Slovenia’s central European location allows you to visit 4 different countries with just a couple hour drive. I biked through Rovinj, Croatia last summer and only spent 1 afternoon there. I thought it was a must re-visit kinda place back then. Natasa got 2 days off work combined with the weekend, 4 days of vacation. We put a 3 hour maximum of “willing” to drive to our vacation spot, Rovinj was perfect, 2.5 hrs.
We got an Air B&B apartment for 3 nights $150. While driving down the street looking for our place, we noticed nearly every house had an apartment for rent. We probably didn’t need to book ahead. We unpack the car and bike into the old town (photos).
We decide to bike north along the coast, to see what we see.
Natasa wants to visit Brijuni National Park (photos), I don’t know anything about the Park. It’s only a 30 minute drive, 15 minute boat ride and tourist train ride around the island, I can do that.
Tito spent 6 months a year on the Brijuni island, there’s a museum dedicated to him. While walking through the museum and looking and reading everything, I became infatuated with Josip Broz Tito. (if you’ve got the time read the link, he’s amazing). He had many visitors to the island including Castro and Stalin.
After our miniature train tour of the Island, we decide to rent bikes. The train took us by some places that, with a bike, we can spend more time visiting.
Tito had a collection of animals given by heads of states from other countries.
The train acknowledged, but didn’t stop at the Dinosaur Exhibit, so by bike, we stop
Right next to the footprints is this
The ferry leaves in 15 minutes and were way north on the island. We race back, return the bikes, hop on board, the sun sets as we reach the mainland. Were beat, it was a long day.
Yesterday back in Rovinj they were setting up an elementary grade school “art” exhibit, of “what they wanted in the city” and today it’s up.
When I biked through Croatia last year, it was with two vegetarians, Carolyn and Tyler of Two Wheel Travel Blog. We kept passing roadside BBQ’s, I kept requesting we stop for the BBQ Pig, it wasn’t going happen. So I told Natasa, I really want to have the BBQ pig, when we go out.
The Rovinj Farmers market was run like a Mafia market. There were maybe 15 vendors who all had nearly the same products at the same prices. I wanted to buy the Lavender Soap, but not at the fixed Mafia price. I made an offer to one vendor then another, both refused my deal. I finally found a willing seller and paid a price I felt was closer to what I felt the soap was worth.
We had a good time in Croatia, it’s so great being so close to so many different countries all with there own cultures and foods.
NEXT: As promised “WHERE THE HELL IS SKOFJA LOKA?” It’s gonna be BIG!
Natasa is off to Sarajevo and I’m offered the car for the weekend. The car idea is somewhat tempting, but as a biker, we usually like to pedal our ride not drive it. So, I plan a weekend trip, first by train to Most na Soca (photos). Then bike to Camp Villi (photos) to use as a base camp and do some exploring of the region, by bike. I call Will and warn him that I’m coming and I would like the BBQ fish dinner.
I finally work my way back up to the asphalt road and check my google map to see how far Camp Villi is, I see it’s directly below me. It’s hot and I’m wearing jeans, I didn’t bring any cycling shorts. Camp Villi is alive with activity, like cutting the grass and other country living chores.
I had called ahead and told them I was coming, good plan. They thought I was going to be the only one camping and eating with them, wrong, 14 more people showed up.
From my campsite there are about 12 people parasailing above me. I talk with Will and he tells me you can fly for 5 or 6 hours if you want. The thermal lifts here, are world renowned. I thought I would take a photo the next day, but forgot to. So I posted this video of someone doing a 40 km “sailing.”
The weather is uncharacteristically warm and very sunny. I start thinking that maybe I should do the Mt. Triglav loop, that I’ve wanted to do all summer. I check the distance and the weather online. I call Natasa and tell her my plans, “have a good time”, I’m going to ride the valley and climb the mountain. It’s the challenge that I enjoy, so here goes.
i stop at a store for some supplies for tomorrows climb, there’s a couple of touring German cyclist here too They just climbed the mountain and said it took them an hour and half. I gave myself 2-3 hours and to be sure I would make it. I camped at the last campground just before the climb, to give myself enough time.
I make a big bowl of oatmeal, fruit and nuts and 2 cups of coffee. It’s time to meet my destiny, the top!
HOLY SHIT, 14% GRADE FOR 9 KM.(5.6 MILES) (I’m toast)
IT TOOK ME 2.5 HOURS TO REACH THE SUMMIT OF PRELAZ VRSIC (there’s no way those other cyclist made it in 1.5 hours) The pass road is closed in the winter.
i finally reach Kranjska Gora, this bike path starts at the Italian border and goes all the way to Camp Kamne. Camp Kamne is where Natasa and I first met.
I was the only one a Camp Kamne, for awhile, then 3 more campers showed up.
I was going to take the 3pm train from Jesenice back to Skofja Loka. I looked at the map and it was only 56km, easy, no mountains and I would get in SKofja Loka about the same time, as the train. I message Natasa and tell her my plans, “see you tonight, have fun”, awesome. I’ve wanted to figure out how to ride from here to Skofja Loka, google maps shows me the Highway, so instead I use the walking route map.
I was doing really good for awhile, the walking route was more than rewarding.
i missed another turn and ended up riding into someones farm, then a dog chased me away. I checked my map and found out where I went wrong (again).
I finally made it to Kranj, I’ve ridden to Kranj from Skofja Loka 6 or 7 times. It’s about a 40 minute ride and I got back an hour after the train, not too bad? I was so glad to be back. I think todays ride was harder than crossing the PRELAZ VRSIC (mountain pass). I was so dead,
If your considering a challenging bike route here it is.
Next time I’ll ride from Skofja Loka to Most na Soca, instead of the train, it’s a quiet road. IS BIKING BETTER THAN DRIVING? Of course I say yes, but you decide for yourself. Taking 4 days biking versus 3 hours driving allows for a greater connection with an area, just look at the photos, they tell the real story.
NEXT? BIKING IN CROATIA (again). For all the people waiting for my Skofja Loka stories and photos, I swear they’re next-next. I have 450 photos to sort and figure out where to put to make a nice story;-)
I know I promised to write about life in Skofja Loka, but shit happens. We’ve had a terrible summer, except for the last couple of days, sunny sunny sunny. It’s hard to work inside when it’s so nice outside. We went to the European Union Mobility Festival events in Ljubljana. I did the bike tour, then we all 3 did the walking tour and then a free train ride to the Ljubljana Castle (photos) in the city center.
I was told by the head of Slovenian Tourism that the route around Mt. Triglav is the most beautiful part of Slovenia. I’ve been trying all summer to get someone, anyone to join me for a bike tour of the region, but no takers. (Stanley)I finally convince Natasa that driving around the mountain and car-camping would be OK too. So we are going to drive around Mt. Triglav (photos), the highest mountain in Slovenia and it’s only National Park while doing bike tour scouting.
We didn’t leave till 5pm, so within a couple hours the sun was disappearing. I type “camping” into Google maps and it shows a few campsites, on the other side of the Soca River. We finally find a bridge, cross the river and follow some camping signs down a gravel road. We stumble into CAMP VILI (camp willy), and meet the very funny owner, Will. We didn’t plan any dinner options for tonight. So Will’s many choices are more than welcome.
We opt for the fresh BBQ fish.
The road ends in KOBARID (photos), a place for adventure experiences: rafting, canyoning, hiking, kayaking and parasailing
We stopped at many different campgrounds to see what amenities they offered. Some sold sheep cheese and had an in-house restaurant.
We’ve driven through the entire Trenta Valley (photos) and are about to head up and over the mountain. I’m taking photos as Natasa drives, we pass a photo opportunity, but continue to drive. I finally said “wait” there’s an awesome photo I want. Natasa agrees and turns the car around. We only go back about a kilometer or 2.
We basically drove through the Trenta Valley following the Soca River. Natasa suggest we hike to the Soca’s source, mmm OK. The first part of the hike was easy, but before long we’re hanging onto a cable, to reach the source.
I tell her, “I’m not dieing to see the Soca River source.” We turn around and I buy the post card of what it looks like. Natasa treats me to some cherry strudel, for doing the hike? It’s time to drive up and over PRELAZ VRSIC (photos) .
It was quite a great “road” trip, very doable by bike, except maybe climbing the 10 km mountain.
We’re great travel companions, as always looking forward to our next adventure. Natasa has to go to Sarajevo for work, in a couple weeks. So I plan to take the train to Most Na Soca and bike to Camp Ville, while she’s gone. I was going to just ride up and down the bike route, then take the train back to Skofja Loka. The weather is forecast, sunny for 4 days–straight!
NEXT? I bike the route we just drove, including up Prelaz Vrsic pass. Is biking really better travel than by car? stay tuned