Understated Radovljica

Our guidebook advised spending a morning in Radovljica, a quaint little town not far from Lake Bled, so we packed up our campervan and headed out.

We soon learned that driving such a big vehicle in tiny one-way streets is not ideal, and finding parking for it even worse. Fortunately, just as we were giving up hope and heading back to the highway, we came across a supermarket and a series of shops on the outskirts of town where we finally managed to buy all the things our campervan lacked – a kettle, a step, a decent frying pan, coffee cups and other odds and ends. We also got the little traveler a pair of decent walking shoes (and he wouldn’t let us leave the shop without a pair of Paw Patrol Crocs too), since we learned the previous day that this holiday might just turn out to be walking intensive.

A good thing we did, too, because we decided to leave the campervan in the shops’ large parking area and stroll into town. It was a good half-hour’s walk! Luckily, just as the little one started complaining, we came across a play park where he could let off some steam and I could rest my feet for a bit.

Onward! We made it to Radovljica’s old town eventually, and was a little disappointed at first glance. It’s literally just a smallish square with a few picturesque buildings around it. We couldn’t quite understand what the fuss was about. It seemed almost deserted and we were the only tourists in sight. There weren’t even any tacky curio shops where we could get some trinkets to take back home.

We wandered around the square, sweating in the hot sun, wondering what we were supposed to do here. There was a beekeeping museum that I thought might be interesting, but the little one made it quite clear he wasn’t going anywhere near it. A municipal museum, an old manor house and a church were equally unappealing.

We did, however, find a lookout point with some fantastic views across the surrounding countryside. Slovenia is one long stretch of green that ends against blue mountains in the distance. Lovely.

Thoroughly parched, we sat down at one of only two coffee shops just as a group of local school kids and two harassed-looking teachers invaded the square. Suddenly, the quiet was shattered by preteens chatting loudly and playing on their phones. They filled up the remaining seats at the restaurant, where we quickly had our lunch – the cheapest (but tastiest!) toasties on the menu – before moving swiftly on.

We couldn’t resist the temptation concealed behind one understated door. We descended a flight of stairs and found ourselves in a gingerbread trove with a lady who was very pleased to hear that we were from South Africa. She showed us a special batch of the spicy biscuits she had made with sayings written in Afrikaans! We bought one that said ’n Huis is waar die hart is – Home is where the heart is.

On our way back to the campervan we came across a local produce market. It’s tradition to buy fresh cherries whenever we’re in Europe, and this time I got to teach the little one how to eat them. The two of us traversed the way back, competing to see who could spit cherry pips the furthest!

Radovljica isn’t necessarily a town I would recommend, but if you’re looking for a respite from the crowds of Lake Bled, you can do worse than spend a few hours walking its quiet streets.

Do you prefer bustling tourist towns or quiet, underrated local escapes? Would you stop to spend the day in Radovljica?

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