We're back! Since last we shared anything here, we have spent two busy years in Norway and Finland, but now we are back with a brand new website, and a new travel blog! In June this year, we went on a round-trip that started in Slovakia and took us through Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Austria again in that order, for two and a half weeks. Most of the time was spent in Northern Slovenia and the Dolomites, and this part will focus on Slovenia and all the wonderful places we discovered there.
Our route on the first day would take us from the west of Slovakia and down south to Hungary, turning west to Austria, and finally south again crossing the border to Slovenia. And we must say, if you want to go driving in the mountainous north of Slovenia, make sure your brakes are up for the task before setting off! Two years ago we wrote about our trip in the south of Norway and the twisty roads there, and Slovenia had that tenfold. This does make for some interesting views though, as will be evident from our first stop in this fantastic country: Jamnik, and the epically positioned Church of St. Primoz.
We followed one of the aforementioned twisty roads up to the village, and we might as well say this as soon as possible: Parking can be difficult here. The village itself is tiny and there are no parking spots here at all, only for locals. We found out the hard way when we thought we could drive all the way to the church, but ended up at a dead-end. Luckily for us, a local resident came out and allowed us to use one of his parking spots, the first of many examples of Slovenians being very friendly people (We found out afterwards that the actual parking for the church is along the road we came in on, before the village... Oops). Anyways, dogs on a leash and off to church we went.
The view from here really is fantastic. Even though the light was not the best, and the clouds were moving around, we could count peak after peak in the distance, and when the clouds broke it felt like we could see forever. Definitely worth the drive up, and a beautiful start to our visit. After Jamnik we headed back to our goal for today, Lake Bohinj and Camp Zlatorog.
Here's another good tip: If you go here and decide to use the campsites, especially close to main season, take some time and call ahead to book space. We didn't need to, because it was still not main season yet when we came, but we heard talk of long lines from early in the morning to get a spot in the middle of season... This camp also seemed to fill up in the evening, and looking at the area it was easy to see why. There is a lot to experience here, from cable cars and hikes to boat rides and fishing. Also, it's very close to the border of Triglav National Park, whose borders we would be crossing several times during our trip.
After a decent nights sleep (First time ever for the dogs sleeping in a tent, went off without a hitch), we drove in to the village next to Lake Bohinj for some early morning waterside pictures (Here's another tip that will come again and again for these areas: Get up early in the morning, to avoid the masses. We did, and it definitely paid off at every place we went). We also got some pictures with the statue of the legendary Zlatorog (translation: Goldenhorn), an immortal mountain goat that roams the mountains of Triglav. Later we went to the Seven Lakes Valley, quite a beautiful place for a walk. Had to be careful with the dogs though, as cows were everywhere in the beginning. Coming back to camp later, most of the people had changed for new ones already, and while campsites are not our favourite accommodation, Camp Zlatorog was a fairly quiet place. Also, we didn't pay anything for the dogs in all of Slovenia, which was a big plus. Everywhere we went, people were very friendly and really seemed to love dogs in general. After another successful night in a tent with three big huskies, we set off for our next location: The Soča Valley.
After 2 hours drive and a stop in Most na Soči to admire the absolutely stunning waters of the Soča river (not the last time we would be doing that), we arrived at the highly anticipated Tolmin Gorge. For ages two rivers have worked tirelessly to carve this wonder of nature from the local rock, and boy were we not disappointed. It's safe to say our eyes were more or less wide open since we started the tour, and two big groups of middle schoolers plus an annoying band of photographers aside, it was absolutely worth the entrance fee. It was also very accessible for the dogs, and no one ever expected us to use muzzles on them.
We spent around two hours at the gorge, before heading for our next accommodation in the town of Kobarid where we'd spend two nights. Here, our primary target was the spectacular Kozjak Waterfall, and for this one in particular it was well worth getting up before sunrise. It's a popular place, and with a small, paid parking lot as well as an entrance fee after 8.00 in the morning, we avoided all that by coming at 7.00, AND we had the entire waterfall to ourselves for the next hour. Being situated in a cave, this place should be on anyone's itinerary here, it is absolutely stunning. The rest of the day we spent exploring the Soca river some more, and sampling local cheese in the Planika supermarket (I'm a sucker for good cheese), where they also sell a good selection of local produce, before returning early to our little rented cabin to rest and relax.
Next day we drove a bit further north from Kobarid and checked out the Virje waterfall with its strikingly clear and green waters, and then a short stop in the town of Bovec to do some light shopping (TIP: If you go to Bovec and need a place to park the car, free of charge, check this spot out). Our target today was a place called Log pod Mangartom, and we found a nice walk along a dirt road that ended at a wonderful old farm, hidden in the forest.
Kobarid and its surroundings is a really nice place, and not one of the most crowded ones either, unlike our next destination: Kranjska Gora. And here we will repeat our first tip: Make sure your breaks are in decent condition if you go here by car. Our route from Kobarid took us past the Vršič Pass, 1600m above sea level, along with no less than 50 hairpin turns to get across and down on the other side. View from up there was well worth it though, and coming in to Kranjska Gora we headed straight for our next accommodation at the Natura Eco Camp.
This camp was definitely the nicest one we visited on our trip, as it was small, hidden away, quiet, and everything was made along the theme of being Eco friendly. It's also no more than 10 minutes walk from the centre of Kranjska Gora, as well as being smack in the middle of several hiking trails around the area. The entire valley here is also very well prepared for cycling, if that's your preference.
After a truly quiet night, we again got up at the crack of dawn to sneak off and visit Lake Jasna just outside of Kranjska Gora. Again we were baffled by the clean, blue waters that are in this part of the country, we've never really seen anything like it. We had a lovely, short walk around the lake, only slightly interrupted by a gang of sports cyclists stopping to take pictures, and then drove to the village of Gozd Martuljek. We were tipped about a nice hike to a waterfall here, and we were not disappointed. It was steep to get there, and we've seen more awesome falls before, but the walk was worth it for the dogs especially, as they could pull us and get a proper stretch. It was also not too crowded, and most people seemed to go to a small mountain cabin/farm halfway there, so it's a good place if you want a bit of freedom from the masses. Getting home early, we spent the rest of the day resting in the sun before we ate a decent meal at a local restaurant/hotel in town.
Waking up to the last day in Slovenia (early again), our last stop would be just a few kilometres down the road from the camp, towards the Italian border. The Zelenci lake, definitely a must-see if you're in the area. It's a tiny lake, part of a network in a wetlands that are leftovers from when the last ice melted in the area thousands of years ago, and it's absolutely wonderful. You can throw a rock across it easily, most people would be able to stand in the deepest part without their hair getting wet, and the water is so clear you're left wondering if the fish is actually flying around in there. After shooting some photos here, we left in good spirits towards Italy to visit friends, and part two of our journey. Stay tuned for more!
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