The Column with Simone B. Michielen: Destination Slovenia!


This year is the year we will hopefully remember as the year we all got to know our home country a little bit better and not as the year we were defeated by a new virus. I don’t know who came up with the idea of the vouchers to spend on a holiday in our beautiful little country, but it was a good one! Not only people who normally would not be able to go on a holiday are suddenly able to get a break, also the owners of accommodation can count on a new market with a possibility to promote their offer and are assured of some income in difficult times.

So when we had a birthday to celebrate and decided to go to Villa Podvin (remember I bought a voucher during our lock-down?), I suddenly realized Marcel and Uroš also opened this beautiful little boutique hotel in Radovljica. I know Radovljica quite well, not only as a local guide, but also because years ago I had a small pied-a-terre there. Time to go back!

It was beautiful. The Linhart hotel is situated on the old square and the rooms are so nicely decorated by Marcela, well done! The welcome warm and friendly just like the atmosphere of the interior. It seems I am still in love this little town, even on a cold and rainy day… The afternoon in Radovljica was very nice, the places around the square are all nice to visit and of course on less than walking distance of the hotel.

Our dinner. Welcomed in the former stable of the castle we were very happy. The star that appeared between buying the voucher and having dinner obviously had drawn more people to Podvin, it was busy, but otherwise, I was happy to notice the same vibe and even better, the same quality of the food. Served and explained nicely, and even Uros came to say hello during this busy evening. All good. Till we had the last main dish. Suddenly it seemed as if it wasn’t clear anymore who was responsible for our table. The waiting started… to take away the dishes, and to serve our next course. Big deal? No, not really, the food and the vibe was too good to bother. But it was not the first restaurant I noticed a gap between the quality coming out of the kitchen and the staff that serves it. And somehow it does influence the experience.

I think it is not necessary.

A few weeks later, dinner in the vineyard of Ljubljana Castle by Strelec. Of course delicious food (WHICH IDIOT FORGOT TO GIVE IGOR JAGODIC A MICHELIN STAR?) but also the best serving staff ever, just perfect, especially given the circumstances. They noticed everything, were friendly, knew exactly what dish was served and were simply professionals. Wow, what a lovely experience!

By the way, Strelec is one of the very best restaurants in Ljubljana. If you ask me.

Of course, when going out for dinner the first priority is what is served, but never underestimate how much influence the people who serve it have on the total experience. They are maybe not the leading star, but for sure they are the most important co-stars in the show that’s called fine dining.