Sunday, October 20, 2013

Slumming It In Slovenia

We woke last Saturday morning, camping at 1250m to a winter wonderland. Lawrence got up to make my cup of tea and said casually “it’s snowing”. “What!” I exclaimed, and pulled up the blind to see fairy tale whiteness all round. So pretty from the comfort of your warm bed, but a different story having to pack up and get moving in it.
Winter Wonderland

Man from Snowy River

The snow turned to rain as we descended and we had a very low cloud, and a ‘no view’ drive – so different from the day before. However we made it to Slovenia and were happy to find a lovely campsite at Lake Bled.

We spent the next 2 days at Lake Bled cycling and walking, such a pretty spot! The highlight was meeting a young Australian couple from Newcastle (north of Sydney). They are on their ‘odyssey’ in Trevor the Trannie, a Ford Transit van that is literally a bed on wheels (
Lake Bled

They invited us to dinner and the amazing Sarah cooked us a 3 course Italian meal, on a one burner gas stove, sitting on the ground!! She made Carprese Salad with bruschetta, gnocchi with mozzarella AND an authentic tagliatelle carbonara, absolutely delicious. We supplied the table and chairs. It was about 5 degrees, but enough red wine and we all coped. It was a meal we won’t forget.

From there we drove to Lake Bohinj, another lovely location and did a brilliant 3 hour walk around the lake.
Lake Bohinj
Slovenia is, simply, pretty. Gentle mountains, pretty streams, rural landscapes, all bathed in the soft colours of autumn.

Next stop Ljubljana, the capital. We arrived to warm sunshine, so the first thing we did (no, not open a bottle of wine!), was the washing! The drive was a bit more exciting than expected as the road we hoped to take was closed, but we didn’t find that out until too late and needed to back track and take very long road with umpteen hairpin bends – quite a journey, but quite spectacular.

The city itself is small, compact and few hours can do it justice. There is a castle on the hill, but to be frank, it was restored to point of losing all its charm and character. A highlight was stumbling upon an Orthodox church where we met one of the caretakers who gave us an insight to the church and its history. A truly beautiful building, built in the Greek Cross style.
From there we drove to a campsite near the Croatian border in the southeast. We want to see Zagreb, but there is nowhere to stay, hence this site. It’s like a small town with several restaurants, a hotel, villages, water parks, fun parks, a spa, a wellness centre etc. It would be hell in the high season but, right now, it’s lovely. We need our bikes to get around, it’s so large.

We thought that we could get the train to Zagreb from here, but the timetable is unworkable, so we’ll stay overnight in a swank hotel and leave Boris to his own devices.

Today (Sunday) we did a 2 hour hilly bike ride through rural Slovenia. We rode through small pretty hamlets with unpronounceable names and steep vineyards, smiling politely at men with shotguns. We followed this, of course, with our traditional Sunday lunch, which turned out to be a very low key affair but the food was tasty and well cooked. I think this is the first restaurant we’ve been to without a wine list. The house wine was ‘interesting’.

Boris still attracts attention wherever we go. Are you really from Australia? How did you get it here? How will you get home? Where are you headed? “Vladivostok” I say, but really people are just interested and want to know what you are doing. It’s so easy to meet interesting people in campsites in Europe.

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