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Tuesday, November 3, 1998 Published at 00:15 GMT


Charles enjoys the rural life

The prince was taken out to Slovenia's only island

The Prince of Wales has been taking a close look at rural life on the first leg of his trip to Eastern Europe.

BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond: He will be "judged by the milestones of his private life"
During the first day of his visit to Slovenia on Monday the prince, as guest of President Milan Kucan, was taken to see the country's picturesque countryside.

Accompanied by an entourage of secretaries, aides and reporters, the party called at two organic farms in the Triglav National Park.

The treks to both farmhouses were rewarded with a glass of Rakya schnapps.

[ image: Prince Charles rings the 'bell of wishes']
Prince Charles rings the 'bell of wishes'
Prince Charles told farmer Angela Skumavec: "I've just had a very interesting tour of your cow pats!"

Earlier, the Prince visited the town of Bled, Lake Bled and the country's only island, Bled Island.

At the 17th Century church on Bled Island he tried his hand at the "bell of wishes", which by legend grants the desires of anyone who can make it ring three times with just one pull on the rope.

Despite several tries, the prince failed to make it happen.

[ image: The prince tastes Slovenia's best wine]
The prince tastes Slovenia's best wine
And unfortunately for the prince, he will not be able to take his 50th birthday present from the people of Slovenia home with him.

A beehive, complete with Slovenian bees, was to have made its way to the prince's country home at Highgrove, Gloucestershire.

But following advice from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the prince will have to leave the bees behind - Slovenian bees recently suffered an outbreak of varroa and American foulbrood.

The prince is due to visit three more Eastern European countries before he returns to the UK for his 50th birthday.

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