On Sunday, 18. November 2018, the road took us to the famous Vipava valley, to the village Ustje. We joined an organized hike along Vertovec trails, organized by Society Matija Vertovec. We gathered under the mighty Oak in front of village Ustje, where the morning welcome followed with hot coffee and tea. The hike is admission free.
Outskirts of Vipava valley are always good idea to visit. — Travel-Slovenia
It is a circular hike along village paths that lead us through the villages Ustje – Dolenje – Sveta Marjeta – Planina – Ostri vrh (additional option) – Potok – Jakulini – Šmarje – Vrtovče – Tevče – Uhanje – Ustje. The hike took us 5 hours to complete and in that time we walked almost 19 kilometers.
But first is first, we must provide a short introduction of Matija Vertovec. He was a Slovenian priest, historian, winegrower and professional writer, who was born on January 28th, 1784 in Jakuline (Šmarje na Vipavskem) and died on September 2nd, 1851 in Podnanos. Besides the knowledge of Slovenian and Croatian language, he also knew Latin, Greek, German, Italian and French. Through the knowledge of languages, he could read the most important professional literature and thus achieved success in the fields of history, geography, chemistry, physics, astronomy, agriculture, and in particular in viticulture and wine-growing. He belongs among most acknowledged Slovenian professional writers of 19th century. His works are written in Slovenian, except for some German texts.
We started in Ljubljana, the day was sunny and we knew this will be a fine day. Once we passed the elevation Nanos, the coastal weather showed his teeth, as the wind was blowing strong. It is a sharp wind that can be felt in the bones, if not dressed enough. And that was our welcome, stepping out of the car, and the wind almost blew us back home. But, we did not let that get in our way, as later we had the cover of forest and hills.
After getting our hot coffee and tea, we started our hike. It is an individual walk, as many people come. The path took us pass meadow and some grazing cows. The wind was blowing all the way, but once we come to the slope of elevations, it stopped. First, we passed village Dolenje and from here the path took us to the church St. Marjeta on a small hill above village Dolenje. This was our first quick stop with an aperitif and ringing a bell. We continued our ascent on a forest path.
Soon we reached the outskirts of the village Planina, where another post awaited us, but we did not stop. We continued on the path between the vines towards the center of the village. Where was another post, in front of the village church. Here you could get something to eat and drink. It is a nice shady village with a beautiful center. Old and typical for this part of Slovenia. We continued along the Vertovec trails marks. On a macadam road, where we saw old agricultural utensils. From here path took us along the forest, next to the meadows. And the sun kept us warm.
After a while, we reached the routing board, which directed us towards Ostri vrh, a peak above Vipava valley with a beautiful view on entire Vipava and Gorica valley. Here each could decide if he wants to take 20 minutes more or just continue along the path. We decided to visit the Ostri vrh hill and to check the view. It was amazing, really beautiful and panoramic. On the top, we decided to rest a bit and to have something to eat. Of course, we could not resist making some photos. Then we headed back on the same path as we came up. There was also one other path, but we did not know where it will take us.
Once we came back to the path, soon after turning right, there was a post and we drank some hot tea. Below the hill, we passed a chapel in the memory of the mother of God, built by Jožef Dornik from Gabrje in 1884. The path took us on the other side of Ostri vrh, between meadows, vines and olive trees. Village Potok was a major stop to get some food or drink wine. After passing the village we headed towards village Jakuline. A village is a birthplace of Matija Vatovec. Here stands his birth house, which we could see. But there was a big crowd, so we just walked on the courtyard of the house. There is also a small playground for children. There was also a tamburitza orchestra Danica, playing music.
We continued on the road towards village Šmarje, which we could see from far away. Here, we could again feel the wind showing his teeth. When crossing the meadow, bursts of wind were blowing. In village Šmarje, there was a main stop. With hot food on the football playground, not far away a mass took place for Matija Vertovec. They also made a small cultural ceremony in front of the memorial of Matija Vertovec with the octet Castrum. In the village, we passed a stone vault, the point where KPS District Committee for the middle coastal district was established. With some ascent, we got a beautiful view of the surroundings.
The path took us on the left side of elevation Ostri vrh, towards village Vrtovče. But before reaching the village, we passed the natural and cultural heritage at the trough below Vrtovče. Another post awaited the hikers here. Some decided to take a steep forest path, but we continued along the road. We made a short stop in the village to check the market there, where you could get some homemade products or something to drink and eat. We continued our ascent above the village, there was a beautiful view from the path on Vipava valley.
Once we came to the forest, another informational board awaited us. Here we could see the invisible border, which without any wall separated people for centuries. From forest path, we come to another village along the path, Tevče. From a village again opens a nice view of the surroundings. But this also means that our descend starts. And soon we reach the outskirts of the village Ustje. There was the last stop, in front of the yellow house. For some hot tea, coffee or other aperitif. A little bit further we passed river Vipava. Afterward, some walk on the regional road awaited us. Here we had a nice view ahead of us. Soon we turned left on the macadam road below village Ustje. First, we passed the NLS monument, then in the center of the village pass church, a typical rural village, just a jump from the city bustle.
Little higher along the road, we could see displayed pumpkins with pumpkin man and some dolls, and corn. Someone really took his time to prepare this. We went through the village and after small and final descend we arrived at the starting point, under the mighty oak. There a richly coated farm market with Vipava delicacies awaited all the hikers. Red and white wine, pomegranates, dried goods, and many other goodies. It took us a little bit more than 5 hours to finish our hike.
With a lot of nice memories, goodwill, and joy. As always, also here the hikers were nice and very rollickingly. A nice thing, in the end, there was no bora waiting for us, just warm sun. According to the organizer, the appearance of the bora is rare, as after 18. years the wind was again so strong. Along the path, we could observe the beauty of this part of the land. Also, all the people involved in the hike were very nice. The people came from all around Slovenia, even from Italy. They also took care for our safety, as they invited a team of volunteer firefighters from Ajdovščina to guide traffic and team from Red cross Ajdovščina who took care for the safety of the hikers along the path. This was another day well spent. Before leaving for home, we stopped to grab something to eat. And this is how we finished our day. But be sure to check the entire path here.