Part 5: Slovenia
It's been 2 weeks already that I am on the road. In the middle of June I am leaving behind the beauty of Istria peninsula to make it further North to Slovenia. Croatian days are over and I loved every bit of them. However, I could have no regrets at all for leaving all these behind me as my ride towards the Slovenian border is epic. Riding around those forests there is just impossible to disappoint you. I must admit I felt lucky that a place in Italy didn't responded so I contacted another one at Slovenia hence I found myself riding on wonderful routes. (There's something even luckier and funnier about my contact with my next place to stay in Slovenia - wait for it).
Around 20 km after the border I make a short stop at Stanjel to see the local castle:
Riding the 103 following the green Soca river is unforgettable:
It's obvious from the first steps in Slovenia that this country offers all shades of green possible:
The whole route attracted me enough to stop every 5 minutes but this way I would never make it to my next destination so I tried to delay only for the very best of it. Here is the harvest from my short stop at the water power plant of "Pregrada Podselo", still riding on the 103, still in full Slovenian green:
Slovenia never runs out of nice rides and my last part up to Grahovo where I would stay for the next days definitely confirmed that, with the only exception that part of the route Google made for me was on a too narrow road so I ended up at a path wide as a medium van where I met with a trash truck and a big van, both offering funny times (check the video on the main page of the trip).
Here's Grahovo's taste in green:
And here's some less green things I captured around:
Last but not least, the place I planned to stay:
How I ended up there is the funny thing (I told you to wait for it):
While I was still in Istria Croatia searching for my next stop, my contact with another place in Italy failed so I found this one instead while Googling the area hence I made it to Slovenia. I decide to sms the owner asking about availability before I hit the road, he doesn't reply immediately so I just start my way to arrive there anyway despite the lack of reply. However, when I arrive hours later I find no one there. As I am walking around his guesthouse looking for vital signs with my fully loaded bike parked outside a friendly local lady came smiling asking me if I need any help. I tell her the story and she says that John (the owner) is away but will be back very soon so I'd better wait for him. She felt the need to tell me how nice John is and left with a full smile all the time on her face. I try to call him again but no luck. Slovenia's cell providers and my phone don't co operate and I'm left without signal. Now I know why I had no reply. A few minutes later John arrives in his old Land Rover. A very nice Irish guy indeed surprised by my arrival. He says "I texted you that I can't host you cause I'll be away due to commitments but I had to come back cause plans changed last minute". The result? His whole guesthouse is available for me myself and I. Luck is the best movie director and here I am at a fantastic place with a top host that I cannot recommend enough. Don't miss Hisa Brdo Guesthouse if you are around. John Cusack (the owner) is a fantastic host with stories to tell.
With John it felt like old friends from the very first minute. Also a biker himself, he took me to his barn a) to offer parking space for my bike and b) to show me a custom bike project he had almost finished. I knew by then we'd get along pretty well. The stories we exchanged were of great variety and high interest. Political, music, travel, girls, you name it. The priceless wonders of meeting the right people while travelling. Especially when these times are escorted by some red wine. This one took place at his backyard:
I enjoy a great sleep at his cozy place. He worked hard to renovate this whole thing and turn it to a great BnB. Next morning he prepares his "Bosnian" breakfast for me which gives me more than enough energy to explore the surroundings. A super bright sunny day helps a lot in drying my hand washed clothes at a fraction of time and makes my ride around such a pleasure:
At Kneza river I take the gravel road following the water and I don't regret it at all:
Riding the 403 in full green is pure joy. Srecno is one of my stops:
As I come back to my BnB John was away, everything is closed in this tiny village on a Sunday so I call John asking him if it's possible to bring me some food on his way back since I am starving. He says:
"I'm already queuing for some take away"
Can I be any luckier? No.
Next morning's view has nothing to complain about:
I walk downstairs and decide to try some of the local walnuts. They actually are the hardest ones ever. You don't believe me? Look at this:
Yes, I broke the effin nut breaker with my own hands. As John arrives I apologise to him but cool as he is says
"No worries, they're so hard I knew this would happen sooner or later".
He even offers to show me around in his car and of course I'd be the last to say no. We first take a short drive up to the local river to hike a bit following trails he knows that I would never discover in such dense vegetation:
Seriously, I can't imagine of a better place to walk around on a hot summer day. We walk back to John's Land Rover who is waiting for us patiently parked in full Slovenian green:
John's suggested that I should also visit the gorge of the nearby town of Tolmin. How could I say no especially since he offers to show me around there as well despite his tired knees. Top guy. And top place Tolmin gorge is indeed. We first cross the local Devil's Bridge, "Hudicev Most". The following picture will probably convince you about its name:
The whole hike is a must - see for yourself:
The left picture above shows the "Diamond Rock" as locals call this one that's stuck in the middle and is indeed diamond shaped. John tells me that this is also a spot where people have attempted suicide. Pretty sad but definitely they had a taste in places. At the same time and place, look at this tree managing to survive hanging off the cliff without any soil:
Such a contradictory life lesson given (as usual) for free from mama nature.
No better way to finish this than a nice meal and John being hungry as me knows the right place for sure:
A nice biker friendly restaurant right by the running water of "Mlecni potok" where I have this lovely dish:
My second time in Slovenia is almost over and could hardly be any better. Next day Switzerland waits for me!
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