Tourist farm Šenk's homestead in Jezersko

Šenk's homestead is the pearl of the Alpine architecture and a typical nucleated rural settlement of the area. Here we find eight buildings; all roofed with wooden roofing in the layout designed more than 500 years ago. It was built after the big lake, which was covering Jezersko valley, disappeared in the 14th century. The engraved year 1521 above the door of the main building tells us of its age. Original buildings and architectural style have been preserved and the main house of the homestead is today protected under the national cultural heritage scheme. We are aware of its great value and for the love of our ancestors we are going to protect it for the next generations and we are happy to share its history with you today.

View from the yard includes all outbuildings of Šenk's homestead except for the two buildings, but their absence gives space to the magnificent view of mighty walls of the Grintovci. The layout of the present outbuildings has been preserved, only their interior and inhabitants have changed through time and today there are horses, sheep, chickens, ducks, cats and a dog.

Grandma Mimi

Grandma, Šenk's Mimi, was born on 29th August 1923 as the third child on the farm Kvančar in Kvancih to Mom Berta (from Makek's farm) and father Jože Skuber (son of Ferdinand Vaniški). For two years she studied at the National School Kraljevič Andrej in Tržič. In 1937 she finished school with honors, but there was sadly no money to continue her studies for another two years. That same year she went on to serve at Štular's farm, where she first helped with the administration in the timber shop, and later also in the pension. At Štular's she survived the war. After the war, she worked for two years at the local office as an administrator. For a few years she led the local youth organization. In 1947, she married Ludvik Štular, who was 16 years older. Father Josip left the couple the Šenk's farm and thereby saved the farm from nationalization. Sadly, Ludvik and Mimi were left with only 16 hectares of land on which they had to produce enough to provide for themselves and their family. With perseverance, good will and optimism they conquered many problems of post-war period. The locals liked to visit them, as did many foreign guests; sometimes for a chat, or to help them with their daily work. Unfortunately, due to disease Ludvik died in 1987. From then on Mimi had to manage the farm alone, together with her daughter Brigita until 2010, when she left it to her granddaughter Polona and her family.

Until her last day Mimi was known as an excellent interlocutor. Despite her old age, she remained very smart and had a good memory. In the last year of her life she participated in the creation of a new book on the management of the Jezersko farms, written by a well-known historian and ethnologist dr. Marija Makarovič. She knew it all: how to properly bake »potica« and make »žganci«, what to do if there is a problem with the animals, how it was in 1943, when the war raged, who is related to whom and what is the current political situation. All the time she followed TV and radio shows and loved to chat with visitors. In August 2013, when she celebrated 90 years, the mayor of Jezersko Jure Markič and his co-worker Jasna visited her and they chatted for two hours about many things.

Our grandmother Mimi left us suddenly, as she fell asleep on 15th February 2014, just hours after she had followed with interest the preparations for the celebration of 80th birthday of the neighbour Francl, longtime shepherd of Šenk's and Štular's sheep on Goli vrh.

We remember her with joy and from memories of her we draw strength to continue her long-standing work on Šenk's homestead.

Drejc Karničar

Drejc Karničar is the youngest son of the long-standing caretakers of the Češka hut, Anica and Andrej Karničar. Together with his sister and three brothers he spent his youth closely connected with the mountains and skiing. He has been climbing since he turned fifteen. He passed his Alpinist exam in 1988.

He crowned his passion for climbing and skiing in 1995 with the first ski descent from Annapurna, the Himalayan eight-thousand-meter high peak. He conquered the mountain and then skied of its peak with his brother Davo. In addition to Annapurna (8091m), he also skied down the east wall of the Matterhorn (4478m) and often skied down Mont Blanc (4807m). In our mountains he skied down the steep walls of Babe, Dolgi hrbet, Kočna and Grintovec. Very special was also the descent down the frozen waterfall Sinji slap under The Češka hut.

For many years he participated in ski mountaineering competitions across Italy. In 1993, he won third place in the Italian Cup Coppa delle Alpi with his late brother Luka.

After finishing high school in Kranj, he began studying at the Faculty of Sport. In 1998 he successfully completed his studies and acquired the title of professor of physical education. For his thesis in the field of ski touring training, he was awarded a prize from Rok Petrovič fundation. For more than 10 years he passed his knowledge as a teacher of physical education  on to the young generation in the elementary school Matija Valjavec in Preddvor and in the local branch school.

During the term 2006 - 2011 he was a member of the Slovenian Government Expert Council for Sport. He is also a longtime coach and ski instructor for the local sport association. He sings in the local church choir since he turned 18. For more than a decade he led the mountaineering section in Jezersko. With his example he impressed and raised a whole generation of young girls and boys, interested in mountaineering and skiing.

In 1986, he participated for the first time in the rescue operation during the tragedy of the Dutch mountaineers on Kočna. In 1992 he passed the exams for a mountain rescuer. After the tragic death of his brother Luka and other rescue team members above mountain Okrešelj, he took over the management of the Mountain Rescue Association in Jezersko. In the years 2006 - 2010 he was also the vice president of the Mountain Rescue Association of Slovenia.

Together with his wife Polona he succeeded his father and for five years took care of the Češka hut on Spodnje Ravne. Now he is the major of one of the smallest municipalities in Slovenia - Jezersko. He also dedicates a lot of his time to Šenk's homestead and its tourist offer. He directs his extensive mountaineering and skiing skills as well as his pedagogical touch into programs for young people who are happy to spend their holidays on Šenk's homestead and in Jezersko.

Polona Virnik Karničar

Polona was born in 1976 and grew up on Šenk's farm. All the time she was firmly committed to diversify the farm into tourism and continue the path which had already been outlined on the adjacent, Štular's farm, by her great-grandfather, Josip Virnik, a landowner whose plans were brutally interrupted by the post-war nationalization of agricultural land. The pension, restaurant, shop, three sawmills and timber shop suddenly became a historical fact and grandfather's immense desire was to reclaim once again the unfairly taken land. In an effort to save Šenk's homestead from nationalization, he gave it to his son Ludvik, Polona's grandfather. The farm has retained most of the characteristic buildings. The 500-year-old Šenk's house has stood the test of time and has been, since 1949, protected as a cultural monument.

Growing up on Šenk's farm was strongly associated with hard work, sacrifices and strict supervision from her grandmother Mimi. Living in a 500-year-old house was anything but easy and Polona developed her work habits early. With honors she completed primary school and with similar grades also finished high school in Kranj. She continued to study at the Faculty of Economics in the field of tourism. After the birth of the third child, daughter Maša, she completed her studies in 2004 with the thesis: Business Plan for the tourist farm, Šenk's homestead.

After the wedding, on May 3rd 1997, Polona and her husband Drejc stepped on a joint business and tourism path in the popular mountain lodge, the Češka hut in Zgornje Ravne. They took care of the hut for 5 years, until Drejc became a professor of physical education at a primary school in Preddvor. In 2005 Polona got a job in Kranj, in a subsidiary of a Swedish multinational that offers lock solutions. Five years of working in the field of marketing, sales and logistics was very important for the continuation of her own business path.

In 1994, as an 18-year-old, she climbed, together with Drejc, the highest peak in Europe, Mont Blanc. In 1996 she took part in the Jezersko expedition to South America, where she reached her height record of 5200 m. In 2007 she skied from the shoulder of Mont Blanc, 4500 m high, and in 2008 also from the top of the 4105 m high peak Dom de Neige in the Ecrins massif. Many times she also participated in the ski touring competition in the Slovenian Cup.

After the onset of the global crisis that has hit the economy, Polona, in the autumn of 2009, decided it was time for an independent path. She decided to study at the Biotechnical Centre Naklo, took over the management of the farm and started diversifying it into tourism. In four years she and her husband Drejc restored most of the buildings on the farm, started heating the entire estate with wood chips, set up a place for guests in the camp, organized sleeping in the hay barn, built a new house Preužitkarica and prepared plans for the reconstruction of the main Šenk's house. They filled the stables with a flock of sheep, three riding horses, numerous chickens and made a place for a guard dog named Arči in the yard.

In November 2013, Polona completed her studies at BC Naklo with another thesis, and, in addition to the work on the family farm, she ran Tourism Association Jezersko till 2019, which aims to develop tourism in Jezersko. In the last years the wider field of tourism in Jezersko began moving in a positive direction, as did the following of the ancestors who, before World War II, began connecting and networking in order to achieve better tourism development.

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