Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tripping on a Potato Wednesday

  1. autumn colours in the hilly regions of Dolenjska
  2. glass beads with eyes and knobs
  3. feeding ducks by the castle Otočec
Children are having so-called »potato« school holidays (the name comes from the potato harvest which took place weeks ago). Extra animation required! I can't remember ever going for a trip to southeastern Slovenia so I suggest we set wheels towards Novo mesto...

We take the highway (Ljubljana-Zagreb) and enjoy wonderful view of the hilly region which is well-known to wine enthusiasts as it is the home to Cvicek wine, a blend of several different varieties of wine from the local vineyards. On an ordinary working day it is crazy to expect to find a parking space downtown but we take our chances and drive all the way up to the Chapter Church of St. Nicholas and bingo! – park our car. The museum we are heading to is just one street away!

I have been to Dolenjski muzej many years ago and the findings amazed me. I figured Em would find it interesting also to see locally excavated items dating back to the late Stone Age. She has started history this year and expressions, such as “century” and “Age” sound much more familiar than they did a year ago.

The exhibits show the settlements in the Dolenjska region from Stone Age until Middle Ages. We see a rich collection of tools, weapons, jewelry and pottery. The central part of the exhibition presents items from the late Iron Age (8th-4th century BC): colourful glass beads with eyes and knobs, produced in local workshops, complemented with amber jewelry, iron and bronze weapons, bronze vessels and situlae with human figurines. Most of the jewelry pieces were among rich findings from the early Iron Age graves.

Em agrees that the Stone Age tools, glass vessels and jewelry are remarkable while Jay busies herself looking for passages from one room to another. I am glad I was able to fight the common prejudices about children visiting museums once again…!

The castle Otočec, the only castle located on an island (amid the Krka river) in Slovenia, was our next stop.

It dates back to renaissance although its existence was documented already in 13th century. Unfortunately the castle was devastated by the partisans during WWII therefore there are no remains of any spectacular interior glamour other than what has been created decades later when the castle was turned into a 5* hotel, often used as a protocol site for accommodating special guests.

Needless to say we choose not to have our lunch here, but we do feed the ducks with some bread we have left from our morning snacking in the car.

I don’t think the ducks would fancy any of the castle specialties more…!

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