29 October 2017

Weekend getaway for two to Prekmurje

I haven’t written anything in a while. There has been so much going on, but also I was a bit lazy, so it is about time I keep up to date.

And where better to start than with a perfect weekend getaway for two.

I don't know, perhaps it was the atmosphere or simply I just needed it: to get away, to have some quality time with my hubby, to not to think about anything but us.

Between family, work, my projects and other obligations, we sometimes forget that we need to nurture »us«. Well, you know how it goes, it’s not that you forget it just happens and the whole year has passed by.

But few times a year we take the time off of everything but us. This time it was even more special as it was our anniversary.

And as always we choose culinary destination first and from there we searched for places to see on the way.

The destination was Prekmurje, the north-east region bordering on Austria on the North and Hungary on the Est, renowned for its pumpkin oil, water mills on river Mura, pottery and storks. After browsing for sights that we would want to visit during the day, we couldn’t find anything interesting. Not that there is nothing interesting to see, but we were in Prekmurje few years ago and cross it from one end to the other. So the search for new sights we haven’t seen yet was on.

We simply followed our path and encountered an interesting example of the restored castle or its ruins.

The ruins of the Žovnek castle

The Žovnek castle is one of the oldest in Slovenia, dating back to 1139. The ruins were restored few years back and the mild restoration projects are still undergoing.

The Žovnek castle is sitting on the rock, embraced by the forest and offers one of the most majestic views on the valley and Žovnek Lake. With the autumn colours it was really breathtaking.

The castle is also a great starting point for nearby hikes.

The Štatenberg castle

Our trip led as also to Štatenberg, where one of the most beautiful examples of Renaissance-Baroque architecture in Slovenia - the castle of Štatemberg - reigns.

The castle is not in the greatest state, owned by the private company that apparently doesn’t want to invest in this architectural pearl and thanks only the aims of few eager individualists the state of the castle is not deteriorating. They have even managed to restore the interior, but the façade is in bad condition and many features of the period aren’t visible any more.

Nevertheless, the castle is popular wedding scene as the place and surrounding park is enchanting.

The Štrk Hotel and restaurant Lovenjak mansion

This was our final destination to wrap up a perfect day with delicious food and wine. Prekmurje is renowned also for its culinary speciality and traditional food, such as dödöle (dish based on potatoes), bograč (similar to goulash but with different kinds of meat and vegetable), bujta repa (turnip, pork and millet dish) and gibanica, an energetic dessert of four layers and four different types of filling: cottage cheese, poppy seeds, apples and walnut and only made following a special receipt it is a true gibanica of the region.

The restaurant also makes its own white wine, which was amazing.

But since it is autumn, we did not only taste regional dishes, but also autumn specialities, with the main ingredient – chestnut: chestnut soup, chestnuts as a filling, chestnuts as a dessert, chestnuts everywhere. Chestnut dishes are all very sweet in taste and also get you full after just few bites.

We slept in Hotel Štrk and the property is idle for the families, with a playground and a farm, a small zoo even with domestic animals such as sheep, goats, turkey and geese, but also more exotic animals such as emu, a lama and some cute Vietnamese little pigs.

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