• europe,  slovenia,  SZ,  unesco world heritage

    Digging for liquid metal: heritage of mercury.

    As a chemistry teacher, I have a profound interest in the chemical elements that build our planet. As a geology enthousiast, looking for minerals is also a natural reflex for me. So if there is a world heritage site dedicated to the mining and exploitation of such a rare and peculiar element as mercury, I definitely want to see it. We’ve visited the ex-coal mine of Essen Zollverein last year and we loved it, so we were definitely looking forward to this one! I know that my students are always astonished about the sheer mass of a bottle of pure mercury. But that’s not the only reason why this element…

  • europe,  slovenia,  SZ

    Where Lipizzaners come from…

    When the Austrian Archduke Charles, son of Ferdinand I, established a stud farm in (then) Lipizza to breed horses for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, this was the start of a breeding process that finally resulted in the development of an elegant, white breed known as the Lipizzaner. It is a cross between Spanish Andalusian horses, the local Karst breed and white Arabian horses, and particularly suited for parades and dressage. Although the foals are grey or brown at birth, these horses lose their pigment between the age of 5-10, thus obtaining their characteristic white colour. The stud farm is situated in the village of Lipica, only a 25-minutes…

  • europe,  slovenia,  SZ

    Fun things to do in Ljubljana, even when it’s pooring rain…

    For a traveller, the weather is always that one undesired factor of unpredictability. Especially when you are having your summer holiday in a Mediterranean country (i.c. Slovenia), you don’t really anticipate long periods of heavy rain. But there we were, end of July, expecting lots of sun, but receiving a much more humid sensation… We were camping near Kranj, in the Julian Alps, and we were aware that the weather could be slightly unpredictable in this area, but 3 days of pooring rain was enough for us to leave for warmer conditions (in our case that was the northern coast of Croatia). During those three days, we were constantly in…