smartno and kobarid

When working on the itinerary for my trip I wanted to visit a wine region. I decided to visit the Brda region because it looked so beautiful and because of it's proximity to both Croatia and the 
Soča Valley.

As I was going to be staying in Šmartno itself, I booked a room at the Hisa Marica located in the middle of the small walled village. 

Šmartno (St Martin) is named after the church located in the village and the whole village has been declared a cultural heritage monument. It's a very popular destination for hikers and cyclists, so I saw a lot of active wear during my stay.

It was also the start of a few days of rainy weather and with not much else to do other than eat, the in house restaurant at Hisa Marica had no availability for dinner. I put on my puppy dog pleading eyes and asked if they could squeeze me in for an early dinner and I promised to eat quickly. They relented.

As it had been a long drive from Rovinj, I was glad to park the car and walk around the small village, visit the church and take some photos before dinner time. 

It's such a pretty village with stunning vistas.

Slovenia is known for it's cheese (they sneak it into everything!) so at dinner I had goats cheese with figs for my entrée and beef tagliata with mashed potatoes and salad for my main course. The tagliata was the dish of the night and I saw plate after plate of the beef tagliata leave the pass. 

I finished dinner early enough to photograph the sunset.

The next morning I briefly visited the nearby village of Kozana before making my way to Kobarid.

The leaves had started to turn autumnal.

The weather started to turn and by the time I arrived in Kobarid, the rain had set in and it rained all day. 

Kobarid is styled as an adventure activity town with rafting and kayaking on the Soča River and nearby gorges and waterfalls you can visit. It also has narrow streets lined with century old buildings.

Its also an area of historic significance because it was here that the Battle of Caporetto, Italy's largest military defeat, took place in World War I. Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy was its enemy. There is an historic walking trail, which I'd planned to walk, but the foul weather and much of the trail inaccessible due to road maintenance. 

I visited thParish Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in the centre of the town as refuge from the rain. I was the only person there and I found the church in darkness, so it was hard to take any interior photos. 

I decided to visit the ossuary of Saint Anthony, which I could see from my room. The ossuary is a monument to the thousands of soldiers who died on the Italian front and it's located next to the church of St Anthony on a hilltop above Kobarid. 

It's kind of anachronistic as it was built during the time of Mussolini and it's design reflects this era. It dwarfs the tiny centuries old church. I found the simple graves located in the foothills of the memorial very moving.

The heavens opened while I was there and I was drenched. With limited wet weather options available, I visited the Kobarid Museum so I could brush up on my non-existent knowledge of the Battle of Caporetto and to fill in some time before dinner.

I planned to have dinner at Hisa Polonka, a no reservations inn in the middle of Kobarid, across the road from the Museum. I was there when the restaurant opened and had no trouble getting a table. I ordered a salad which was delicious and came topped with home made cottage cheese made from a combination of goats and sheep's milk. It was served with warm homemade sourdough bread and accompanied my bowl of delicious home made potato gnocchi served with a veal ragu. Everything was perfectly simple and simply perfect.

You'll notice the absence of food photos - the room was too dark and it would have done the food no justice. During my trip I watched many other people taking photos of their every meal and I thought it was ridiculous. When I'm hungry I just want to eat, not style and photograph my plate of food.

The next day the weather was much better so I took a little road trip to the charming village of Drežnica.

I pulled over by the roadside and parked the car.

It was a misty old morning and I waited for the fog to lift and the Sacred Heart Church to appear.

I drove into the village before returning to Kobarid.

I then risked my life to take a photo of the historic Napoleon Bridge.The original stone bridge was blown up by Austrian soldiers during WWI, so this bridge is a replacement. The wet weather had churned up the river so it wasn't the spectacular green for which the river is famous.

Once done I returned to the car for the hair raising drive to Lake Bohinj for my next adventure.

See you all again next week with the continuing story.

Bye for now,



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