Interview, Selma Seifert, Divjake Log Home – The Forest Queen owner
What are the key attributes that make your hospitality unique and special?
The key attribute that makes our accommodation unique and particular is that our cottage is made of natural, healthy and environment. ally friendly materials. The resin remaining inside logs has a positive effect on people’s lungs and airways and, as is often the case in such houses, there is no dust and no accumulation of static electricity, so it can safely be said that this house is indeed a home for the relief of the stresses and strains of a hectic life when people are really looking for a vacation.
Our main advantage is our position as being situated in almost the center of Gorski kotar enables you to travel to almost all of the well-known natural beauties the area has to offer – national parks, protected landscapes or mountains or just enjoy a house with a soul and its courtyard.
And the courtyard has its own particular story too. Its appearance which merges with the surrounding nature in its shape, works perfectly, providing pleasure in every part of the house. There is a hydromassage hot tub on one of the terraces from where a view over a fountain extends whose sounds echo total relaxation, to the small, picturesque house, an insect hotel, a flower garden, and an amazing evergreen forest. You can play handball, badminton or boccia on the meadow next to the forest using the old wooden bowls which have become part of our family. Besides that, we have created zones for those guests who would rather choose meditation, yoga, and relaxation in hammocks hanging among the pine trees. In the nearby forest, guests can take a walk to a small stream, that is easy to find as there are signboards all along the way. You can enjoy the sounds of water murmuring and birds singing and if you are of an adventurous spirit, you can even go in search of a bear’s den.
Gorski kotar, along with clear rivers and refreshing mountain lakes, also offers a visit to seacoast beaches.
Another advantage of our location and of the fact that we are situated in Gorski kotar is that you are only 45 minutes away from the nearest beach where you can enjoy sunbathing when temperatures are over 34°C in the summer or, if you are not a fan of the crowds on the Adriatic Sea beaches, then you should definitely try the experience of sunbathing at one of the most famous places that are loved by the locals and tourists alike
– “Pritiske” bathing area on the Kupa river, just 2 km away from the Brod na Kupi settlement, in the direction of Čabar.
– “Klanac” bathing area on the Kupa river, not far from Severin na Kupi
– “Kod starog motela” beach on Lokve Lake, in the immediate vicinity of the dam
– The shores of Lepenice or Bajer lakes in Fužine
and then come back to the queen’s refuge that is so warm and soft. The sounds of the fire crackling from an open or outdoor fireplace late in the evening, after all your adventures, why not rest both your feet and your soul and sleep at a maximum of 22°C.
Which eco experiences in your surroundings do you recommend and which hidden gems can be discovered near your hospitality?
We recommend that our guests book former participants of Croatian Masterchef, Časlav Matijević or Srđana Jevtić. These freelance artists and promoters of slow food will prepare food according to each guest’s wishes using only products from local producers. From the meat of Romanov sheep from the Queen Sheep farm, whose lambs are fed with mountain hay, or graze on the NATURA 2000 meadows eating GMO-Free cereals or game coming from the local butcher’s shop in Delnice. For fish lovers, we exclusively procure brown trout from the fish farm in Brod na Kupi. Other delicacies for preparing dishes are procured from the diligent Frančišković family and their local farm where they produce their own cheeses (curd, škripavac, semi-hard cheese) and yogurt as well as milk. All these are unique and excellent organic products from completely untouched Gorski kotar nature. We procure free-range eggs and pasta from a poultry house owned by Ivan Butković from Sunger, which is well known for its production of the blue potato which is considered to be one of the healthiest potatoes around. Hut guests have bicycles (two for adults and one for an older child) at their disposal whilst in Ravna Gora center guests can rent e-bikes. We work with a local licensed guide – Lynx and Fox aka Jelena Holenko who will create a personalized hiking and orientation plan for guests, both for going to the best and most famous places as well as to the beautiful hidden trails of Gorski kotar.
What particularly stands out in our offer is the possibility to book Astra Divine creative, fun, and educational “Nature in you” workshops for children, led by Master of Biology and Ecology, Marta Blažević.
It is interesting that the side road that starts in Ravna Gora and passes beside us on the way to Skrad is ideal for sports preparation so very often you can see people running, roller-blade or cycling. So there are countless possibilities from hiking, biking, walking in the woods or along a stream, running, meditating, bird watching…
What makes your hospitality a green and healthy place to stay?
All interiors are handmade – from old oak stairs, kitchen, beds to bathroom furniture and railings. I started buying a few details and furniture at the very beginning of construction, I would say while the logs were still in the woods, so we started to buy a chest for storing bedding and a corner cupboard, skis, and various items and antiques at fairs to make the cottage different and special.
Our favorites are those details that exude the past and were made by hand, which we have brought back to “life”. Another particularity is that it is furnished according to Vast which means in harmony with nature and its energetic rules. And this is probably the reason why guests feel a particular energy, warmness, and calmness here.
We maintain the hut with natural-based cleaning products, separate and recycle waste, and also use recycled toilet paper and biodegradable rubbish bags. We collect rainwater and plan to make an organic garden next year. For guests’ personal hygiene use, we also have certified shampoos and natural soaps in growing packaging, which they can also be taken away and planted as a souvenir when they return home. Most of the products are of the Croatian brand (Silvan, Pero, etc.) Upon request and announcement, guests who have skin problems, allergies, or asthma can request to sleep exclusively on bedding made of 100% unbleached organic cotton with GOTS certification, and on natural pillows made of buckwheat or spelled (Eco hill).
What motivated you to join the green revolution in tourism?
We were motivated by the fact that we wanted to be a different accommodation capacity than that which is already on offer in Gorski kotar and therefore our aim was to be recognizable. The way my family and I have been living for many years was the reason to build such a holiday home. The plan is to build a sauna to provide a completely relaxing holiday, and next spring we also plan to make an organic garden.
What did guests appreciate the most while staying at your place?
Primarily the atmosphere in the hut makes them feel they are at home, so they will always be greeted by a small basket of Gorski kotar products and some basic foodstuffs necessary if they do not intend to go grocery shopping immediately. And then merging with nature and enjoying it in isolation which provides them with total privacy.
Author: Sunčana Matić, LUX