Slovenia - Maribor and Styria - nealeb

Our Slovenia adventure on Friday (20 May) took us to the north-eastern part of Slovenia. Our first stop (very important) was for our morning coffee at Slovenske Konjice. It wasn't just a coffee stop as we had a look at the town and headed up to Dvorec Trebnik, which produces skin care and natural products as a social project in the community.

After this, we headed to the remote Zice monastery from 1165 settled by Carthusian monks.

We had lunch at the restaurant on site (the oldest inn in Slovenia) and finally had a strudel!

Growing at Maribor, this is the oldest grapevine in the world that still produces fruit, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The wine produced from fruit of this vine is bottled and gifted on special occasions.

We did a wine tasting here (unfortunately our visit didn't rate as a special occasion!). Some of the vine was given to Melbourne and has been planted in the Yarra Valley. The bottle of wine (below right) was produced from the offspring of this vine and given as a gift to Maribor.

Maribor town centre

Our final stop of the day was to a biodynamic vineyard which was a very different experience.

They have a belief in everything being in harmony. All of the production is natural - sheep keep the vineyards "mowed" and fertilised. There is no irrigation and no pesticides or additional fertilisers are used. The grapes are put into clay vessels and, after initial stirring, these vessels are placed in the ground and left for nature to take its course over 2 years. Wine from these vessels is hand pumped (no electrical or automated equipment is used in the process) and there are no additives to the wine.

What we can say is the wine is amazing - very different flavours to other wines we have tasted!

Twilight photo from the car on the way back to Ljubljana (may have been creative alcohol induced photography perhaps.....)

On Friday nights in Ljubljana, there is an "open kitchen", a little like Eat Street markets, where local restaurants sell some of their specialties.

Evening photos in the city centre