Day 4 Tour Blog for the Special “Experience Slovenia sustainably” – with the Polestar

After breakfast, we learned from the director of the Soca Hotel about the possibilities and difficulties of setting up a charging infrastructure for e-vehicles. The only charging station in Bovec was not working. After our tour to the waterfall and Mangrt restaurant, he had to drive us to the charging station outside the village in the evening and activate it with his card.

Impressions of the Sporthotel Soca in Bovec. Sustainably built with lots of wood inside and out. The chargers for e-vehicles will surely come soon…The owner and hotelier Goran explained to us on the nightly drive to the outskirts of the village what still needed to be done in terms of tourism development and e-mobile infrastructure. Nevertheless, we were happy to be supplied with electricity at the only charging station.

On the way to the Boca waterfall (picture with Polstar in Bovec)
Last stop, then we walk through a wondrous mountain forest to the Boca waterfall. Grandiose: Jurassic Park says hello.
Boca Waterfall

Continue to the Info Point TNP Trenta

Marko Pretner (Head of the Infocentre Dom trenta)
Point TNP Trenta
Centre inside

If you want to know something about the history of the Famous Soca Valley and the future development of sustainable tourism in this region, you cannot avoid talking to the director of the excellently designed Info Point TNP Trenta. We have done this and will go into more detail in the upcoming “Slovenia Special”.

Socca Valley Gorge

Today’s schedule was packed with destinations we still had to reach: the famous Hiša Franko restaurant near Kobarid, the Klinec winery with its famous organic wines, and then on to Koper, the port city on the Slovenian Adriatic. However, we wanted to take a few impressions of the Socca Valley Gorge on the way.

Restaurant Hiša Hiša Franko (literally translated: Frank’s House)

We had planned two hours for the stay at Ana Roš, including photography and filming, and of course the famous menu of more than 10 courses. We had a similar experience at Hiša Franko as we had at Joseph Zotter. 20 minutes at “Sepp” Zotter turned into three and a half hours, and at Frank’s house it was to be four and a half hours. Our tour logistics began to falter.

In this blog we can only briefly sketch the highlights, and then go into more detail in the “Slovenia Special”, but there is a bit more text about the culinary synthesis of the arts – remember also the Hundertwasser thermal baths in Bad Blumau – to go with the pictures. Bad Blumau, Zotter, Hiša Franko, Klinec, Rico are exceptional works of their creators, personalities one can only admire. Their life stories would provide material for interesting series on Netflix. Ana Roš has already achieved this. In Netflix you will rediscover Ana under the series “Chef’s Table”.

In shorthand: Ana Roš was named “World’s Best Female Chef” in 2017 by a well-known English restaurant magazine. Ana Roš’s vita can be found in many languages on YouTube and many pictures on various websites. Just type in Hiša Franko or Ana Roš and you will find what you are looking for. The success of your cooking and your team is framed by the naturalness of the rooms in the restaurant, the places around the main house and, as a crowning glory, by the well-stocked wine cellar and a cheese maturing room.

We were able to do the “proof of concept”. Impossible to grasp in words, more so in pictures and the mindful presentation of all the courses of the menu. In the end, we counted 26 courses, accompanied by narrations of the young waiters in colourful Sacco creations, which were supposed to reveal the respective works of art to us. All around an aha experience. Concentrated. Mindful eating and enjoying. Pure joy. If you get involved in such taste explosions, accompanied by the enlightening descriptions of the dedicated service – some of the dishes were explained while kneeling, at eye level, so to speak – the guest receives a formative dining experience that will certainly have a lasting influence on his conscious approach to food and drink. The chefs at Hiša Franko only create with local products from the Soča Valley that are seasonally available. Ana’s husband is responsible for the wines as Somelier, while fish, meat and mushrooms come from nearby producers. Long story short: order a table, drive there, enjoy and take the pleasure home with you.

Before the pleasure: the Polestar, aka Black Horse, is docked at the charging station. Our companion is just as thirsty as we are.
In front of the guest room in the garden we start with an aperitif
And then it started: menu card, “Showmaster”, with a hand-sized ice cube with the Hiša Franko logo stamped on it.
Impressions of culinaric art (selection from the staged menu)

After the premiere in the Hiša restaurant, we drove on with 80% of the battery charge and two and a half hours late to our next stage destination, the Klinec winery, owned by winemakers Simona and Aleks Klinec. While sunshine had accompanied us so far, now increasingly cloudy skies.

Another short stop to document some impressions of the wine-growing region of Goriška Brda, despite the time pressure.

Snapshots from the car of the Goriška Brda wine region

Simona welcomed us patiently and cheerfully with a smile and a toast with a Muscat from her wine cellar. She immediately began to tell us about the wine-growing region, her own history as a winemaker and the development of the winery over the next few years. Sepp, Ana, Simona, Pietro – they all testify to the visionary power of strong personalities who, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, realise their dreams and at the same time create joy for many “normal people”. Simona’s guided tour through the wine cellars, the drying room for the large hams, the old and new cellars with the barrels made of mulberry and acacia wood allowed us to immerse ourselves in the everyday work of a winemaker and the self-confident presentation of the treasures she has created. As we were saying goodbye, Simona’s friend came by just in time with a cool box of aromatic goat and sheep cheese. A statistician by profession who travels internationally for the EU, she cultivates the art of good cheese-making. And so another eventful day of our tour through Slovenia came to an end.

Klinec Winery
Impressions with a view of the vineyards

Guided tour through the treasure chambers of Klinec, space for 20,000 bottles per year, not counting the magnum bottles. Five different white wines and two red wines are pressed from the grape varieties of the region such as Jakot, Rebula, Malvazija, Verduc.

The joyful farewell of the friends with great certainty to come again. The weekends with 60 places for guests of the good food are always fully booked. Simona and Alek’s cooking is known beyond the region. And everything is prepared in the old Kuchl.

Body, speech and mind were fully satisfied, so off to Koper, to the sea for a day on the Adriatic. It should be night again when we will reach our hotel Grand Koper.

We have not yet reached the end point of tour day no. 4. It is dark and we want to use the power of the 400 Black Horses to reduce our twice postponed arrival times at the Grand Koper. The marketing manager is already waiting for us there, also a reserved table in the hotel restaurant is supposed to be waiting for the latecomers. We hum along quietly in the direction of Koper.

Late arrival at Hotel Grand Koper

We made it and still have a charging reserve for 250 km on board. That is reassuring. Consequently, we won’t have to charge at the nearby public car park in front of the Grand Koper, especially as we would need a Slovenian charging card to do so. Our charging plan for Slovenia is to charge at the places that either allow 150 kW and more, or overnight at the overnight accommodation with a charging station near the house. So Black Horse will get its next charge tomorrow at the salt works, while we are being guided through the salt fields. We will go into more detail on the topic of charging infrastructure in the extensive “Slovenia Special”.

Ms Stančič Kodarin, responsible for Marketing/PR, explains the development of the Grand Koper. It is currently the only hotel in the city centre. There is still enough space for at least five more hotels in the upscale segment. The Grand Koper is therefore a pioneer for the local hotel industry. Many tourists rent apartments.

Seafood and dessert at its best had been prepared by the chef of the restaurant for our coming. A worthy end to a day full of AHA experiences on our exploration tour under the motto of Touremo magazine. After a short walk around the town square, we finally went back to the hotel.

Top renovated, designed down to the smallest detail. The interior cannot be imagined by looking at the exterior façade.
View of the marina from the hotel window
Breakfast at the Grand Koper like in a five-star hotel

Then we started day 5 of the Slovenia exploration with a Polestar 2 and an ambitious travel and visit programme. The main attraction of the fifth day was the salt works in the Secovlje Landscape Park.

Text: Elmar Thomassek
Pictures: Lutz Dürichen

Destinations: Bovec – Boca Waterfall – Info Point TNP Trenta – Socca Valley Gorge – Hisa Franco – Klinec Winery – Koper

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