FEEL THE STORY LIFEST YLE MAGAZINE / 02 / 2017
KO L PA
THE GETAWAY YOU NEED, THE COMFORT YOU WANT.
BIG BERRY A genuine living experience entirely integrated into authentic local environment.
The Kolpa river, Slovenia
BIG BERRY Kolpa river – the ﬁrst to sprout
Slovenia – a green destination
Back in time
A picture of Slovenia
Bela krajina – a region that puts a spell on you
Must see in Bela krajina
A charming region
A friendly place, a friendly people
Interview: New trends in sustainable tourism
A genuine experience
Better than your imagination?
Just a perfect day
NEWS Shaping the Future
RIVER SLOVENIA Boštan Hostej
Did you think you had explored every possible way of spending a holiday? Let us introduce you to something new. Have you ever asked yourself whether the way you spend your annual holiday is the right way for you? Whether there is more to discover? Yes or no, the BIG BERRY Luxury Landscape Resort comes up with a unique, custom made holiday concept. A vacation in our resorts will leave you overwhelmed by the how many things you can see and learn, how many activities you can do and still have time to relax. Can you imagine being at one with nature while still having access to a kitchen, a comfortable bed, a hot shower or a hot tub and, moreover, you can connect to a Wi-Fi? Is this the dream you are looking for? Then welcome to BIG BERRY! BIG BERRY started its journey in Slovenia, where the ﬁrst resort is now fully built and functioning. And it is the ﬁrst of its kind in the country! One advantage of this destination is that it is suitable for everybody. From children, young people and millennials, to elderly couples, from families to business travellers, from explorers to adventurers, Slovenia has it all. You can ﬁnd it in a crystal clear river, in the comfort of open lounge houses or in the pleasure of being taken on trips with our personal chauffeur and guide. You also have countless adventure opportunities to choose from - go cycling around the countryside, kayaking down the river, playing beach volleyball or having a glass of tasty regional wine in a hot tub with friends or a partner. A holiday with BIG BERRY is a getaway you can choose when you are fed up with the famous tourist places and attractions and want something calm and dynamic at the same time. Is it still hard to imagine that such a dream exists? Sign up for your next holiday with BIG BERRY and our lovely team will show you the hidden power of this miraculous destination.
BIG BERRY Kolpa river â€“ the first to sprout
BIG BERRY is a new phenomenon and hospitality concept, although it established itself relatively quickly and has already opened houses in several destinations in Europe. And, of course, each destination is different and unique. The resort in Slovenia is the ďŹ rst to fully establish BIG BERRYâ€™s concept and bring it to life. It was a rather smart step to start at this location since Slovenia is not that wellknown as a tourist destination. Many people have no clue about its beauty and hidden treasures. But this is about to change.
A GREEN DESTINATION
Slovenia is located in central Europe and is easily accessible from many places. It is also well worth visiting! Slovenia is the ďŹ rst country in the world to be declared a green destination based on the Green Destination Criteria. Its capital city Ljubljana was awarded the European Green Capital in 2016. Slovenia has many unspoilt and protected areas, gorgeous landscapes and breath-taking natural phenomenon. They are unknown to many travellers but the country offers some amazing opportunities, especially for people who love hiking, the countryside, forests or wine.
On top of the world in every sense
Even serial visitors to Slovenia like myself often stop and stare, mesmerised by the sheer beauty of this land. The wondrous bucolic valley of Logarska Dolina brings heaven to earth, and at the dramatic Vršič pass through the Alps, I feel on top of the world in every sense. I can never tire of the wonderful and varied architecture, the excellent wines and traditional dishes, and the vibrant folk culture. But for me the country’s greatest attribute is the Slovenes themselves: quietly conservative, deeply self-conﬁdent, remarkably broadminded, especially tolerant and very, very hospitable. Steve Fallon, www.lonelyplanet.com
With its oldest vine (400 years old found in Maribor), half of the country’s total area covered with forest, over 7000 km of marked trails, 165 mountain huts and shelters, a huge number of widespread vineyards and around 10,000 caves, Slovenia will convince you that it is a really rich and welcoming country. Although the coastline of Slovenia measures only 46 km, it is beautiful and worth visiting, too. Fortunately, this country has a lot more to offer than the sea. It also has many rivers with calcite beds, which makes their colour beautifully aquamarine. Such a river ﬂows in south-east Slovenia – in the Bela krajina region, where the ﬁrst BIG BERRY resort is located.
A precious land
Eastern Europe is a very different matter. The Balkan countries just seem to have escaped the commercialisation that has dominated so many other places in Europe. There are still so many wide open areas that you can get lost in and that makes them very precious to the modern day traveller. Lucy Ruthnum, www.absolutelylucy.com
PRIMOSTEK The BIG BERRY Luxury Landscape resort is situated in a small village called Primostek. The name could be translated as “by the bridge”, as it stands by the bridge over the Lahinja river. It also crosses the shortest road connecting the towns of Metlika and Črnomelj. For this reason, it has been an important strategic point for a long time. The river is also symbolic for BIG BERRY’s concept, as it is bridging the gap between the tranquil and traditional Bela krajina region and the modern dynamic world. In Slovenia, especially in the South, many places have a story or legend hidden behind their names. The same goes for the village where the ﬁrst BIG BERRY resort is located. It is said that there was a wealthy family travelling through in a luxury carriage. When they ran across the bridge, it suddenly began to shatter. The family were screaming “primi most!”, which means “hold the bridge” and that’s how Primostek got its name. This was apparently the ﬁrst inkling of bringing luxury to this place. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a successful move back then. However, so far, BIG BERRY has transported 7 luxurious “carriages” over the bridge, which now function as comfortable homes along the river. Fortunately, nothing has collapsed and visitors can fully enjoy the charm and beauty of the region.
The BIG BERRY resort on the Kolpa river has a few houses tranquilly nested alongside the river. The purpose of the resort is to preserve the calm and not to over-crowd the atmosphere so every guest can connect with nature. The resort consists of a reception and 7 houses for guests â€“ ďŹ ve of them can accommodate 6 people, one house is for 4 and another one is perfect for 2 people. There is also a barbeque house - a perfect place for everyone, whether they need some rest or want to eat delicious food. The BBQ has been the arena of several cooking competitions, international food and drink parties, networking events and gatherings with local friends and neighbours.
A unique getaway
Staying in a cosy bed, having your own well-equipped kitchen, a sizeable rain shower and personal hot tub is enjoyable right? But how often do you ﬁnd this kind of experience amongst pristine natural parklands alongside a ﬂowing river with steps that descend right into it? Well I found it! Shanti Burton, www.awanderphile.com
There are several open lounge houses on the large green yard that can be used for sunbathing or sleeping during the warm summer nights under the clear sky. You can see almost every star above Bela krajina since it is an area with perfect conditions for gazing at the sky. You can also sleep inside the houses, of course. Despite their small dimensions, they are unbelievably comfortable and convenient everything a person needs.
The perfect getaway
At one with nature
It’s a perfect getaway for nature lovers who like to enjoy the comfort of the modern home even when they are camping or glamping. Maja, www.mikstejp.com
While you’ll see that nothing about the BIG BERRY homes is even remotely comparable to a tent, it was surprising how closely connected I felt to nature. This is where the lifestyle element comes into play. Natasha Amar, www.thebohochica.com
The real value is waiting outside the BIG BERRY houses as you prepare a morning coffee, sit on the terrace or jump into the hot-tub and watch birds ﬂying from one branch to another, ﬁshes jumping out of the water, children playing on the other side of the river, other guests drifting along with the stream in kayaks to see even more of the resort and its surroundings. Sometimes, you can see some brave people trying to balance on a slackline or working out in the open air, practising yoga or ﬁshing... The camp manager is cutting the grass to maintain the perfect length and interns are cycling back and forth between the houses and the reception preparing some interesting event. There is always something happening in the resort but its 25 acres means that you will always have enough space and privacy. You will always ﬁnd a room and an activity suitable for you and your needs.
Back in time
Back in time
Rural Sloveniaâ€™s mission is clear and simple. It teleports you into the previous century as you pass crumbling houses, peak into old stables and watch craftsmen passionately working on their art. Ivana Greslikova, Gianni Bianchini, www.nomadisbeautiful.com
Visiting some places in Slovenia can feel as though you have travelled back in time. It is a feeling that everybody would like to experience once in a while. When time slows down, you begin to feel rested just by being somewhere. Many places in the world can make you feel this way and Slovenia is one of them.
A PICTURE OF SLOVENIA
This miraculous feeling is waiting for you in Slovenia – especially in the South, where the land is not affected by mass tourism and you can quietly receive the beauty that is offered to you from every side. Even just driving through Slovenia is an experience in itself. Passing through rounded hills and lush green landscapes – a countryside devoid of unnecessary disturbing elements like billboards …
Driving through Slovenia is a calm event that ﬁlls you with peace. Even if you weren’t aiming to get into that state of mind, it just happens. Sometimes, it is also good to just get lost in this country. You never know what mother nature has prepared for you. Whether it is a beautiful small church on the top of a hill or a natural sight straight from a fairy tale - you just have the urge to stop and see the beauty from the top of it and feel the history impregnated with so many stories that is hidden behind it. There are many regions in Slovenia that vary in landscape – the Julian Alps in the northwest, endless vineyards in the northeast, countless caves in the south-west and the uncommercialised area of the south – where you can ﬁnd the BIG BERRY resort. One of these regions is called Bela krajina and it is quite a spectacular place.
A colourful country
Forget black and white, everything in Slovenia is blue and green: blue rivers, green forests, blue skies... Seriously, a typical landscape in Slovenia will look something like this: an aquamarine river, surrounded by electric green ferns, grass, moss and trees. In the foreground, there will be cute rolling emerald-green hobbit-hills and in the distance, a formidable mountain covered in trees that are so dense the green actually looks like midnight blue. Top the image with an azure blue sky and we’ve painted a picture of Slovenia. Laura Cody, Tanbay Theune, www.travellingweasels.com
BEL A KR A J I N A A REGION THAT PUTS A SPELL ON YOU
Have you ever wanted to come back to a certain place without knowing why? That’s exactly the case with Bela krajina (or ‘White Carniola’). There are many stories about people who came to this region, whether accidentally or planned, spent some time there and left for home with something that remained within them – the urge to come back. One of BIG BERRY’s team members from Spain is a living example – she return to Bela krajina not once but 7 times!
There must be something extraordinary hidden in this place. One is clear enough – the people living there play the main role. Bela krajina is the second poorest region in Slovenia but the people are rich in kindness. The way they live and spend their days and their hospitality leaves an impression in every visitor. Since most of the people know each other, they trust themselves and also trust strangers. Often, when going for a walk, it happens that one is suddenly invited into the house of some locals - just to chat or taste their home-made wine. And that’s not rare at all. Almost every family in Bela krajina produces their own wine. Locals also pick up hitch-hikers – it doesn’t matter if the driver speaks English or not. Moreover, they are willing to drive people somewhere they were not even about to go. It can be said that unlike many places in the world, people there really appreciate the presence of tourists. Almost the whole of Bela krajina is countryside. This is why it is possible to discover really beautiful unspoilt places, little rivers, springs and waterfalls, ﬁelds, meadows and much more…
The green land
Bela Krajina impressed me with its mostly ﬂat and hilly landscape. Travelling through the region, everything you see is lush green scenery that can ﬁght even the grumpiest weather that haunted us during our visit. Julia Vukova, time2travel.bg
Must see in
BELA KRAJINA You could be forgiven for thinking that anything of beauty in this colourful land is all natural. However, there are many human interventions here and they donâ€™t appear disturbing in any way. Moreover, they perfectly blend with the natural landscape.
38 A good example could be St. Ana’s church in Vidošiči nestled on the hilltop, creating a perfect harmony with the vineyards sprawling across the softly undulating hills below. Also worthy of note is the Magdalenska Stena viewpoint, which is located only a few kilometres away from the BIG BERRY Luxury Landscape resort. There used to be a chapel on the top of it, but sadly it was destroyed during the Ottoman rule and the tower’s bell sank into the Kolpa river. What remained, though, is the legend that this bell can still be heard from the bottom of the river. Another very important historic landmark in Bela Krajna is the Tri Fare Pilgrimage Centre at Rosalnice – 3 gothic churches that date back to the 12th century. It is an impressive pilgrimage sight and one you are unlikely to ﬁnd anywhere else in the world. Another amazing sight you can see is from the Kozice viewpoint at 640m above sea level - from there you can see the winding ﬂow of the Kolpa river separating 2 countries. Pusti Gradec - with its still working mill dating from 1900 and the old saw built in 1914 – is situated in the Lahinja Regional Park and is another must-see in the region. It is taken care of by the Klepec family, who do all they can to promote this hundred years old agricultural tradition.
Walking down through the woods to the source of the Krupa river was like stepping into a fairy-tale. Dragonﬂies lazily skimmed the surface of the emerald pool that was bubbling out from beneath the perfectly manicured limestone cliffs towering high above. The whole area is karst, which makes for some great river and cave viewing! The Krupa is only a couple of kilometres long but a more magical stretch of tranquil water you won’t ﬁnd, I’m sure. Heather Cole, www.conversanttraveller.com
A huge white wall, green everywhere, clear water and a peaceful abandoned house makes this place looks like something from out of this world. I truly felt as though I was living in a dream or something. Marcela & Philip, www.fotostrasse.com
We can talk all day about the cleanness and relaxing powers of the Kolpa river. But even more importantly, the Kolpa river belongs among the selection of sustainable tourism development models across the European Union – EDEN, European Destinations of Excellence. The Kolpa river is also a natural border between south-east Slovenia and north-west Croatia. The two countries share the river so you can easily ﬁnd yourself crossing the border just by swimming or kayaking – and you don’t have to carry your passport with you!
Crossing borders without your passport?
In Primostek, the Kolpa receives inﬂux from the river Lahinja from the left, then passes Vrbovsko, and eventually detaches from the Slovenian border beyond Metlika. The river ﬂows through some very important points that BIG BERRY guests can surely visit. This ﬁrst resort couldn’t possibly be in a better location.
How often do you get to wake up between two countries? Situated on the banks of the Kolpa river, the BIG BERRY Luxury Landscape Resort is located in Slovenia. But if you fancy taking a swim, make sure you bring your passport, since Croatia is just metres away from your front door. Barry Thumb, www.toolsoftravel.com
A place to be
The Kolpa River is clean and relatively unknown, making it an optimal spot for campers. In the summer, it offers great kayaking conditions, rowing for beginners, and is terriﬁc for those who like to ﬁsh. Natasha Alden, www.theworldpursuit.com
A CHARMING REGI O N
Bela krajina has its own charm, as do the people living there. It is far from overcrowded. There are just enough people to make you feel at home welcomed and in place. Every person in Bela krajina will try to show you the hospitality of the region. This is why it is one of the best places to visit in the world.
A F R I E N D LY P L A C E
A FRIENDLY PEOPLE
In the dynamic environment we now live in, we always have the feeling that there is no time or space to stop and relax, everything annoys us and we feel frustrated with living in a hurry. We have the urge to get away to somewhere nice and calm, even to somewhere a bit lost.
Bela krajina could be just the right solution. This is an ideal place to disconnect from the bothersome daily routine and to be seduced by the many tourist attractions that this peaceful area has to offer. There are not many people living in this region and those you meet are particularly nice and friendly, kind and hospitable. They are willing to show you the way, or to invite you into their homes and offer their wine or bread. The same goes for the BIG BERRY resort – you never know who will be the next interesting person you meet. Besides the international team members that work and live in the resort and take care of everything, BIG BERRY also invites people who lead various workshops from cooking and dancing to hula hoop and slackline professionals. When it comes to cooking, there is one particular person that can make all of your food dreams come true - Andreja Veselič. She is one of BIG BERRY’s partners and owns a restaurant just around the corner in a nearby village. Andreja provides quick workshops on how to prepare Belokrajinska Pogača - the traditional regional bread – or any other meal that is typical for the area. If anyone knows how to impress people with delicious food and generosity, it is her.
Everyone in Bela Krajina seems happy and friendly. But when I think about it now, maybe it’s because of the wine. Maria Stoyanova, www.travellingbuzz.com
In t e r v i e w :
NEW TRENDS I N S U S TA I N A B L E TO U R I S M Opting for a new model of sustainable tourism is the key to advancing in the hospitality industry, especially when it comes to rural areas. The welcoming region of Bela krajina is characterised as a quiet area with incipient tourism attracted by its unspoilt nature, culture and traditions. Peter ÄŒrniÄ?, director of the tourist organisation RIC Bela krajina, shares with us his views on developing a sustainable tourism model in a non-touristic, but high-potential area such as Bela krajina. The RIC organisation is responsible for promoting the resources of the region and helping tourism businesses in different areas. Seizing the opportunity to interview him, we offer his views on this matter below.
Could you explain your role in the institution you lead? Our organisation is a bit unique since we work in different ﬁelds. One of these ﬁelds, for example, is foreign investment, another is entrepreneurship and incubators, we also organise festivals and are engaged in the tourism development of landscapes, parks and museums – so it’s a very diverse organisation. My role involves all the director roles like organising the institution, taking care of ﬁnances and our ﬁnancial sources and our aim is to represent the Bela krajina region on different levels. Knowing the tourism trends today, what is the most important matter to consider? The trends in the world right now are that tourists are becoming more and more individual, they are searching for information on the web themselves, they are connected all the time, so they need easy and accessible information. That is why the Internet needs to provide a lot of information for tourists. Thus, it is important from the marketing point of view – it seems that ﬁrsthand opinion is very important now. Of course, social media enables people to share their opinion about destinations with all their friends and that is a new phenomenon that was not present 10 or 20 years ago. According to the statistics, 20 percent of tourists now belong to the millennial generation and are looking for experience and something to learn about.
What kind of tourism model characterises the region of Bela krajina? If we are talking about what is attractive in Bela krajina, speaking about regions in general, it is the rural areas in many cases and is very hard to point out just one thing. Enjoying a rural region means enjoying the atmosphere and the mix of culture, nature and food of a certain place. It is all about the experience. Bela krajina is currently in the development phase. This means that we are still developing the tourist offer of the region. In the past, there was quite a lot to offer the groups of tourists but we are still lacking a proper offer for the individual tourist. What do you think are the attractions of the area that tourists appreciate the most? During the summer, it is the Kolpa river that attracts a lot of tourists. During the cold season, the main attraction could be the wine producers. However, we could say that Bela krajina brings a speciﬁc feeling and a certain way to live – and this is what should be properly offered and presented to the tourists. What is your opinion on the tourism model of the BIG BERRY Luxury Landscape Resort? Honestly, I think that the way BIG BERRY approached this investment with the new camping or glamping site is the proper way. I think they are kind of trendsetters in the way they use social media and I reckon this is certainly the ﬁrst example of such an approach in Slovenia.
What do you think about the partnership concept that BIG BERRY follows? Well, I also think they are one of the leaders in the sense of connecting all the different producers from Bela krajina and, at the same time, giving them a chance to present themselves in the resort and to sell their products through BIG BERRY. This is quite unique and I imagine that in the future, this will be a key solution to make our tourists stay a bit longer. So I really think that tourists who come to BIG BERRY will get a very good overview of Bela krajina and thus they will enjoy their stay. What do you think will be the tourism area of the future? The way things are currently developing in the world actually give us a major chance to develop tourism even more here – in Bela krajina. Of course, we should be developing our tourism on a sustainable base. We are a natural destination and it is very important for us to remain sustainable – to remain green. We are putting a lot of effort into this process and will continue building it up. Social media and the new generations are giving us a big opportunity in the sense of presenting our region. The trends are showing us that vacations are getting shorter and in recent years, people have not been travelling so far away. That means we also need to focus on Slovenia’s neighbouring countries. However, the future gives us a massive opportunity and we need to be very careful about Balkan tourism. There is this chance, though, and it depends a lot on us, on the stance we will take.
Sometimes our wanderlust takes us to crowded places where everything screams with joy. Other times, we ﬁnd ourselves happily following the urge for peace, silence and solitude. Then, suddenly, we realise what the secret is we are treated to local, quality products and “procedures” by the ever-present team guiding us through this unique experience.
Agritourism It is not that a variety of festivals or must-see tourist destinations aren’t good enough. It is more about the right choice for what people need nowadays. In this consumption-driven society where one can hardly ﬁnd time for a momentary stop to rethink and revaluate their lives, BIG BERRY couldn’t place its ﬁrst resort in a better place. It is not just the nature that causes an instant recharging of our worn-out inner batteries, it is also the way of spending the holiday here.
A perfect insight
The concept of BIG BERRY consists of more complex elements. It focuses on close relationships with other companies and boosting the local economy. The food is from local eco-farms and restaurants. Guests can visit the partner producers and businesses. They can attend a wine or craft beer degustation in Crnomelj, for instance. There is the option of rafting on the Kolpa river, sightseeing of historical attractions where you can learn a lot about the history of the region, a range of oil degustations (yes, indeed!) and many more tempting options for spending your time. Dimitar Ganev, trud.bg
One could consider Bela krajina a bit undeveloped. However, it is exactly the reverse! The richness is reďŹ‚ected in the small, local businesses within the region, whether it is a hay barn, a quaint farmstead or the variety of local purveyors. Staying at BIG BERRY, you will discover some of the many vineyards and wine cellars, taste their wine and enjoy a beautiful sunset while doing so. You can also discover other unique places and try some traditional crafts and activities - from egg painting or berry picking to experiencing a lesson in a local school in the way it was done in 1957. It is all there.
A huge part of BIG BERRY’s concept is to settle down, look around, ﬁnd local producers and connect with them. And since the Bela krajina region doesn’t offer that much in terms of job opportunities, the locals need to be inventive and create their own businesses. This becomes an advantage for both BIG BERRY and for them, because when two units work together, they become stronger and their potential increases. Units thus working together create a very interesting pattern. Together they weave a web consisting of small, unique businesses. They support each other and, ﬁrst and foremost, they offer a quality service and an authentic experience – something that is often lost in big cities.
In Bela Krajina, it is mostly about the local wineries, breweries, bakeries and small farms where animals still breathe the fresh air outside the cattle house... When visiting the BIG BERRY resort on the Kolpa river, you can taste homemade local “Pogača” bread, various kinds of high-quality home-made cold-pressed oils, including very healthy hemp oils, chocolate pralines and liquors made with love, have a lunch or dinner in one of the local restaurants, taste a sparkling wine, delectable jam, honey and many more local delights… In some days you are even able to bake your own Pogača bread in one of our partner bakeries, paint eggs with Domača obrt Cvitkovič, say hello to the cows that provide you with delicious genuine yoghurts in Kmetija Štrucelj, then have a nice lunch at Gostilna Müller in Črnomelj or Gostišče Veselič in Podzemelj, which you can also reach by bike since it’s not so far from the resort. After that, you can rest in the resort and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. In the evening, a guide will take you to a wine or beer degustation with some of the best beverages of Bela krajina. Then you can return to the resort and can go right into the hot tub that has been waiting for you the whole day. It almost sounds like a fairy tale but in Bela krajina all of this is possible.
All have different stories and desires, but they deﬁnitely have one thing in common. They are ready to cooperate, share common interests and speak in the name of the whole region and the community. In the end, what’s more impressive than hearing the story from the person behind the product itself? Anika Mikkelson, www.missmaps.com
BASKETS Staying at BIG BERRY, you have nothing to worry about. The good care begins even before you wake up as a breakfast basket full of local treasures has been dropped off at your house. The only effort you will need for a delightful breakfast will be to uncover what that basket is hiding inside. This is actually one of the best moments during the day - having a nice coffee on the terrace overlooking the Kolpa river, eating fresh Pogača bread with different ﬂavours (bacon, cumin, cheese or salt), tasting a delicious Zlati ghee also in different ﬂavours (trufﬂes, sesame, garlic and parsley) or chocolate, then ending your breakfast with a sweet croissant and fresh yoghurt, picked up from the farm just a few minutes before or with delicious jam from a local producer! In the breakfast basket, you will also ﬁnd fresh fruit, milk, delicious home-made Lamut juice, cheese or müsli. Anything you need for a perfect morning! A welcome basket is also waiting for you when you ﬁrst arrive at your BIG BERRY house. This time, as well as some of the foods listed above, it is ﬁlled with local wine and beer and a welcome letter with all the important information about the resort and the local foods.
It is very easy to get to know any of the attractions that the world offers us nowadays. All the information is just a few clicks away. What is hard to imagine, however, is the actual connection with nature woven through luxury and various activities. Take a step into the journey through an authentic BIG BERRY experience!
BET TER T H A N YO U R I M AG I N AT I O N ?
BIG BERRY is proud to be a life changer or at least â€ža wake-up callâ€œ to workaholics, adrenaline addicts and travellers. Everybody in BIG BERRY experiences the bliss of peace. Every guest is spoiled by the luxurious service provided. You can have it all: soak into a massage bath, start the day with breakfast in a basket delivered right to your terrace, enjoy the serenity, read a book, swing on the chair or take a tour to meet local people and discover the charms of the destination.
And everywhere I look, I see green. Lush green pastures, tall verdant trees. It is beautiful and peaceful and what I love the most about it is the dewy feeling of the wet grass. Rossi Thomson, rossiwrites.com
We realise that it is a major advantage to be located in an area that has so much to offer. Because of its unique location, BIG BERRY is able to deliver a true, authentic experience, just as you have always imagined. Or maybe even more than that! In Bela krajina, it is all about making the most of the local knowledge and enjoying places that very few tourists have ever seen! The whole experience feels rather exclusive. There is virtually no tourist infrastructure here in the region, and whilst some may feel it is lacking in activities, for others this is the very essence of what Bela krajina is all about. You don’t come here for big attractions and tours. You come here to experience rural life as a local and to appreciate the natural beauty of this unspoilt hidden corner of Slovenia. You can jump into the river right after you wake up or to cool down after coming home from a woodland hike, bike or a horse ride. Just a perfect recovery. On the way to the reception, where the guide is waiting to introduce you to another handful of rejuvenating and fulﬁlling activities and attractions, you can see the cows living just next to the resort and their offsprings running and jumping around, enjoying life and reaping the full beneﬁts of the green and widespread grasslands. And this view is also available when you are fed up with watching television in the house and you decide to pull up the window shades. And there is nature. Everywhere around you...
PERFECT DAY Waking up with the shining sun, tying your shoelaces, locking the front door and jumping into the car that is waiting to take you to the nearby gym... That’s how you can kick off your day in BIG BERRY. The Muay Thai Gym “Direct” is located in the town of Metlika and it takes you only few minutes to get there. Morning training is led by the former boxing trainer Janko, who is also an occasional barbeque chef in the resort. Janko will beat out of you all the tension left from your busy everyday life. You leave the gym in sweet pain but with an elated feeling, while still having a massive dose of positive energy to use throughout the day.
There are still countless activities waiting to be done. After you come back from the gym, you can enjoy your breakfast in silence and tranquillity or in the hot tub. Or do you fancy a beer? Well, BIG BERRY will take you to where they brew their own! The Vizir Brewery, only a few kilometres away from the resort, will introduce you to several beers of various colours, tastes and ways of preparation. What about archery? You scored a bull’s eye when choosing BIG BERRY as a holiday destination. Yes, you can try it, but be careful not to hurt your hands! Let’s suggest something smoother – rafting down the river could be just the perfect adrenaline-ﬁlled activity you are looking for. The best relaxation after such an intensive day would deﬁnitely be any sort of meditation. There are plenty of possibilities to do this in the resort and the area in general. Those who are lucky enough to come at the perfect time can experience an extraordinary gong session performed by “Gong master” Dušan M.Z. Badovinac. He is also the person behind the production of Zlati GHEE – a clariﬁed butter with many ﬂavours, also one of BIG BERRY’s local partners. When you get fed up staying in one place, you can always grab a bike and enjoy sightseeing around the area. And that can be the best experience of all!
And then the nature reigns supreme: the croaking of frogs, cows grazing a few meters away, the chirping of birds in the morning and the storks who have twice been a short walk from our cottage. Francesca, www.patatofriendly.com
92 2016 was a spectacular year for Slovenia and Bela krajina. Awarded a Green Destination of Europe and visited by tens and hundreds of media representatives as part of BIG BERRY’s project, the country and the region started attracting even more tourists. The goal is to preserve the sustainable collaboration between visitors who stay just for their vacation and local businesses who keep the traditions alive and maintain the development of the area in the long-term. That way, both tourists and locals will beneﬁt from the tourism development. Tourists are getting an authentic Slovenian experience, visit unknown and unspoilt places and spend a great vacation time in a beautiful country. Locals share their knowledge and products, expand their businesses, get noticed and appreciated.
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This is also what BIG BERRY wants to keep doing in the future - to be a trendsetter in other locations as well, to provide unique and authentic hospitality experiences and to support the local communities while doing so. With the successfully implemented development strategy and increased interest in Bela krajina, BIG BERRY is ready to spread its message and hospitality model to other destinations. A manufactured and tested business model allows each new destination to build up the resort in just a few weeks and to begin rentals immediately. The BIG BERRY brand has developed a more complex and compelling story to offer a higher level of tourism and to build strategic partnerships with local and other partners in the so-called “Winning by Sharing” concept. Currently, BIG BERRY is ﬁnalising negotiations with more than 10 new franchise destinations. Interested franchise buyers come from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain.
The next chapter of the BIG BERRY story is yet to be written and shared and you could be part of it...
QUOTES: UK: Seve Fallon, www.lonelyplanet.com Lucy Ruthnum ,www.absolutelylucy.com Laura Cody & Tanbay Theune, www.travellingweasels.com Barry Thumb, www.toolsoftravel.com Heather Cole, www.conversanttraveller.com New Zealand: Shanti Burton, www.awanderphile.com Slovenia: Maja Rotovnik, www.mikstejp.com UAE: Natasha Amar, www.thebohochica.com Slovakia: Ivana Greslikova & Gianni Bianchini, www.nomadisbeautiful.com Bulgaria: Julia Vukova, www.time2travel.bg Maria Stoyanova, www.travellingbuzz.com Dimitar Ganev, www.trud.bg Rossi Thomson, www.rossiwrites.com Germany: Marcela Fae, www.fotostrasse.com USA: Natasha Alden, www.theworldpursuit.com Anika Mikkelson, www.missmaps.com Italy: Francesca Taioli, www.patatofriendly.com PHOTOGRAPHS: Slovenia: Tomo Jeseničnik Lučka Vavpetič Katja Jeras Jakov Fir Uroš Raztresen Aljaž Vidmar Filip Eremita Marjan Laznik Alen Zulić Croatia: Hrvoje Mahović Željko Hajdinjak Andrej Švoger Matko Meštrović Hrvoje Grguljaš Darko Vurušić Marija Kranjčec Vurušić Berislava Picek Jernej Furman Italy: Cristina Galliena Bohman Content creators: Monika Volakova and Cristina Fernandez Villar Catalog design and art direction: Žare KERIN Layout: Marjan BOŽIČ Project manager: F2 d.o.o. Printer: www.la-mantini.rs *All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, send an email to address below with the subject “BIG BERRY Magazine: Content Permissions”:
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