Wow! Whoever knew that Slovenia would offer up such awesomeness!
I don’t really know what I was expecting here but it certainly wasn’t this. Research fail…if I had looked at this area properly, I would have known that we were going to be located right in the middle of the Julian Alps and scheduled in more time to really enjoy it properly. As it was, we only one day there to see as much as we could.
We had a full day ahead of us and so set out early after breakfast.Our day took us through the Triglavski Narodni Park (Triglav National Park), a 880 km3 area which is centered around Mount Triglav. The views for the entire day were absolutely stunning It is a little perturbing though, when you see signs warning about motorcyclists falling off!
Our first stop was Peričnik Falls. It was a short 15 minute ride from our apartment. We rode along a road with a river of crystal clear, stunningly turquoise water, running along it and, nestled high in the hills, we were super surprised to turn a corner….and there it was!
I knew that there was a hike up but the signage wasn’t great. We followed a couple of other folks and started a pretty steep climb up…all the while reminding ourselves that it was going to be totally worth it.
…and it was
What was even better was when we discovered the easy option on the other side of the bridge and had a much better hike down!
A quick coffee and then we headed off to Lake Bled. I had expected to go there via the main highway but the route took us through the winding turns and ups and downs through the lush green areas of the Park. We were totally stunned by this beautiful river with its astonishing colors!
Sharing the road with a few cyclists, other bikers and a rare car, we really enjoyed the ride to this big tourist attraction…and a huge tourist attraction it was! It was truly beautiful, with its stunning sapphire blue colored water but there were so many people out enjoying the sights that we didn’t stick around long. Just long enough for a few pics and then we hopped back on the bike and enjoyed the twisty climbing road on the way to Lake Bohinj.
Covering 318 hectares, Lake Bohinj is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia and is arguably more spectacular than the more famous Lake Bled. It doesn’t have the stunning color of Lake Bled but the waters are crystal clear and the lake just seems so much more natural and less of a tourist attraction. We hung around a while, took a million photos and enjoyed a traditional Slovenian lunch while admiring the view.
From here it was an adrenaline filled two hour ride up, down, round and through the Julian mountain range until we reached Kobarid, a small town that nestles beside the stunningly turquoise waters of the River Soča. We had another GPS hiccup but eventually parked up and de-kitted ready to enjoy the 30minute hike up to, what was purported to be the best waterfall in Slovenia.
Starting out across a field adjacent to a campsite, the trail began to rise gently and was an easy walk. We arrived later in the day so it really wasn’t very busy. As we got deeper into the walk, and higher in elevation, we could see a suspension bridge crossing waaaaay high up above the river. I started to silently pray that this was NOT the way we were going, or that was going to be one waterfall I missed!!
Thankfully our path wound it’s way around to the right so I just got some nice pictures without actually pooping my pants!
We followed the path along, until we reached a small bridge where people had been jumping and wading by a small, 6 meter waterfall. Just a liitle further on you we reached a small gorge with amazing contrasts. The gorge is covered with vegetation and moss, but you can still see horizontal lines of the rock wall.
Here it got a little hairy…you could wade through the shallow waters or follow the stone steps and wooden walkway round and into the gorge, where you round a corner and are met with the astonishingly fabulous sight of ‘Slap’ (waterfall) Kozjak, which plunges, in one powerful drop, 15 meters into a pool of beautiful emerald green waters below.
We spent about ten minutes just soaking in the moment (& watching the very nice young man take a swim!) before heading back. Feeling brave, I did step on the bridge and made it just far enough to take some pics before running back to solid ground!
The ride home was another fun, winding, twisting and turning mountain road. I did get a tad perturbed when we crossed the border into Italy. I knew that that wasn’t on the route! Pulling over to check out where in the hec we were now, it turned out that the good old GPS had a mind of it’s own and was NOT taking us back via the Vrsic Pass as I had planned! Never mind, after our quick visit to Italy again, we returned to Slovenia and eventually found ourselves back at the billet!
A very long, ten hour day behind us, but absolutely worth every fabulous minute J
The next day we came down out of the mountains for the first time in nearly three weeks!
Leaving the Julian Alps behind us we travelled south-east towards Croatia.
With a long day ahead of us, we chose to take the interstate for the first half of the ride. Riding through the Slovenian countryside it was easy to see how well cared for everything is. The houses were immaculate and all the fields were full of well maintained perfectly aligned crops! Around lunch time we ventured off the highway and began to look for somewhere to eat. We rode into a small town called Črnomelj. I noticed that nearly every roof had big tarpaulins on them and the crops were all looking somewhat battered. Very strange…!
We were out of luck for food in the first three places we stopped by. Just as we wondered if we’d ever find somewhere to eat, we came across a little Pizzaria. Small world; it turns out that the waiter had worked on cruise ships in and out of Tampa and spoke great English.
I asked him about the roof tarps and he told us that the previous week a freak hails storm and swept through and the APPLE sized hail stones had caused horrendous damage. I googled it later and it seems that it was so serious that the Slovenian President had just been down to visit, calling the area a disaster zone and promising Government Aid. The pictures were crazy, cars were just destroyed – can you imagine if we had been riding through then!
Carrying on our way we reached the border shortly after. Here was the first time we had actually been stopped and asked for Passports! I was finally going to get my border picture…or not! Once through the checkpoint I looked out for the “Welcome to Croatia” sign. Ugh, it was so drab and tired looking, I really couldn’t be bothered to stop and get a shot of us with it!
Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!