Chestnut Island on the Krka river
We found a lovely place to form part of a daytrip out into Slovenia's East along the bottle green Krka river. It's also a great option for a stop off visit if you are heading towards Croatia, Zagreb direction.
You can take the motorway towards Zagreb or meander along the beautiful country roads if you have more time.. both ways you land in the South Eastern corner of Slovenia, where they make a light and fruity red wine, called Cvicek. , another of Slovenia's unique wines.
We visited a huge old monastery that has been converted into an art gallery displaying the paintings, sketches and sculptures of several very talented Slovenian masters.
It's big and pink, in fact the largest gallery in Slovenia, so if you are into art give yourself enough time to see it all, or if you might like exploring the building and surroundings, with a smaller interest in art you will still need at least an hour. (Please don't be scared or put off by the name of this amazing place, it's Bozidar Jakac, if you need to look it up)!
Outside, in the grounds there are dozens & dozens of large and often crazy wooden sculptures littering the landscape and you could have a really nice pick nick here with a wander around all these artworks. (Each year there is a sculptures festival and yet more mysterious new wooden masterpieces appear!)
We saw some space invaders off in the distance, some bread rolls on a stick and there are so many other different wooden creations here, we really have never seen anything like it.. all this in a very beautiful setting!
The other main focus of this mini region is the unpronounceable town of Kostanjevica, which means "Chestnut" fortunately, so that is what we call this idyllic place!
The town is perched upon a little island completely encircled by the mighty green Krka river and accessed by a creaky wooden bridge across the river.. This is a very little island town, but there are a few restaurants and cafes, so a great place to admire the river and maybe watch the rowing boats on the water.. maybe rent one yourselves!
The best way to do a day trip to this mini region from the Lodge is to zip along the motorway after breakfast to get here in the morning and then take your time coming home on the country roads.. there are a lot of options for mini stop offs on the way here or on the way home.
There is a very cool castle, (above left), Otocek, now converted into a hotel that sits on another island on this same bottle green river not far from Chestnut.
You could also follow the river back to it's souce at a little village called Krka. We stopped off in the town of Novo Mesto and found a lovely little tea house next to the old bridge overlooking the river. (Anyone who has had tea on the bridge at Bath in England, will be reminded of the café upon bridge experience!)
If you do follow the Krka river back towards the Lodge, then also be sure to stop at Cucumber castle, (Zuzemberg), which is one of the most fun castles to explore and run around in the whole of Green Slovenia!