FROM PODGORJE ALONG THE GREEN PATH TO CASTLE VODRIŽ AND FURTHER TO SLOVENJ GRADEC AND VELENJE LAKE

After a long time, we are here again with our new adventure, as the current situation with corona virus has paused our explorations. We hope that the conditions will normalize soon and we can go back to calmer times and will be able to rediscover the secrets of our little Slovenia. This time, the path took us to Carinthia, namely to Slovenj Gradec, Podgorje pri Slovenj Gradcu and local Green path with stories from Podgorje to Wiederdries or Vodriž. It is a school didactic path, which was established in the year 2016 by primary school Podgorje pri Slovenj Gradcu. The path is circular and along it offers numerous mathematical, natural-scientific, and literary tasks, presented on informational boards and accompanying story.

From beautiful nature, through history to urban heritage! — Travel-Slovenia

Grad Vodriž or Wiederdries stands tall!

We started our journey in front of Cultural home Podgorje, where there is also a monument to the fallen fighters for freedom, who participated in the rebellion of the Slovenian nation between the years 1941 – 1945. From here, the path takes us back to the main road, which we follow for some time. The starting point of the Green path with a story is otherwise in front of primary school, where the first informational board is. We follow the road as long as the wooden board with inscription “Zelena pot z zgodbo do gradu Wiederdries” (en. Green path with story towards castle Wiederdries) directs us to the right, on macadam road. Soon we reach the second informational board, where prince Lawrence (si. Lovrencij) and princess Veronica (si. Veronika) ask us to, with a help of shapes, mark our presence. This is how we can find out, how many researchers have already taken the Green path. As this point is located some meters higher, a beautiful view opens towards surrounding forests and settlement Podgorje.

Slovene version

We continue along macadam road that slowly, but persistently ascents among the forest. The path always offers a beautiful view of surrounding forests. We pass farm Močivnik, behind it a view to a meadow and hunting observatory opens. Indeed we had to climb and take a look inside and check the view. Here is also the third informational board, which tells us how we, using a protractor, can measure the height of the tree. Of course, we will not tell you how, but we invite you to go on the road and try it yourself. The path through the forest towards small farm above Podgorje, where are two-directional boards, directing hiker to the left or right. The right path is part of the shorter path, but we turn to the left, as we wanted to walk the longer path. Here, the even nicer view opens towards surrounding hills. We follow green-white blazes and green-white arrows that mark the Green path.

Green-white blaze

The path goes through the forest, back to the clearing, where an informational board awaits us. With the help of a swing, we try to find out how many oscillations individual swing makes, what we later compare. As we continue down the path towards farm Prijolič, a dog runs towards us, to greet us cheerfully and he walks with us to his home. When we go past the farm, the dog sits down diligently and watches us as we leave. Soon we see castle Vodriž (or. castle Wiederdries), on the adjacent elevation. The path takes us past castle pond, in which we see many fishes that swim carefree. This is also a good point to listen to the forest before we continue. What will you hear depends on the time of your visit, in summer you will hear many forest birds.

The pond

Around the corner, the castle Vodriž stands on our way, in all of its might. Even though it has already been torn apart by the ravages of time, it still reminds us of the mighty building it once was, that overlooked its surroundings. Castle Vodriž is a typical Gothic castle, erected by Aquileian feuds around the year 1300. The entrance to the castle once lead over the castle ditch, which is no longer visible today. Once it had a very important role in this land, as it owned over 111 hectares of arable land, of these 50 hectares of forest. Today, a memorial stands next to it, and the castle itself is worth seeing. Slightly away, stands informational board, which continues the story of prince Lawrence and princess Veronica. Once they discover that castle somewhere there, they walk around the castle grounds with enthusiasm.

Mighty castle

The remains of the castle clearly show some of the castle rooms, and when discovering them we must be careful. The castle is located on the top of the steep domed hill, which is hard to see today because of the overgrowth. While searching among the remains we can see preserved early Gothic architectural parts. Pass the castle winds European footpath E 6, which connects the Baltic sea with Adriatic sea. It was erected on the initiative of forester dr. Milan Cigler. Some minutes away, we come to a different informational board, namely to district cyclostyle technique Kajuh. During the Second World War, during the occupation, the use of the Slovene language and the written word was prohibited, so many small secret printing houses were established, which in Partisan jargon were called technique. They worked in secret bunkers, usually in the forests, under a secret name. So we walk towards this secret location, where technique Kajuh once operated, and for this purpose, a monument was erected.

District cyclostyle technique Kajuh

After seeing the location, we return to the Green path, which takes us to the next informational board and Kokolej chapel. With the help of the data on the board, we can determine the altitude difference we walked from the beginning to this point. Kokolej chapel was erected in the second half of the 19th century, inside of it is the cross. Here path begins to descend slowly, which soon directs us to the right, at the next informational board. The task here is to see the map and determine which are the closest places, according to the orientation of the sky. Along the path we see the sign for Benedict’s path, which leads from Benedict’s monastery St. Paul in the Lavant valley through forest and field paths and is comprised of 11 one-day stages.

Sign for Benedict’s path

Here we lost the path for a while, as some trees had been cut down before, but not all of the branches had been removed yet, thus somewhat obscuring the blaze of the path. After a short search, we found the right path that was still descending. The next point includes rotating prism with which we renew our knowledge of tree species. Soon a beautiful view of the surrounding hills opens, at the same time we reach the next informational board. Here we look through the mascot of Lawrence and Veronica and try to recognize the surrounding peaks and places. Across the meadow, past the hunting observatory, back on forest path towards the pond. The task here is mostly for those who can rime. We take a look at a smaller mill and the inflow of the water. Then the path leads us back to the Močivnik farm, where the local dog greets us. Soon we notice a bell tower of Podgorje parish church of St. Urh.

Look at me, I am a princess

After we finished the path, we go to Slovenj Gradec, where we take some time to see the city center. We park on the parking lot next to the monuments of national heroes, from here we continue to the Trg svobode (en. Square of liberty), where there are many interesting structures – from monuments, churches, city-parish to old buildings. From here to Glavni trg (en. Main square), where we observe diverse monuments, sculptures, and other heritage of the city. Past birth house of Hugo Wolf, composer, who was born here on March 13th, 1860. After walking 9 kilometre along the Green path and some in the city its self, we became hungry, so we went to the local restaurant. After eating, we wander a little more around the city and explore the attractions. In the end, we pass medieval walls to the park, where a young cherry was planted to commemorate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Slovenia.

In Slovenj Gradec
Trg svobode (en. Square of liberty)
Hugo Wolf birth house

As we had some more time, on our way home, we stopped at Velenje lake. Velenje lake is one of the lakes that are the consequence of underground excavations of coal. The area of sinking does not yet have a final shape. The water in the lakes is very clean and full of fishes. Beside of Velenje lake, there are two more lakes, Družmirje lake, and Škale lake. There are many recreational and cycling routes around the lakes. We end our trip by visiting Velenje lake. We leave the Šaleška valley full of beautiful memories. Carinthia has been written to our memory and we will visit these places many more times. The day was unique for such a trip, despite the slight cold we did not let ourselves be disturbed.

Velenje lake

We invite you to see the gallery, which was created during our trip, maybe it will convince you to visit Green path, Podgorje, Slovenj Gradec, or Velenje lake. We invite you to take your time and visit Carinthia, we believe you will be thrilled. In the end, we invite you to like this post and share it with your friends. Remember, you can follow new discoveries and stories on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Tik Tok. You can see the entire Green path on Sports Tracker.

 

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