BICYCLE EXPLORING SLOVENIA ALONG THE CROATIAN BORDER PART I

Thanks to Covid 19, exploring our own backyards has become the best & safest option for travel. I’ve explored many parts of Slovenia: Soca Valley, Kranjska Gora, Kranj, Kamnik, Maribor, Ptuj, & more, but never explored eastern Slovenia, by bike.

I got my train ticket the day before. English is usually never a problem, but English with a mask? another story. I get on the train and she says my ticket was for yesterday. Then I ask her if I need to change trains, she says no. I ride the train to the end, the wrong end. I finally get on track, having to explain twice more how I got the wrong day ticket. The best part of riding the train frequently, the train conductor knew me and believed me.
I wanted to start in Hodoš, as far northeast as the train goes. After a wasted day of missed trains, I ended up in Murska Sobota and biked to Moravske Toplice. It’s a Sava resort with pools and waterslides heated by natural thermal water. The best part of bike touring? unloading your bike and let the exploring begin.
I visited the bike rental shop and asked for a good loop ride. They suggested Bukovnisko Lake, I was hoping for a swim too. But your only allowed to swim if no one in fishing, they were fishing. I returned to live music, local crafts and a good time. Bought a box of misc. homemade cookies and blueberry juice.

You only need a few days of resort living, then it’s time to hit the road. I have a friend that lives in Jeruzalem (Slovenia). Everytime I go to see her village, she’s in Croatia on vacation, this time too. It’s been all flat riding till now, Jeruzalem is UP.

I stayed 2 hours a the restaurant and was so full I could hardly ride. I looked at the map, one campground was 10 km away another 30 km. I called and the 10 km Eko Camp, is open & mostly downhill! Hosts Denise & Mona offer rafting trips and Mona works at a local tourist agency, so she knows the area very well. They can be contacted at TEMPLARJEVO POSESTVO-EcoCamp. Slovenia is small, so small we had friends in common. The camp attracted like minded people, It felt like home. I’ll be back to go rafting, soon.

I really wanted to go rafting, but I really wanted to bike too, just more. My next campground is pretty close, so I hang around Eko-camp till noon. About 1 km out of camp was a line of plume trees. I didn’t have a container, so I filled my shoes. I thought, I’ll wash the plumes, nope too good to wait. The next campground was under construction. I was basically camping in their backyard. They brought me dinner and breakfast.

Olimje
Last time I camped at Aqualuna it was the off season and the pools were closed. This time is was so crowded, I only went swimming once. They said on the weekends the line at 8 was to the train tracks, that’s a long line.

The road to Olimje is a fun filled adventure. You could spend the whole day exploring & eating your way through here. Gostišče Jelenov greben is a deer farm, I’ve been here maybe 3 times before. I met the owner who said his family owned the farm that raised pigs & cows. He said “too much work” and started raising deer, he claims they’re trouble free and the tourist feed them too. Then there’s Čokoladnica Olimje (chocolate shop). Thank god I’m biking, the chocolate bar lasted me a week. Further up the road is the Land of Fairy Tales and Imagination. The person who runs the Fairy Land is the grandson of the creator. He was a physics teacher who came to tinker and relax on the weekends. Lots of natural water powered features. Then there’s the Olimje Monastery, I didn’t have time to visit this time, but it’s here to explore too. After a day of exploring, on your way back you can stop at Haler Homestead Olimje, a small Slovenian brewery. I’ve had the beer but haven’t eaten here (yet). There’s a golf course too, which I was told the restaurant is top notch. Maybe 2 days here, if you golf.

The Slovenian government gave every adult citizen 200 euro and 50 euro for each child, it had to be spent at a tourist destination. As someone who has lived here for 6 years, I still didn’t qualify. But that’s OK, it made me feel ok about changing my “What do you do here?” I changed my response from “Retirement” to “Full Time Tourist.” I’m good for the Slovenian economy!
Part 2 of this tour explores parts of Slovenia that one person said “this is Slovenia 30 years ago.” I looked around and she was right.

Thanks for reading.

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