After the big buffet the evening before, we have been expecting the same sumptuous breakfast buffet at the Grand Hotel Rogaška, and we’re not disappointed. Pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit and much other stuff to choose from, were a fantastic start for the day.
Off to our first sight of the day that helped us to digest all the stuff. Rogaška Slatina is famous for its healing water. Therefore we went to the nearby Pivnica (Drinking Hall) at the Rogaška Medical Center, where they have water with different concentrations of Magnesium. After paying a minimal rental fee for the glass, we drank ourselves through the various taps of water. While it tasted terrible, it was kind of fun.
Filled with healthy water, we walked to the Anin Dvor Museum (Ana’s Mansion) located a few meters away from the medical center. Honestly, I didn’t expect much, and we weren’t even sure what the museum is about before we went there, but we were positively surprised. We were the only guests inside the new and modern building, and the receptionist led us first to a glass exhibition, where we first saw a short documentary about the making and importance of the glass for Rogaška Slatina before we went through the exhibit.
There was another exhibition of old drawings of Rogaška Slatina, a tree exhibition and then a water path. All very aesthetically presented, interesting and unusual.
On the way back to the central park, we took a small excursion through the woods, where we suspected a spring for mineral water. We found it, but it didn’t really look that inviting to drink from. We passed by at the “Tempel,” a small 1904 “art nouveau” building, which now houses an art gallery and shops. Then we walked back to the hotel to spend some time at the thermal pool and the saunas, which were – like breakfast and dinner – included in our hotel booking via booking.com. Even the entrance to the nearby Rogaška Riviera was included, but we were happy with what the hotel had to offer.
We weren’t finished with sightseeing, however, as we wanted to visit the small town Rogatec, just at the Croatian border. We had taken a look at the timetable at the bus stop in Rogaška Slatina, which is in the Kidriceva ulica, not far from the park. After confirmation of the actual schedule at the station and from the online bus connections we were then set to go. To visit the town on a Sunday, we had to take a bus to Rogatec in the afternoon, then go back with the train, due to lack of other connections. However, at least to get there, you could also take a taxi, as it is only seven kilometers away.
We chatted a bit with a friendly taxi driver who tried to talk us into hiring a taxi. He told us that most tourists there, apart from the local ones, are mostly from Russia, Austria, and Germany. I didn’t see many Asian tourists around, much different from Bled, the caves, and even Maribor.
We then took the bus and ten minutes later already arrived in Rogatec. Our primary destination was the Rogatec Open Air Museum. It is the biggest (debatable) ethnological park in Slovenia and presents typical rural architecture. To get there, we had to walk for about 1,5 kilometers to the north from the bus stop in Rogatec, which is right at the train station, mostly along the Ptujska cesta. They have built a walkway next to the street when it leads outside the village towards the Open Air Museum, which was great.
When we arrived, we were the only guests and started our tour through the little houses, where you get an impression of the architecture but also how people lived. I love open-air museums, and my personal highlights are still the Yoshinogari Historical Park in Japan and the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village at the Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan. While the Rogatec Open Air Museum wasn’t that huge, it still is a charming and interesting stop, when you’re in the area of Rogaška Slatina.
On the way back, we still had time before the train would depart and therefore made a stop at another attraction in Rogatec, the Strmol Manor, a castle complex housing, a museum, and a handicrafts center. We were the only visitors, and the amiable woman at the reception immediately talked us into a little pottery session, where we made a magnet. It was a pleasant surprise, given that we just had expected to walk through a castle. They actually offer a lot of courses. Rogatec really deserves more tourists, given what they have to offer.
After finishing the pottery, we walked through the exhibitions, including glass, handicrafts, architecture and some impressions of how people in the Manor once lived. It was rather interesting, and it looks like you can even get married there.
Satisfied, we walked back to the train station, where we bought tickets and soon boarded the train for the short ride back to Rogaška Slatina. There, we had another excellent dinner buffet at the hotel and enjoyed the park. The next day, we would leave to our next destination, Kamnik, with a stopover in Celje, to visit Celje Castle.