Slovenia's Chelsea Flower Show!
The Chelsea Flower show is London's annual Garden event showing off traditional and the latest inspirations in world garden design and we were heavily reminded of this showpiece event when we rocked up at the totally unpronounceabubble Mozirski Gardens on the shore of the stunning Savinjska river!
As usual with our passion for discovering Slovenia's secret places, we knew very little about this place apart from it was like a beautiful gardens.. So we decided to finally drop in here on the way back from a trip to do the wonderful Velenje coal mine tour.
Now usually our secret places are just so special and different like waterfalls, gorges, hidden bridges or caves that you probably have nothing like it in your own country and even if you do, then you couldnt just pop there and mix your day out with say a swim in the Mediterranaen sea or climb an Alpine mountain like in Slovenia!
But you probably all have beautiful parks and gardens in your own country, so you might be thinking, why on earth are these guys recommending this place.. I want to see Baby Dragons and vineyards!
Well, like we said, this place was an excellent stop off on the way back from Velenje, but is equally well placed on the way to the uberstunning Logar valley, not far from Celje as well.. so for a 2 hour visit, it can add something different to your day and will certainly bring a smile to your face.
Maybe the kids need a bit of running around, or you need a nice relaxing stroll, but we were very pleasantly surprised that this park is not just a beautiful gardens.. A bit like the Chelsea Flower show, it is split into lots and lots of mini gardens with different designs, themes, flora & fauna.. also buildings and sculptures of different shapes and sizes.
It certainly surprised and inspired us and do you know the best bit.. there is a very very good restaurant in the park also!!
So the correct name of this place is Mozirski Gaj.. (Gardens), but don't worry we still can't even say this properly. The car park is typically small, so you might need to squeeze in and there is a log cabin where you get your ticket. Then head off into the gardens and you can pretty much do a large circle lap and see just about everything.
The mini region where these gardens are located is absolutely stunning, close to the Savinjksa river and mountains with little villages dotted all along the road. Look at a map and find Velenje, then look a bit left, spot the river and you will find it.
If you have time then give about 2 hours at least to explore the park.. it's biggish, but manageable. The different gardens are sponsored by Slovenian companies and it is fair to say you might have a park like this at home, but it won't have these Slovenian themes with little cottages, traditional wooden buildings, huge bees, quirky benches and even a little church.
You can hear the river that flows next to the park and whilst it is not technically an island, you do get that fresh island feeling while strolling around. We absolutely loved this place and you will very probably get an idea or two for your own garden!
The only thing we slightly turned our noses up at was that with the ticket you get a voucher for a free glass of wine at the "restaurant" .. which usually means the food is rubbish! But how wrong were we! Actually the lovley homely restaurant popped up at the end of our walk and was absolutely fantastic.. we loved it!
The owners are very friendly and very knowledgeable about Slovenian wine and local food. Their wine list is amazing.. they have wines from all over Slovenia, which is something we also do at the Lodge and not common in Slovenia, but there are so many vineyards in this little country that we got the chance to try wine we didnt know about! The winelist was sooooo good that we really didnt bother to take our free glass!
They also have local craft beers, a great menu and will cook your meal in front of you on the open barbeque depending what you order. If the local trout is offered in any shape or form, then take it! This lovley restaurant was a complete surprise to us and the icing on the cake to make our 3 hour visit here a memorable one.
Mozirski Gaj is a very different place.. maybe you wouldnt even expect to find it here in Slovenia amongst all those natural green wonders, but it will put a massive smile on your face, is a sea of tranquility and has a fantastic position so that it can easily become part of a daytrip to the East of Green Slovenia and appear as the last item on your day's agenda with just a 1hr 20 drive home to the Lodge!
And check out this amazing fact.. the stunning river that flows past these gardens is called the Savinjska and if you have been lucky enough to visit the amazing Logar valley (Logarska Dolina) and climbed up to the Eagle's nest cafe to see the fantastic Rinka waterfall.. well.. this is actually where this very same 102km long river starts its journey!! Wow, wow and double wow.. and if you havent been to the Logar valley.. trust us.. you need to go there!