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Living in Idrija by Cecilia

ponedeljek, 18 oktober 2021 08:54

I arrived in Idrija at the beginning of the summer from that same serpentine road that eventually becomes familiar every time one travels back from Ljubljana. Each turn brought me closer to my destination and allowed me to catch a glimpse of Idrija’s surrounding nature. I remember being surprised at the sight of the river’s colours and by how hidden the city was. Coming from a town located within a flat land and after travelling throughout a plain for seven hours, the change in landscape was particularly striking.

I came to Idrija because of the programme Youth for Miners’ Heritage, a European Solidarity Corps group volunteering project organised by the ID20 association and dedicated to the preservation and the promotion of the city’s miners’ houses. Neither had I participated to a similar project before, nor had I visited Slovenia: everything was new and to be discovered.

The activities carried out during the first three weeks of my stay have been a good opportunity to explore the city’s history and traditions. A tour at the local museum and a visit to one of the miners’ houses allowed our group of volunteers to better explore how the town developed, the characteristics of the local architecture, but also to get an insight into the existence of a miner’s family. It became more evident to us how one single industry can eventually greatly influence the expansion of a city as well as different aspects of people’s everyday life. Actively working within a miner’s house also meant directly discovering how life in Idrija was through various objects and documents: pictures, old tools, books, and furniture, each item told us a little bit more about the people who inhabited the building and their personalities.

Working half of the day allowed us to spend the remaining time exploring the surroundings. Living in Idrija throughout the summer certainly means being able to enjoy the river’s freezing waters. Within a few minutes’ walk, one can indeed find different spots to relax, read a book or simply enjoy nature. Swimming however is not the only option: hiking and cycling around let us grasp different, but always unique views. When feeling to travel a little bit further, we also organised some daily trips to the nearby cities, spent a weekend at the lakes or along the coast: it is surprising to notice the difference in landscape even if simply travelling just a few kilometres away.

During the summer season, one also gets to enjoy the warmer weather by participating to some of the events organised in the city. Concerts as well as an open-air cinema were set up almost every week and a couple of festivals took place between July and August: these were always good opportunities to discover local food and drinks. In case no events were going on, we could always visit one of the local restaurants or bars to enjoy a drink, eat some ice cream or try the traditional žlikrofi.

The newly renovated hostel terrace was another spot where to hang out with the other volunteers as well as to encounter guests coming from all over the world. Living at the hostel throughout the summer included seeing many visitors arriving and leaving, discovering their next travel plans, receiving some tips to explore Slovenia, and comparing their impressions about the city. But staying at the hostel was also a good chance to get to know the work that has been carried out at the youth centre: feeling welcomed to take part to their activities and getting to know the group of people working here made my stay even more enriching.

After three months I will now venture along that same serpentine road one last time, now knowing that what awaits you at the end, surrounded by nature, is a small but extremely welcoming city.

Written by Cecilia Bagna

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