We left the Dolomites after a bit of bad weather and a sprinkle of snow had coated all the mountains, whilst taking away a few more degrees in the process. This was enough to force us to leave as it was pretty cold already. We had an amazing second trip to the Dolomites managing to squeeze in loads of climbing and Via Ferrata, however we now headed to Slovenia as a pre cursor to Croatia. We drove via Austria, where we spent the night and little else, although we did need a trip to Media Markt as I managed to smash the screen on the sat nav, and we rely quite heavily on it, so we needed a new one!
On arrival to Slovenia we needed to get a Vignette and they only offer a week, month or longer, we opted for a week in the hope of squeezing in some days in the great outdoors, that we heard Slovenia had in abundance. We drove directly to Bled, and found some free parking in a lay by just off the main road into town. It was getting late due to our unplanned shopping trip in Austria, so we took a fifteen minute walk into town, and as soon as we were there set off around the lake, I the hoped the sun would stay put for long enough for us to get a decent photo of the classic island on the lake.
Luckily for us the sun was just setting and it was nice to see the faint orange and red sky, as a background for the church! There was a host of other photographers set up all along the lakeside, all vying for the perfect shot, all very serious! We walked the full 360deg and the whole scene was picturesque, the castle lit up at night, looking like it was straight out of an old Hollywood horror film, swans and ducks just milled around whilst tourists and runners meandered all around the lake. After a quick internet stop we made our way back to the van, which involved a pitch black walk through a wooded path that raised thoughts of horror films again, although the more sinister ones this time.
We spent the night here and were not bothered, and in the morning set off for Vitgar Gorge, that I saw in another blog post and fancied seeing the place for myself! For five euro entry there are wooden paths that line the Gorge allowing unprecedented access to views through the Gorge, with occasional bridge that allowed you to cross and stand above waterfalls and fast flowing water. The still water had a turquoise blue colour, and was filled with fish statically swimming against the current, I’m guessing they were eating as the water flowed by. I’m a massive water feature fan, and always stop to take photos whenever we see one in the mountains. So this was me in an element, although photos do not replace seeing the real thing.
After this trip we went into town to visit the tourism office in Bled as we needed a map and had a few questions, and to be honest the attendant was the most helpful that we have ever spoke to throughout the trip. He made us aware of more than we needed to know, mountain routes, road closures, open huts, winter huts etc… he was on fire and for once it was nice to have some information that was worthwhile.
After this me and jess returned to the van and had a bit of a conflab on what we would do with the rest of the week. After a while we had it all planned out; visit another Gorge that afternoon, climb the next day, back to Bled the next as jess needs to work and then see if we can have a couple of days in the mountains and try Triglav by a Via Ferrata route.
The Gorge we visited that afternoon was completely different to Vitger, Mostnice started with you higher above the water, looking deep into the Gorge where the clear water again held shades of turquoise, blue and green. This area was less developed that Vitgar, and consisted of footpaths that often worked their way away from the Gorge and so you had to walk through the trees to get a closer look. It was still beautiful but in a different way. We were surrounded by forrest, that had been taken over by Autumn, as orange and yellow leaves carpeted the floor and hung on here and there to the branches.
You loose the Gorge, part way through the walk and end up walking up a road, past a hut and then a load of lodges on an open plain, this was a little different to what we expected. We were heading to the end of the Gorge to a waterfall, and although this part took quite a while we were determined to get there. Time was closing in on us and as we reached the waterfall I knew we would be walking some of our return trip in the dark. The waterfall was nice enough, although was it worth the walk? Maybe, I’m not sure, I think at this time I wanted to make haste and get home asap.
I was right and as we walked home the path was lit less and less, and I needed to concentrate hard to make sure my ankles stayed in tact and I was not felled by a stray root or stone. Eventually we arrived at the van, and set off immediately to find some parking for the night. We eventually found a car park that was not charged at the far edge of Bohinj Lake, opposite a hotel that had closed down, I wanted to go inside as my mind thought it could be like the shining.
Both gorges and the lake had been beautiful in their own ways and the last couple of days had been a nice exploration of the local areas, I can see why this place is so popular with tourists, I hope that the rest of our week us as good as this, if not better! I just hope free parking is easier to come by, as pretty much everywhere seems to be payed for, even the most remote places. It’s not cheap either, €10 a day might seem ok if you are a banker, but I don’t think it’s justified outside of the main town. Not to mention that the paid car parks are where you might need to park for multiple nights in the mountains, and you can’t do more than one 24 hr period, so are nearly guaranteed to get a ticket? I get a feeling that city slickers have made this decision with profit in mind, without understanding the needs of the users. However the longer we stay the more we are finding places to park for free and more places to park over night! We are nearly at five months without paying to camp anywhere, I thought Slovenia might break us, but so far so good!