Enchanting Vipava
17. July, 2018

Enchanting Vipava

Shades of green grass, grapevine speckled hills, quaint villages with church spires and bells ringing on the hour. When you reach Vipava Valley you have a feeling that the time has stopped – at least it goes to a slower gear from our fast paced world. What I have known of the area from the past is that it had a nickname of “Slovene California” because of its wine production and their indigenous wine grapes, zelen and pinela. The wine region has made a large impact on our greatest poet, Dr. France Prešeren, who wrote our national anthem in this valley – the only one that is an actual toast and it is written in a shape of a wine glass. Wine goes well with the food and my belly has been acquainted with region’s numerous tasty treats. I still recall a fun lunch or better lunner (lunch + dinner) at Cejkotova domačija in Goče – everything we got over there was wrapped up in a story.
Stories, after all, are the ones that stick with travelers even when the stomach is empty again. Majerija was another pleasant surprise in a form of a traditional farm to plate meal, the palate was happy and so were we at the end of the day.
This time we just wanted a quick stop. An addition to what we have already known. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss on something, since Vipava Valley has been proclaimed as one of the top ten destinations to visit in 2018 by the famous Lonely Planet guides.  We were not sorry that we`ve poked our noses in. The town of Vipava was cute – little, polished, peaceful, with almost no people in sight… after having a glass of pinela we went on and we have found a little treasure.
I have been to Vipavski Križ before. I remember the town was picturesque and full of history. I remember the walk uphill and gravel paths. I remember the monastery and one of the monks, who has been a missionary and brought home a skeleton of a piranha fish. Town felt deserted, empty, with nothing much else to do – so we got into a big surprise when we found a newly refurbished old town, paved roads and a bit of new soul that was just waiting for us to tell us the stories and secrets of this little place.
We didn’t need to look around – paved paths lead us everywhere where we wanted to go. One brought us to the church dedicated to the Exaltation of the Cross where our reformer and author of the first printed book in Slovene language, Primož Trubar, had speeches during the protestant movements of the 16th century.
We found out there is evidence of habitation on the hill from the pre-roman period. There is a defense wall, with houses being clustered around for defense purposes against the Ottoman raids and there is a remainder of a 15th Century castle that is still waiting for its brighter days. An important institution in the town is still the Capuchin monastery from 1636 – with its rich library it is probably one of the top spots to visit in the little hamlet.
But what we were most intrigued with was the people. We met Mirjana, owner of a little cafe bar/shop called Vipava Valley’s goodies. With her enthusiasm for local delicacies and passion for the place, she made Vipavski Križ special for us. We heard tales of the oldest pilot in the town (age 91), a handy man that knows how to fix everything, a photograper from Ljubljana that catches glimpses of the town for us to enjoy. We saw an elementary school premises, local kids at play, small photographic exhibition and at the end we tasted the goodies from Vipava. Some zelen, some orange wine, some figs and goat’s cheese, spreads made by hardworking local women, home-made tiramisu… and to bring along with us some locally made gin and chocolate. We fall in love – not just with the charming little medieval village, but also with its newborn wish to share with travelers’ things that we have forgotten about – only when you slow down and open your eyes, you can see the beauty that lies in front of us.

“The vintage friends is over

And here sweet wine makes once again,

Sad eyes and hearts recover,

Puts fire in every vein,

Drowns dull care,

Everywhere

And summons hope out of despair.”

-Dr. France Prešeren

Want to try some Slovenian wines with us? Let's toast to that!

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Photo credit: Tina Hiti, Sašo Golub, Marijan Mocivnik, Wikipedia

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