Our first steps into a green and fresh, Eastern Europe
Monday 17th May
Spent last night again at our beach location, but today we were ready for a journey into a new country and our first steps into Eastern Europe.
We set off en route to the border with Slovenia, stopping at a few supermarkets on the way. Italians love their food and their supermarkets are a marvel, they are packed with so much tasty looking fresh food, that it is hard to come away not spending a fortune! We crossed into Slovenia through the old disused border posts and headed into the hills and countryside of Eastern Europe. Straight away the roads were slightly smaller and the countryside around us was green and lush and beautiful to see. We headed along tree-lined roads, with Austrian type houses dotting the landscape towards the town of Bovec.
The town is on the edge of the Triglavski National Park that contains the mountain ranges of the Julian Alps. By the time we arrived the tourist office was shut, but we found a motorhome aire at the ski station on the edge of town. Bovec is set against a beautiful backdrop of the snow-capped Julian Alps, so far this country seemed catching to the eye.
Tuesday 18th May
After a stop off at the tourist office and a quick friendly Slovenian language lesson from the baker! We headed off to find a campsite, as wild camping here is not allowed. We entered the national park following the Soca river up the valley between the mountains.
At this point it is safe to say, Lorna and myself were falling in love with the country. Everywhere we turned to look the views were simply stunning, from snow capped mountain peaks and mountains covered in tree’s, to the clear blue fast flowing Soca river carving it’s way through the valley.
This place is a natural paradise, the countryside is so green and unspoilt that it’s truly inspiring and breathtaking. Found a campsite near the river, with mountain views all around.
We set off on a small bike ride to investigate this beauty. All the way along the river there are small old wooden suspension bridges and gorges.
Also at one point after jumping off our bikes to take a photo, we realised we were right next to our first wild snake! It was massive probably due to the fact it had just eaten something.
Wednesday 19th May
Woke late in the morning after a peaceful nights sleep, to stunning views. Then headed off to lake Bled, on the other side of the national park. The road carried on following the river up into the mountains, it was a lovely drive climbing slowly to a height of 1,680 metres before heading back down.
Again everywhere we looked the views were stunning, this country is truly a natural gem, we would both recommend it to anyone.
This was though the national park, so we would have to see what the rest of the country offered us. On the way to Bled we did pass through a couple of dull concrete towns, but I suppose that is the legacy of a communist past. We arrived though at the beautiful lake Bled, with its fairy tale church on a small island in the middle of the lake and it’s stunning backdrop of the Julian Alps.
We settled ourselves at the campsite and took a walk around the lake. We really hope the rest of this country is as green and striking as what we have seen so far.
Thursday 20th May
As it was cheaper at this campsite to stay 3 nights instead of 2, we opted for the longer stop and some time to relax. Plus we were able to pick up wifi in the motorhome, so had a chance to get up to date with things. The weather wasn’t terrible but also wasn’t great so apart from a little filming lakeside for a family video, we sat in on the net. Later in the day we headed off on the bikes round the lake and to the village, before heading up a hill into the woods.
Friday 21st May
Had a lazy morning, then after lunch got the kayaks off and took them down to the lake.
Had great fun kayaking around trying to keep in a straight line! After going a few times around the island, we moored up there to take a look.
While looking around and outside the church, we noticed a sign stating the prices for entrance onto the island. As we didn’t have any money on us, we made a sharp exit back down to the lake to continue kayaking.
Saturday 22nd May
Left the campsite to head to another lake in the national park, called Bohinj. This was larger than Bled and with more natural surroundings, as Bled is touristy with a fair few hotels and shops around it.
We settled at a campsite right on the shore of the lake and headed off for a walk up the mountain, to a waterfall. Up near the top the rain started to come, so we turned back and retreated to the motorhome.
Sunday 23rd May
Woke up to a beautiful view across the lake, but decided to head further south and investigate more of the country. Before leaving I had a good chat with the guy on reception, who wanted to move to England. He was also saying how Slovenia is becoming more westernised, but that work and housing are hard to come by. He continued by telling me the older generation say it was better under Socialism, as they felt more secure and had jobs as well as housing.
We set off down the winding roads, through the hills, with forest and green fields everywhere we looked. We continued through a valley following another river to Idrija. As there were no campsites, we continued on towards the famous Skocjan caves. The journey was continuously green, from the forest covered mountains and valleys, down to the rolling hills and fields. We arrived at a campsite near the caves, but no one was in and we couldn’t work out where we were supposed to set up. After waiting around a while with no one still showing up, we decided to continue on to the town of Kozina.
According to our Slovenian tourist map, there was a campsite here. We drove around a few times and even ended up by the Italian border post, but we couldn’t find any campsite. With no other campsite near we decided to head back to the original one, in the hope someone would now be in and it was in fact actually open. When we arrived there was a large Slovenian family gathered around. We met with the lovely owners of their small campsite, who had been out with their family all day. We were informed that the new shower blocks down by the field didn’t have hot water as yet, but we could stay up here and use the showers in the guest rooms. We opted to stay in the field by a river and an old mill, so drove down the lane. As the field at present had horses in it, the husband followed us down so he could erect a quick fence and keep the horses in the one half. We drove into the field and as the husband went back up to the house to get some posts, were immediately surrounded by four very inquisitive horses!
After a short while the fence was up and we were settled in the one corner of the field, the river around us and the forest covered hills in the distance. We had a chat with the owner, who told us that we should go and see a hill covered in blooming flowers not far from here. As it was late in the day we stayed put in the field.