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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Slocally.com: Experience Slovenia with Locals!

“How did you actually find me? Or was it me who contacted you first?! Well, never mind dear Vesna … I’m just so glad we are finally here!” Overcome with emotions, I give my soon-to-be close friend, Vesna Velisček, a big hug. I only met Vesna recently – on the Internet, that is. Birds of a feather … I am proud to see that “Slocally.com” as well as her “Herbal Rooms” have really made a name for themselves, what with the news spreading all the way to a recommendation by Lonely Planet in their next guide book about Slovenia. It has not even been two years since Vesna and her family opened up their “Herbal Rooms” for travellers in the village of Plave, located at the foothills of the mighty Alps and naturally blessed by the Soča river.

Vesna calls herself “Chief Experience Officer” and feels responsible for providing her guests with the best “Slocally Slovenian” experience possible.

“Thank you so much for taking me with you … !” To this day, the face of my dear musician friend Irmie Vesselsky lights up talking about Vesna and her truly charming family. “Travel with the locals“, just as it should be – this is what you get staying at Vesna’s country house, Vesna who with the help of her family has refurbished the upper part of their house into aromatic herbal rooms for a maximum number of four guests.

“The pillow here”, Vesna points out with a wink, “is filled with aromatic herbs for your sleeping comfort. And here”, she shows us lifting the duvet, “here are even more pillow cases offering relief for your back while resting. You will sleep really well tonight!”

My friend Irmie is just stunned, barely able to grasp how lucky we are, while Vesna continues, smiling: “We have always dedicated a good part of our lives to the use of local herbs from nearby forests. Why not turn this into an experience for our guests to enjoy, I wondered? For me, it came as a natural decision to partly move back out here from the capital city, investing my time, money and efforts into doing something completely new – together with my family.” Now it is me who is just stunned, and happy, for all her courage and entrepreneurship. “We all are able to do something”, Vesna smiles at me, almost shy if it weren’t for the crisp authority in her voice. “My mum for instance loves dealing with herbs, plants of all kind, vegetables! And of course looking after our guests: As you can see, she really is full of energy, a true mum! My dad loves to work with wood, all these cute little boxes around the house have been made by him. As for myself, I just love to spend time with our guests, besides making jams, jellies, chutneys, soaps or herbal pillows!” Vesna and her dad make us feel part of the family indeed, as we enjoy our first barbecue night together out here in Plave.

Ankommen bei Vesna heißt Tuchfühlung mit der faszinierenden Natur- und Kulturlandschaft Sloweniens ...

Arriving at Vesna’s means getting in touch with the nature and culture of Slovenia almost instantly …

 

… erleichtert vom selbstgebackenen Kuchen der lieben Familie Velisček ...

… aided by home-made cake, served to us by the Velisček family …

 

… und dem herrlichen, einfach nur herrlichen Salbei-Kräuterbad zum Empfang!

… as well as the truly wonderful, sage herbal bath for our feet upon arrival!

 

Dazu gibt's frischen Kräuterlikör ...

Besides, no meet & greet is complete without trying local herbal schnapps …

 

… und ganz genauso fühlt es sich beim ersten Abendessen mit Vesna's Familie auch an.!

… and local is what everything feels like here from the start: Welcome to the family in Slovenia.!

 

Spending your day with the Velisček family is falling head over heels for … local herbs. Some of them have just been collected, others have already dried in the sun, while others again are used to flavour our tasty breakfasts & soups.

How does it all work? “It works if you make it work”, is Vesna’s reply, showing once more her beautiful smile. “Herbal Rooms” has been a decision supported by her entire family, who have whole-heartedly embraced the idea of opening up their house for visitors and (long-term) guests. “Welcoming 10 to 15 people per month would be an ideal number to aim for, so that we can still reap the benefits of our ‘Slocally’ encounters.”

After all, “Slocally Slovenia” – slow travel, low numbers, sustainable development – is what it is all about here.

Weiter geht es am nächsten Tag: Frisch gestärkt mit einem wunderbaren Kräuter-Marmelade-Frühstück ...

Off we go tasting more fresh flavours from Slovenia: Herbal spread, jam & home-made bread …

 

… machen wir uns bereit zum Ausflug in den Wald!

… preparing us for more herbal adventures with Vesna and her mum!

 

Hier helfen wir der Familie, frischen Farn zu ernten ...

Here we are, helping the family to harvest small fern leaves …

 

… welche Vesna's Mama gleich im Anschluss eifrig zum Trocknen auflegt.

… which Vesna’s mum spreads out to dry on the sunny terrace.

 

Die Kraft der Sonne will schließlich genutzt sein - wie hier in diesen fruchtig-frischen Tomaten!

The same sun that has made these home-grown tomatoes look so juicily, heavenly, delicious ..!

 

Plave and the surroundings have a lot more to show. Spending the day with Vesna means having the prestige of our own local guide with us: Soča river valley time it is!

Now this river is what you call a fairy-tale indeed: Turquoise waters, crystal-clear rapids, a mountain stream par excellence embedded in a most spectacular alpine landscape. The air is fresh here, our eyes notably relax from all the green around us, and we even dare skinny-dipping in the icy river waters!

Blick ins Soča-Flusstal ...

A view of the Soča river valley …

 

… vorbei am Eko Camp Korita ...

… past Eko Camp Korita …

 

Hangout - Hängematten - Flair ...

… hangout – hammocks …

 

… und genussvolle Streicheleinheiten inklusive.

… and giving sweet little cuddles on the way.

 

Nach einer kurzen Wanderung schließlich führt uns der Fluss ...

After a short hike, the river leads us to …

 

… zu diesem magischen Badeort.

… this magical mountain spot.

 

Das Wasser ist hier tatsächlich eiskalt, nichtsdestotrotz lockt es uns kurz hineinzuspringen!

The water is so fresh, yet so cold, that we just have to jump in. An experience never to forget!

 

If you do like it hot, head out to the Slovenian seaside, only about a good hour’s drive from Vesna’s home: Portoroz, Piran & Izola are truly worth your while.

It is here where Irmie and I have been able to relax completely. As in, sharing pizzas for dinner, listening to music, having afternoon drinks, talking about life, the universe and pretty much everything. Simply. Wonderful. Why don’t we go on road trips more often?! Especially with your best friend?

Blick auf Izola ...

A view of Izola along the picturesque Slovenian coastline …

 

… und erst mal die Füße ins kühle Naß! ...

… and first of all, freshening up in sea water! …

 

… Pizza genießen ...

… enjoying our Pizza …

 

… Ausschau halten ...

… checking out the beach (boys) …

 

… und bei Anblicken wie diesen über Gott und die Welt sinnieren. Oder einfach nur still sein und genießen.

… and simply sharing in the beauty of the moment.

 

As it is time to say goodbye to Vesna and her family, we realize just how much Slovenia has really grown on us. On this first (!) ever visit of mine, I already know: Slovenia will have me back soon!

Schön, dass wir sprichwörtlich aus dem "Vollen schöpfen" können ...

What a nice feeling to “touch base” with some of the true essences of (herbal) Slovenia …

 

… denn dazu fertigen wir noch kurz vor Aufbruch, eigene, schnell gefüllte Kräuterkissen!

… and making our own herbal pillow souvenirs just before saying goodbye!

 

… und auch die Sonnenblume sagt zum Abschied leise "Servus!" - in Herzform, wohlgemerkt.!

… and even the sunflower has its way of bidding us farewell – in the shape of a heart, that is.!

 

Check out all further information for planning your trip to Slovenia on Vesna’s homepage www.Slocally.com, including tips for many more activities around the country!

Dobrodošli & see you soon in beautiful Slovenia!

Disclaimer: Thank you dear Vesna for inviting us to experience “Herbal Rooms” as part of our trip to Slovenia. All opinions are my own.

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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