Osilnica – At the End of the World and in the Heart’s Center

Although Slovenia is not very large in terms of its territory, it is rich in places that seem to be somewhere on the edge of paradise. One such place is Osilnica, a municipality along the Kolpa River, known as the land of Peter Klepec. With students from other grades, we spent three September days in the embrace of nature and friendly locals at an interesting and educational camp.

The journey to Osilnica itself is fascinating. As we left smaller towns and villages by bus and eventually drove through the embrace of the Kočevje forests, we knew we were heading somewhere where a handful of people live in harmony with nature. Descending down the Strma Reber, a serpentine pass connecting Kočevska Reka and Osilnica, far below in the valley, we saw the outline of the Kolpa River and a clustered settlement that would be our home for the next three days. We stayed at Hotel Kovač, a kind of town center, where, in addition to numerous students, local and foreign guests, especially fishermen, athletes of all kinds, and lovers of untouched nature, including bears, found their place.

Camps are always classrooms in nature; students kayaked on the Kolpa River, engaged in interesting tasks that built their interpersonal relationships, sang and danced around the campfire, cycled, walked, observed the stars and interesting phenomena in the night sky. During these days, we, the teachers, got to know the students in a different light. We could observe their strengths, learn how they forged friendships, and also discover that many had not been to a place where pizza is not delivered, which was not even necessary because the food was excellent. This just
shows that we live in a world where everything can be obtained immediately. With several sports activities, we could also perceive the difference between students who seriously train and others who do not dedicate themselves to sports. While some girls found it challenging to cycle a nearly flat 14-kilometer route, four students and two teachers on bikes with only one gear conquered Strma Reber or Medvedje Črevo. They cycled 19 serpentines at an angle of 180° with an average incline of 8.8% and a maximum incline of 17%. The numbers alone tell a lot, and even by bus, the ascent seems strenuous, let alone by bike.

In the town where the Kolpa River flows peacefully, simultaneously serving as the border between Slovenia and Croatia, few people live, but they are pleasant and friendly to visitors. When you go there, stop and talk to them, perhaps about the weather, and experience the melodiousness of the dialect, which is an exceptional richness of the Slovenian language. Osilnica seems to be at the end of the world, but when you experience it, due to the peace, beauty, and pleasant experiences in the embrace of untouched nature, it can settle in the center of your heart.

Written by: Mateja Feltrin Novljan, Gymnasium France Prešern

Winding spectacular hairpin curve mountain pass road Strma Reber, Kocevsko, Slovenia. Reminds of human colon digestive tract system. Drone from above stock photo 4K UHD drone-made photography. Environment. High quality image