Singing Slovenia
Jan 2010

Author: David Burbidge

Lakeland Voices in Skomarje, Slovenia May 2017


The cost is £95 plus expenses (train, meals, travel in Slovenia etc.) – Our train goes via London and the Eurostar to Paris, the sleeper from Paris to Munich, and through the snowy mountains of Austria and Slovenia to Ljubljana – and on return via Rottweil in the Black Forest. We will be travelling with Interrail passes (cost £220 – plus supplements for Eurostar and couchettes) – and staying with singers in Slovenia and the Black Forest (or B&Bs if singers prefer.) 

Singing folk carols and seasonal songs from Slovenia and the UK – we will be singing in London, a historic bookshop (which includes associations with Ernest Heminway and James Joyce,) and  on the left bank in Paris, at the Christmas market in Munich, alongside Slovenian choirs in Ljbuljana…and on the train. There will also be opportunities for outings – eg Bled lake, caves, the Christmas markets along the Ljubljanica. 

SLOVENIA MAY 21-28 2020

The cost is £495 which includes travel in Slovenia, workshops, concerts, half board accommodation, optonal outings (some may incur an extra charge if singers wish to do them – eg wine tasting session at vineyard, boat trip on Bohinj, Vintnar gorge walk, Bled island, etc.) Singers provide their own lunches in cafes – or if on a budget, can make sandwiches (we have the use of a kitchen and kettles in the Bled farmhouse.)

Accommodation is in a country farm house with group accommodation near Bled lake in a quiet valley with home cooked meals and home grown food, in twin and double rooms – and in Zrece in a country hotel there. 

We hire 3 self drive minibuses which we use for travel in Slovenia driven by myself and other singers who wish to do this. This gives us more flexibility – and allows us to use them for our morning swims in Lake Bled before breakfast. 

We will be meeting other choirs for concerts and informal singing as well as practicing songs at the farm. Most songs from Slovenia and the UK must be learnt in advance (though you will already know many of them) – we have workshops in Kendal over the weekend of January 25 and 26, and also May 21 and 22. I will also be sending scores, recordings, word sheets, etc. and can provide any help via internet video calling (messenger.) Practices can also be arranged in Kendal on Tuesday evenings alongside Lakeland Voices choir who practice there.

Cost last year was £450 – though the week included a night of homestays in Ljubljana which we won’t be doing this year – cost this year is £495 which includes 7 nights accommodation.

The week starts in the late afternoon on Thursday May 21 2020 and ends early afternoon on Thursday May 28 2020 – we can collect singers from places near Ljubljana if not joining us on the train. 

We are also doing a week of singing in Slovenia with the same train from December 16-23 – singing folk carols from Slovenia and the UK.

There are flights with Easyjet from Stanstead and Gatwick to Ljubljana which most singers have used in the past – this year, if singers prefer, they can join a train trip across Europe to Slovenia. 


If joining us on the train the plan is to go on Tuesday May 19 via London, Paris and Stuttgart with a night staying with Lucia and my daughter Anika in Rottweil (either free in living room, or in local B&B). On Wednesday catching the Blue Gentian train from Stuttgart to Ljubljana via Munich and Satzburg (same train all the way.) In Ljubljana on Wednesday night we will stay with local singers, (or in B&Bs – some singers don’t like homestays.) On Thursday we will collect minibuses for drive to Bled and the start of our week. 

On the return on Thursday – singers can catch the Lisinski night train on Thursday evening May 28 with couchettes from Ljubljana to Munich – in time to catch the train from Munich to Paris on Friday morning, and the Eurostar from Paris to London (which I am currently on, on my way back from half term in Slovenia with the Ljubljana choir.) 

The easiest way to get a ticket is to buy online via the Interrail website an Interrail Global pass which allows you 5 days of unlimited rail travel over a period of one month and costs £220 (Newark or Kendal to Rottweil, Rottweil to Ljubljana via the beautiful Danube valley and the Blue Gentian, Ljubljana to Munich, and Munich to Norwich or Kendal.) There is also a 3 day cheaper version of the Interrail pass. There is a supplement of £26 for the Eurostar, and also for the Paris to Munich TGV (which was £10 when I went last week.) The supplements are cheapest when bought early in advance (and sometimes if you wait too long, spaces aren’t available at all.)

Some singers have asked if we can sing with the Parthanay community choir in western France (2 1/2 hours from Paris.) The choir has recently been joined by Steve Beesley who sang with community choirs in the Ribble valley before moving to France – where he bought an old house in Parthanay. Steve has often helped at our Dent Folk carols weekend. The Parthanay choir sing many of the songs we sing such as Siya Hamba, Tibe Poem, Nkosi sikelel ‘iAfrica.)

If singers wish to join me on this diversion – we will go by train from Munich to Paris (where we will leave others returning to the UK on Friday) and then to Poitiers near Parthanay on Friday to join the choir in the evening. Accommodation there will either be basic camping on Steve’s floor – or in B&Bs – singers can choose. We will sing with the Parthanay commuity choir on Friday evening, and over the weekend – going back by train to the UK on Monday morning via Poitiers, Paris and London. Extra costs on this diversion will include optional B&Bs, meals (some of which we can cook ourselves at Steve’s house, drinks, and bus from Poitiers to Parthanay. This will be pay as we go and not costed in advance like in Slovenia.) We will be in Parthanay for three nights (May 29, 30  and 31) and return to the UK via Poitiers, Paris and the Eurostar to London.) 

There will be singing on the train and in stations. 

Other ways of going to Slovenia include Easyjet to Ljubljana from Stanstead, Wizzair from Luton, or via Ryanair to Venice and train or bus from there. 

To book, please send a £50 deposit made payable to David Burbidge and sent to Smithy Cottage, Farfield, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5LW – please write Slovenia 2020 on the back and include your contact details. You can also pay a deposit via internet banking to Halifax bank, account David Burbidge, account number 00038088 sort code 11-04-12. 

I can then add you to our list of singers who are coming, send songs, more details and updates etc.  We will  be a maximum of 27 singers – 3 minibuses full – our accommodation will also be full with this number. 

SINGING SLOVENIA – May 21-28 2020

A tour with singing, visiting places of interest and beauty in Slovenia, meeting local singers and choirs, with short walks, meals with drinking songs, and friendship. Singers are joining us from our Lakeland Voice choirs and from further afield – including all of the four nations of the British Isles: Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England.

Most of all, we look forward to singing with our friends from Slovenia (including those we haven’t met yet) who will join us at events while we are in this fabulous country famous for the beauty of its landscape, the quality of its singing, and the hospitality of its people.

Here is our programme for the week – an example of what we do:

Friday May 25

16:30 Singers arrive – transport provided from Ljubljana to Bled

19:30 Evening meal at Povsin tourist farm, Selo pri Bledu 22, Bled, Slovenia  00386.45767630  – followed by singing.   
Saturday May 26 
Singing outside at Povsin – and at the opening of Wildflower festival in Bohinjska Bistrica at the cultural centre.
Then Stara Fuzina – singing walk to the Koca na Voja mountain hut & waterfalls in Voje valley, singing among the wild alpine flowers with refreshment in the mountain huts.
19:00 – evening meal at Povsin  followed by singing at Monika’s tourist farm bar in Mlino pri Bledu – 1km away
Sunday May 27 

11:31 Bled Jezeru station – all aboard the south bound train on the Soča valley railway to Kanal arriving 12:41– singing on train and in stations – and in the town ofKanal, hosted by Miran Ipavec.
16:18 Train from Kanal to Bled Jezero  
19:00 Begunje concert in hilltop church at St Peter’s alongside Tirglav Lesce-Bled male voice choir – followed by evening meal in nearby mountain hut – hosted by Sašo Gašperin.
Monday May 28 

Afternoon – singing in Radovljica 
20:00  Concert with the Franc Urbanc male voice choir in Gorjuse hosted by Gospoda Franka Pavicic Sodja.
Tuesday May 29

Late morning – singing walk round Lake Bled, and rowing to the island to sing in The Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria. 

20:00  Concert with three other Slovenian choirs in Bohinjska Češnjica – in the Fire Station hosted by Gospoda Franka Pavicic Sodja.
Wednesday May 30 

11:00 arrive at Pod Rogla Hotel, Boharina 2,  Zreče, Slovenia   +386 3 757 68 00

13:00 afternoon singing on the Brinjeve Gore (blueberry hill) at Jozica Podgrajsek’s farm with her family singing group Pevke iz Brinjeve Gore, and evening at Marjan Hren’s vineyard singing with Marjan’s folk group the Vinski Brati. (Sauna, swim in thermal waters, and walk – optional.) 

Thursday May 31  
18:00 singing with the Ljubljana Waldorf Choir in the Ljubljana Waldorf School – hosted by Gospod Igor Velepič 
Friday June 1

11:00 concert in Ljubljana Waldorf school.
Plus – short informal lunchtime farewell to Slovenia singing under the Preseren statue in the centre of city before we travel home.

Srečno pot!

Lakeland Voices at Christmas
Lakeland Voices in Slovenia May 2017


My love of Slovenia started when Sedbergh, the town where I live, became twinned with Zreče in Slovenia. The BBC made a film about it: “The town that wants a twin” showing how the policman stayed with our policeman, the baker with the baker, the post mistress with our postie – and of course the singers sang with ours.

Since we were twinned in 2005 we have had over 30 exchanges between singers – and also with town bands, school students, football teams and soon even a Bridge card playing society with ours in Sedbergh.

You can read about the twinning exchanges on – look under music for the singing exchanges organised by Lakeland Voice – or join us on any of our tours of Slovenia or here when we welcome choirs from Slovenia to visit and sing with our singers – with workshops, pub singing, concerts, walks and melodious international conviviality!

Our choirs Lakeland Voices, Penrith Community Choir, Cowgill Folk Chorale and the Cautley Carollers also sing Slovenian songs – especially the carols at Christmas which have become firm favourites. You can see and hear me teaching the parts of these carols on and see videos of visiting Slovenian folk choirs (and ours visiting Slovenia) on

Lep pozdrav iz Sedbergha in upam se vidimo kmalu.

See our music and dance together with the Pevke iz Brinjeve Gore on a recent visit to Zreče at:

See Slovenian and English choirs dancing together on one of our previous visits to Zreče at:

Lakeland Voices and zbor Jurij Vodovnik from our twin town Zreče
Skomarje – hill top village near our twin town Zreče


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