We were heading to Trieste yesterday, but just a few kms after we got on to the autostrade out of Venice, it looked more like a parking lot than a highway, with 3 lanes of stationary vehicles. We were lucky that we were near an exit, so we drove off and worked out what to do next. We have the Lonely Planet Slovenia guide in our travelling library, so we figured we might as well head north and have a look. Every photo I’ve seen of Slovenia has been beautiful, and it’s actually like that in real life too. Mountainous, green, picture-postcard stuff.
Triglav National Park is in the north-western corner, with a couple of lakes that have campgrounds, so we headed towards Lake Bohinj, which is a bit south of Lake Bled. The guide book says it’s slightly less glamourous and ‘touristy’ than Lake Bled, but when we went through them today, they were both packed full of people making the most of the gorgeous summer Sunday, with more and more traffic heading towards them.
We hit a couple of road closures on the way to Bohinj, and at the second one I hopped out to ask the man putting up the barriers if there was a way through … yes, further north. A camion truck had broken down or turned over or something and blocked the road from the south. So we drove on …. along very winding, very narrow roads built into the sides of mountains. Through little villages where every house seemed to have window boxes growing geraniums at every window, and a flourishing vegetable garden growing summer vegies – corn, beans, tomatoes, zucchini. It’s all so green here, a shade of green we never, ever see at home.
About 20km from Bohinj, we noticed a scattering of tents and RVs in a field. No official signs that it was actually a campground, but we went to the nearby cafe and asked – ‘yes, you can camp there, and it’s free’. Excellent! They even had wifi and gave Greg the code. We found a space for the car and tent and settled in. There were another dozen or so families spending the night there. There’s a chair lift near the cafe that goes up to a ski run in winter, and in summer walkers and mountain bikers use it to access a network of paths. It was lovely. Much nicer than the campground at Bohinj, where the tent sites all seemed to be on sloping bits of land – ie, the parts that caravans and RVs don’t want because they all want level ground.
We have spent the last week trying to find ice and having no luck at all. I got talking to some people this morning when I noticed they had an esky, and asked them how they keep stuff cold. Ice bricks. It’s not possible to buy bags of ice in Slovenia, and apparently not in Italy or Germany either. So that mystery is solved. We’ll just work around it.
Tonight we’re in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, population 280,000. We’re staying in a hostel that seems to be set up for students – our room has 3 of everything … beds, desks, shelves, cupboards. Apparently there’s a student population of around 50,000 in Ljubljana, but it’s summer holidays at the moment. We’re near the centre of town, and we can see the castle from our window at the hostel.
All the photos taken so far are on our photo album page here
Cyclamen growing wild