I think what distinguishes all the great travelers from the rest, is how well they know their own homeland. Too often people travel to the most remote places on the planet yet when you mention a region just an hour away from their hometown they look at you in wonder. I believe that exploring the world is important for broadening ones horizons but in that quest we should not forget that there are many wonders just right in front of our very nose.
Slovenia is such a small country, yet it doesn’t lack in the amount of amazing sights. There is much to be seen and no matter how hard we try, there are still places waiting for us to discover them. Just such a place is the beautiful region of Pomurska – located in the NE part of Slovenia. Its famous for wide fields, storks, thermal waters, pumpkins, good food, floating mills, wine growing hills and its Slovenia’s largest agricultural region.
This weekend in our quest to discover Slovenia we found the perfect base for exploring it. Banovci Health Resort is ideally located, so you are right smack in the middle of it all. On one hand you have the Prekmurje region, just the second you cross the river Mura. Some say it’s Slovenia’s gateway to the great Pannonian Plain. But if you’d rather venture to the South you can discover Prlekija, known for its amazing wines. The symbol of the region is the klopotec, a wooden mechanical device on a high wooden pole, similar to a windmill and you can spot them on your way. What makes it really interesting is the fact that the people in the whole region speak in a heavy dialect understandable only to them, I am afraid. Otherwise its all about the pretty little villages, lots of corn and pumpkin fields along with vineyards – beautiful indeed, yet growing up with the mountains, I found it odd to have no point of reference. Plain fields as far as the eye can see.
We still enjoyed driving around, visiting the largest castle in Slovenia, Grad and learning that about 3 million years ago there was a volcano eruption in Goricko and now you can find all about it at the Vulcania theme park.
But when you are out and about with kids, like we are these days, then trips must include a bit of relaxation as well. Otherwise no one will be too happy about it, kids will be too overwhelmed and you will be exhausted. Staying at a thermal spa might just be the answer. I never considered us as a family who could spend a whole week just stuck in pools, though I am sure our kids wouldn’t complain. But if you can find the right balance, I think it works out perfectly. So, this weekend we did a bit of exploring and a whole lot of enjoying the thermal pools. At Banovci this is so easy to do, because the whole resort is small, yet really comfortable. The pools are just right, with the temperature of the indoor pool perfect for kids and people like me, who are always cold. And the best part was, it wasn’t crowded like some of the bigger spas in the area.
Every now and then we take our kids to the local pool in Ljubljana and it’s always a task that requires preparation, tons of clothes, towels, shampoos, etc. Here, all we needed to bring from our room were towels, walk a few meters from the small houses we were staying at and we were already in the pool. The tougher job was getting the kids out of the pool. The good incentive was of course the dinner.
It’s all about the pumpkins.
Any time I don’t need to cook, I am happy. And this weekend I was in luck. We had breakfast and dinner included in our stay and all I had to do was make sure my kids didn’t spot the all you can eat ice cream the moment we entered the hall.
Like I said this region is famous for its food and luckily enough you can have the best of it right for your dinner – like bograc (thick stew made with three different meats, spices, pepper, tomatoes, potato and, in season, fresh mushrooms), prekmurska gibanica (dessert stuffed with poppy seeds, cottage cheese, walnuts and apples) or put the delicious pumpkin oil on everything you want.
It was a true pumpkin celebration over here. Not only were some of the fields on our way over still full of pumpkins, all the decorations at the hotel are in the spirit of the Autumn; pumpkins and yes, chestnuts roasting on the open fire just in front of the hotel. Yummy.
Night to remember
I believe we really got the best of it this weekend, though they do have a special program for the kids during all the school holidays. Even so, they do have a story night on Saturdays and Stela got to listen to tales of pirates and this region. She was all inspired and excited. Combined with the pools and a playground, no wonder the kids had a hard time leaving on Sunday. And the two of us discovered that we do enjoy traveling in a bit of a slower pace. From time to time. So, this part of Slovenia was successfully captured and we can cross Pomurska region off our list. Still, there’s more to Slovenia, so we are nowhere near done.
Be sure to keep up with our discoveries on Instagram, just follow the hashtag caputreSlovenia.