The people of this region – the Gorenjci – are known throughout the country for their proverbial thriftiness, for which reason they are the longstanding subject of a great many jokes. Such is probably the bane of all highland peoples; and if you farmed this land where things don’t just grow by themselves, frugality would come naturally. This is nothing to worry about though: after initial reservation, the Gorenjci are a most hospitable people, and its worth getting to know them, as well as their skills and traditions.
During any visit to Gorenjska, you will become aware that tradition matters a great deal to these people; it is still alive in the inns and taverns where one can taste typical fare from this land of stockbreeding and stubborn soil. In Šenčur, local delicacies have everything to do with potatoes, in Naklo buckwheat porridge, and in Bohinj – as well as other places where pastoral farming, cattle breeding and sheep-breeding predominates – cheeses. Recollections and mementos of traditional skills, crafts and trades are preserved in many museums across the region. You may also attend workshops where you can try your hand at such traditional crafts as iron-working or lace-making, as well as baking honey-breads and making ‘lect’ confectionery.
Alive and interesting
A great many special features are to be found right across Slovenia’s alpine region. In addition to farmsteads at the forest verge, and the keeping alive of traditional trades such as charcoal-burning, you will come across the remains of numerous saw and other mills from the past. Bled is the perfect place to experience some time-honoured modes of transport. If you want to visit the island in the middle of Lake Bled, then you can be taken there by pletna, a craft which has been used on this lake since the 13th century! Although a promenade is quite lovely, cosmopolitan convention dictates to that it is more seemly to ride in a fijakar – a carriage typical to the town, which, like a taxi, will transport you to your destination in style.
A Gorjuše pipe for father-in-law, a bottle of mead for uncle, a lect heart for lovers, a beehive panel for father, beautiful lace for mother, as well as honey sweets for nephews, nieces, children, and grandchildren. And not forgetting yourself of course – take a souvenir that will preserve your memories of Slovenia’s Alps. Its vivid colours symbolising love, joy and celebration, make the lect honey-bread heart one of the most typical souvenirs of Gorenjska. With their religious and secular painted motifs, many of which are highly amusing, beehive front panels are a special and most distinctive characteristic of Slovenian apiculture.
Fashioned from alder root or branch knots, a tobacco pipe from Gorjuše, a village in Bohinj, is decorated with mother-of-pearl, pearl shell or metal. While the men carved pipes, women made typical Železniki bobbin lace as well as embroidery with characteristic motifs, of which the stylised Gorenjska carnation – a flower which adorns the windows and balconies of homes in Slovenia’s Alps – is particularly popular. Another longstanding tradition is medičarstvo – honey-bread confectionary, while liquor mead – known as medica – is a typical alcoholic drink in this land of apiary. Photo memories Further to the natural heritage, traditional crafts and mementos of adventures in Gorenjska, you may also want to show your friends typical Carniolan costume, of the type you will see folk wearing at events and festivities throughout the region. Women’s attire consists of full gathered skirt and bodice, underskirt, black apron and knitted stockings together with a head-dress known as an avba which is richly embroidered and decorated with typical motifs and trimmings. In addition, women would carry a parasol, a wicker basket and – of course – a bouquet of carnations. [/size]