Some delights in southeast Slovenia

As always there is a delight or two to find on any journey in this country around the one back to the capital is no exception. Following a slightly longer route than necessary, the first is Slovenia’s smallest town, but nothing like any town you may have visited. Firstly, Kostanjevica na krki, occupies an island 200m wide & 500m long in the middle of the River Krka. This sleepy place dates back to 1252. Two old timber bridges connect it to either bank so it is possible to drive straight through without stopping. Not that you would want to. The place has an old charm to it that is almost timeless.

Just a few kilometres out of town is the Pleterje Monastery, belonging to the Cathusians, the strictest of all the monastic orders. Only the Gothic church is open to the public. This, in itself, is worth a visit as its empty space arouses the inner spirit, settling anxieties and inspiring awe and wonder. There is no sign of white-hooded monks quietly going about their chores; they have taken a strict vote of silence. The main building, dating from 1407, can be seen from the outside and signs are everywhere reminding visitors of where you are and to respect the tranquillity of the place.

Finally, Otocec Castle, also on a tiny island in the middle of the Krka River but further up stream, is reached by similar timber bridges from opposite banks. The castle is completely restored now and has been converted into a very smart hotel. But hey, not one to miss an opportunity to rub shoulders with the posh & glamorous, it is in through the main door to use the toilets and then order some refreshments. They were very happy to serve some excellent coffee, along with a very tasty choccie with the hotel’s emblem on it rather than, as is normal elsewhere, a simple marciponi biscuit, and not charge the tourists in the scruffy shorts and faded T shirts too much for the presumption.

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