style house with steps outside

Black Veined White on a Scabious 

Novo Vas village Minimart

The bar where we ate supper, a huge mince and spaghetti.  Some loud talking locals came in later. Only light or dark Slovenian lager beers are sold

An old barn

A plain terrace

The closed B&B on the main street

The road back home as the sun sets

 Sunday 3rd June    We walked round the village before breakfast then the group visited a cave and then Lake Cerknica

We got up early and had a walk round the village. The mist cleared quickly 


Novo Vas from the air

Meadow Salsify

The church of St Michael is behind Helen


Old barns

Slovenian open barn

Bygone farm implements

Grass thatched house. Front doors are raised to allow for snow but should have steps


A Farm house

Hay barn with overhang for parking, washing lines etc

The Church of St Mikel, Slovenia is a Roman Catholic country

Celebrating a Saint's day. The unaccompanied singing was very good

The Priest in the shade

A roadside shrine to the Virgin Mary

Ox eyed daisies in the verge

Ox eyed daisies

Cultivated fields

The decorated Hostel Front Door

Wild flowers


A farm slurry pit

Slovenian style skiing, invented at the same time as Norwegian skiing

A Stork's nest, several others were empty


Location of the Kizsna Jama cave that we visited first thing that day, travelling by minibus

Aruncus in the woods

The cliff face which contained the cave entrance

Our guide opening the cave door

The cave system. We went as far as the red arrow. We were lent hand torches and wellingtons

A knobbly stalagmite

Cave cricket


Inside a "stomach" in stone?


A bone conglomerate on display

A petrified shin bone. Cave Bears hibernated and sometimes died in here leaving their bones.

The next picture is a Cave Bear's skull with a brown bears skull on top

"Scallops" pattern caused by water wear

A stalagmite named Volcano "Cotopaxi"

This looks like an Ogres Head

Signatures wall from Victorian times

The 4hr Tour along a lot of the cave's length starts off

Into the dark


Ann looks for Charon.  (We took a short boat ride around the lake

A Cave Millipede

A Bear's Shadow on the cave roof



Yellow thistle, Cirsium erisithales

Salvia Pretensis in the wet meadow

Marsh Fritillary


Adonis Blue

Fragrant orchid -


Burnt tip orchid

Dark veined white

Grizzled Skipper

Spotted Adonis blue

Spotted Adonis blue

We went for lunch at "Contrabantar", a farm and stables. Its name referring to its smuggling past. Another vast meal here!

Grandpa, who runs the stable and appeared several times driving a tractor, always right to left like a stage army

Our evening meal here later on was finished off with an Orecovitz, walnut brandy, referring to Slivovitz. Very tasty!


A hack with insecticide on its back against flies

An old horse drawn sledge, it nearly always snows here in winter.

 "Super" has just caught on and our request for beer was "Super"

A barn and pig sty

A barn with an old hay wagon for tourists rides

A very friendly guard dog

Lake Cerknica, an intermittent lake, almost dried out. The fish return with the water

Lake Cerknica in winter (from the Internet) the water has returned

Red Admiral

 Following  the Martin Krpan trail.

The story is in the next picture, which enlarges.

His weapon was an axe

Or possibly the Emperor allowed him and other traders free rein to help rejuvenate the region after it was devastated by the Turks




Bee hives, multi-coloured to help bees find their correct hive

Aquilegia vulgaris

Open Forest

A tiny toadlet on the path

Cardinal Beetle

White Admiral

The forest floor

Birds Nest Orchid


Lesser butterfly orchid


Mixed woodland

Ragged Robin

Wood White

Wet flower meadow

Orchis morio

The last bit of Lake Cerknica, the rest has drained away

There were frogs and tadpoles in the pond



Marsh marigolds

A Pool Frog

Black winged Demoiselle

The river Jezerscica to which we drove looking for yellow wagtails and corncrakes, Helen saw a corncrake

A grass snake held by an expert, then we moved on to the Tourist office in the town

Grass Snake

We were briefed at the tourist office and then drove in two groups to different hides with a "Hunter" each. We communicated with our Hunter in fractured German.We waited 3hrs and eventually saw a wild bear in the dark....

....but Helen took some better photos while it was light enough

An Olm from the Internet

We all wanted to see one

We had returned from the bear watching hides with their horrendous ladders to our minibus in the town and then walked to a pond, fed from a cave with Olms in it. They often appeared there at night. Unfortunately one swam off directly a light was pointed at it, but some of our group saw it when we returned after 10 minutes, or at least saw its nose

Monday 4th June    A trip seeing a limestone meadow and a wet meadow


The Hostel Lounge

Breakfast at the hostel came from Hija Glamping although Sasha provided omelettes, coffee etc. One day they provided a superb Rhubarb and Custard in filo pastry. Only once unfortunately!

A natural sign post

His very long, white antennae is not visible against the pink 

Burnt orchid

Burnt orchids

Fly Orchid

Pyramid Orchid


Dark Arches Moth?


Helen, Ann and Paul

Yellow Woundwort, Stachys recta

Meadow Brown

Flower Meadow


Blues mating

Jim up to his knees in flowers

Glanville fritillary


Bee on Scabious

Heath Fritillary

Female blue

Marbled Clover Moth


Glanville fritillary female


Spotted Fritillary

Forester moth

Tiger Lily Lilium bulbiferum

Colorado beetle collected by a local gardener

Yellow beetle 

Chamaecytisus supinus

Spotted Fritillary

Spotted Fritillary

Broad leaved Cotton grass in a wet meadow

Broad leaved Cotton Grass 


Marsh Orchid




Hog Weed

A clear karst stream

Cow Parsley


Yellow belled toads in a puddle

Adiantum Fern

Poplar Admirals

Next we visited a large sinkhole, Rakov Skocjan, where a cavern roof has collapsed

Wild rose, rosa pendulina, growing there in the shade

Black ground beetle

Footbridge reflected

Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara

Moss covered  Dolomite

Beautiful Demoiselle, a banded demoiselle

The pond just before the river disappears into a swallet

Turquoise Winged Demoiselle, a banded demoiselle

Almost gone the river flows through the Great Natural Bridge

Looking down to the swallet where the river disappears

Flag Iris in a water meadow

The river Rak's short journey, appearing, flowing a few miles then disappearing 

Anthericum liliago

The ruined Church of St Cantianius on the "Great Natural Bridge" inhabited since the stone age but destroyed by the Turks


Tuesday 5th June   A trip to a Italian ruin, Trnovski godz a high plateau and a high virgin forest

The usual walk round the village before breakfast


Farm and Byre

A grandma working early in the field

Large Copper


Field Cricket

The ruin of a grand house, owned by an Italian noble, looted and destroyed when the Communists arrived

The barn used as a voluntary folk museum by locals


The barn museum

An old plough

Collected bygones in the barn

Enamel Pots

A timber wagon

The Gnome's cave

The gnome's house?

A privy with spare potties on a hook outside (for the queue?)

A Czech Tourist


Campanular glomarata



A rare (here) limestone pavement

Balm-leaved red deadnettle

Emerald Moth





Phyteuma  spicatum

Heath Fritillary

Perennial Corn Flower

See enlargement  below

Looking over the cliff. The forests are vast and unending

Heath Fritillary on White Clover


Rock Bunting


      This Panorama enlarges

Through the minibus windscreen

Beetle, Clytra. not a Lady bird

Chamaecytisus supinus

Rain and cloud coming as we drove to the mountains


High virgin forest

Looking down

The Cloud is clearing, we are on the same level


High Virgin Forest


The valley below gives some idea of the forests




Dactylorrhiza fuchsii

Acinos arvensis

Alpine Meadow

Cliff face

Hoary Plantain & Chafer

Rock Garden



Biscutella laevigata

Oxytropis jacquinii


Looking down from the high view point and botanical reserve, Mount Sneznik

Heath Fritillary

Gentiana Acaulis

Heath Fritillary

Heath Fritillary



Roe Deer


Harvestman spider


Moss grown rocks

Alpine Newt

Black and white slug




Electric Generation from water bursting from the rocks at....

.....Pod Lipco

A crescent in Vipava

Assume the vowels in Slovene words

The Bridge to Pod Skala restaurant

Supper at the Pod Skala restaurant in the town of Vipava. Over cooked fish

Dining Area

A former mill

Reflection. The loo, which needed a key, was on the other side of the bridge.

This is the start of the Vipara River

There must be 100% humidity


Wednesday 6th June  A trip to the Wetlands by Koper and a river area by the Croatian border,

Novo Vas village church before breakfast 

The  Church Graveyard

Rustic Bridge


A Lone Tree


Burnet moth

Hoary Plantain

Two Campulas

Grass Thatch

In the Church graveyard

A Wooden Virgin

Nottingham catchfly


In the Nature Park Strunjan near Koper, red necked terrapins,

Red necked terrapin

Scarlet Dragonfly

Perennial Pea

Holly Blue

Marsh Frog

Container Port at Koper on the skyline

Orthetrum cancellatum


A hide for watching the birds

Nature Park Strunjan, near Koper

 White cattle, Boškarin or Istrian cattle

Pigmy Cormorant

Camargue horse similar to Lipizzaner

Black backed Stilt

Italian Wall Lizard

All friends?

Lunch at Histria Botanica who specialise in producing Natural Oils; see their website

Note the the stills for the natural oils

A Croatian village looks down from the hill beyond the border

Note the Croatian border in black

River short of water

River bed

Sedum flowering

Nettletree Butterfly

Marbled White

Smoke Bush

Sloe Hairstreak

Marbled White

Bug orchid

Large Chequered Skipper

Perennial Pea

Nettletree Butterfly

Marbled White

Mountain Ponies. We stopped on the way back to see Bee Eaters but they were too far away

We went to the Hija Glamping site for supper. (Also called Park Idila)

The owner's house

Račji Otok, Lake Bloke an artificial lake

Sleeping biker bear

Natural Art

 Park Idila location


Gate Post

A skiing bear (Slovenian style), has the snow melted?.

All the sculptures are carved by the owners husband

Ann, Jim, Martin, Helen and Paul in the cafe

Thursday 7th June High Pine woods, the Kocevje Virgin Forest and Reichenau village and Sawmill

We picked up Petra, our guide, at this lake, a flooded open-cast coal mine just outside Kocevje

 A map is at next picture

Nine spot Moth

A Forest Hut on a hill top, the view is below

Yellow Clover


Fire Bug

The view

Pine Woods

Bee hives near Reichenau (Rajhenav)

Walnut Tree


We drove through the pine woods to Reichenau (Rajhenav)


Tree called the Queen of Rog plus Ann and Petra

Seedlings in a dead stump, life goes on

Bladder Campion

Rajhenav (Reichenau) was originally inhabited by Gottschee Germans. It was founded around 1400. After the last wave of colonization in 1574, the village consisted of 10 farms.  During the Second World War its German population was evicted and the village was completely burned down in the summer of 1942. On 15 August 1942, Italian forces shot 20 to 30 civilians and then disposed of the bodied in sinkholes. On 26 June 1943 the Partisans defeated the Italian military near by. After the war only three houses remained in the village and the land was used by a state-owned dairy farm

Another bear






Rajhenav farm where we had lunch. The farmer was very proud of his cattle. And we had an excellent beef soup

Farmer and wife by Petra


Fly catcher in the garden

Bracket Fungus in the virgin forest

 Possibly a dead tree?

Emerald moth

A mammoth snail, 4 inch shell, edible?


Virgin Forest Edge


 Ann found a tick that Helen helped her dig out with Paul's special tool. Martin had one that left its mouth bits in and had to be dug out and both Helen and Paul found unattached ticks they flicked away

Coloured Bracket Fungus

Meadow Brown

Sawmill History (enlarges)

Location of the water tanks


Water was a problem and was stored for the sawmill in large sunken tanks now a wild life habitat

 Supper was at the Gostilna Žolnir, Kostanjvica na krki, our new base where the Lime Trees smelt beautifully and they had a surprisingly large dining room. We had a smaller one!

Friday 8th June   A circular  route taking in a castle , an orchard and bee eaters

Kostanjvica na krki.  Meals were provided by Gostilna Žolni by the yellow pin, top centre

Our splendid B and B Castanea. As always we explored before breakfast

The Breakfast room

The southern Wooden Bridge

Another B and B

St Jacobs church

The northern Wooden Bridge

The Castle (Schloss)


The town steelyard

A wooden foot bridge

Hapsburg Empire style terrace


New house old style

The only street art we saw.

Maybe there is Communist brutal architecture and Graffiti in Ljubljana, we saw none

Typical door

A wooden saint

Indian bean tree

A Nursery?

Old Shutters

Paris quadrifolia

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Meadow brown

Meadow brown

Silver washed Fritillary

Golden Beetle

A small grass snake

White Admiral

Wet Woodland

Silver washed Fritillary

Female Brimstone

Frog in a puddle

Moor Frog

Virgin forest left, ordinary forest right

Dung beetle

Virgin Forest, never touched

Speckled Wood

Tiger moth

Wood White

A forest hut with a yard that attracted  huge cloud of butterflies

Purple Emperor

Lesser Purple Emperor

Silver washed Fritillary

Silver washed Fritillary

Lesser Purple Emperor see orange circles

Purple Emperor

Map Butterfly,second brood

Map Butterfly, Araschnia Levana f. prorsa

Fritillaries, could one be a first brood Map?


Podsreda Castle

Wayside Shrine

Castle gate

Entrance Hall, where they park the carriages

Up to the Glass Museum

Red engraved bowl like Bohemian glass


Central Courtyard

View from the window

The attic with lesser horseshoe bats roosting there

Don Quixote

Martin views the pictures in the exhibition

Childrens' work, their town badge is a Dragon

The Village below


Central Courtyard

The Dungeon

We had lunch in the kitchen before our tour of the castle

We drove to the rare types of apple preservation orchard and heard how they fund their work.

Sweet William in the grass of the orchard

The Bee eaters kept well away from their nest holes, in far off trees and our guide was really disappointed.

We were badly bitten by mosquitoes while hiding in the bushes

Bee eater, much enlarged

Bee eaters

We had supper at the Gostilna Žolnir again and walked home in the dusk

Saturdayday 9th June   Another 4am start and a long drive to the Venice Airports

Marco Polo Airport

Ann and Jim unload at Treviso for their  Ryanair flight. We drove on to Marco Polo

A long view of Marco Polo from our illegal parking spot. A Police car stopped alongside us with its siren on, you had to notice!

We left the B and B at 0400hrs for the long drive to Venice and arrived in good time.

We took an hour at the "bag drop" and then waited an hour and a quarter on the tarmac after the scheduled time for take off because of a French Air Traffic Control strike.   Titan Air ran out of sandwiches for sale and did not finish meal service.

 A 13 hour day by the time we got home, but a very enjoyable holiday.