A glimpse of history: tea party with the noble

by Mateja Gruden

The heavy doors of the mansion were wide open welcoming us to step into … the time capsule. More accurately in the 19th century. The handsome count Rihard Ursini Blagay and his enchanting wife Antonija were waiting to welcome us in their aristocratic but hospitable home.

Very polite and friendly they apologized for being short of staff; the times were hard and even the aristocracy couldn’t afford having a proper service, they sighed. We were very sympathetic, of course, although we could hardly imagine what would be like to have servants (in our humble homes). But hey, you don’t get the invitation for the afternoon tea party with the noble every day!

Where? In the »Slovenian Dolomites«

Polhov Gradec Mansion is a lovely building with the beautiful public garden, built in the 15th century and renovated in a Baroque style in the 18th century. It is situated on the fringe of the village of Polhov Gradec, just 20 kilometers from Ljubljana. It is surrounded by the hills of the »Slovenian Dolomites«. Well, don’t get too excited and don’t look for any visible similarity with the Italian mightiness. Slovenia isn’t big enough for something so massive. But there’s no need to be modest either. The Polhov Gradec Dolomites are immensely scenic and offer the variety of possibilities for hiking, trail running and cycling. Just ask me; I love them.

But … Let’s go back from the heights to the high level of the society and from the present to the past!

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  • FOTO 1a + 1b

The big discovery – well, at least for the flower lovers

After the pleasant chit-chat with our hosts we took a short trip around the mansion. There’s a lovely wedding chapel but we got more than just a glance of it: we got the short opera performance. Polhov Gradec Mansion is also home to the Museum of Post and Telecommunications, where we learned about the history of postal services in the time we’ve stepped into. While we were listening the count was writing – the famous letter about the discovery of the new plant, Daphne blagayana, on the nearby hill. He was the devoted botanist and the hot news about the new plant reached the emperor of Austria himself who hurried to Polhov Gradec, this pocket sized village just to see it!

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  • FOTO 2a + 2b

The secret of the immortality revealed

The tea party was very elegant and pleasant. We were chatting about the history and the present (we were most pleased to tell the count and his wife about the nowadays), enjoying the tea, made from the herbs, picked in the neighbourhood, and delicious homemade cakes. And at the end we found out the secret of the immortality! Sorry, I can’t reveal it. Not that I don’t want to. But there were too many herbs involved … Oh, and there’s a small souvenir shop in the mansion where you can buy, write and send a postcard. The count will be pleased to sign it.

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  • FOTO 3a + 3b

Practical information

The tea with count Blagay is one of the most attractive experiences in this part of the region that boasts with the unspoiled nature and delicious gastronomy (respected local restaurants, goat cheese, honey, herbs …).

Tea parties are held every Friday at 4.30 p. m. An appointment must be made by noon on the Thursday before the event at the latest. If no bookings are received by that time, the event is canceled. If the weather’s nice, you could come to Polhov Gradec a bit earlier and take a stroll along The path of count Blagay to get some knowledge about the area you’re visiting. It starts and ends in front of the mansion and it takes about an hour if you take it slow.

How to get there? The easiest way to get from Ljubljana to Polhov Gradec is by car but you can also take the public bus at the Ljubljana bus station (line 51). It will take only a couple of minutes to reach the mansion by foot. Tea with count Blagay is also a part of the full day experience trip Delights of Count Blagay’s Land.

Mateja Gruden

Tourism and outdoor. Two crucial parts of my life. I try to combine them as often as possible – at work and in my free time.

More about Mateja Gruden

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