If Slovenia hadn’t been calling us, we probably would have caught a ferry across to Italy. We’d have visited Dubrovnik instead of crashing on the northern coast road. This alternative route would have taken us through Bosnia and possibly Albania as well. In the East, visas often determined the countries we could ride through and this dictated our route. In Europe it was the opportunity to meet up with good friends that shaped our destinations.
We had a few days to spare after entering Slovenia so we recuperated and visited some of the region’s most famous sights. Postojna’s caves attract millions of visitors a year, dwarfing the country’s actual population. It is a vast cave complex in which a small train shuttles you 5km into the rock so you can wander through seemingly endless rock formations. The cave also houses a very unique animal that was mistaken for baby dragons in ancient times. The completely blind and entirely aquatic proteus salamanders sniff their way around the river systems, sometimes enduring 5 years between crustacean meals. These flesh-white, translucent and shiny creatures ponder life quietly and can live for up to a century. Cave life must be slow.
Sliding easily into the quaint and peaceful capital city of Ljubljana, we soon met up with Jo and Tom. They had kindly arranged everything from this point on, so we got to relax while they showed us the sights of the city. The other advantage of having tour guides flown in from the UK meant delivery of a much-needed new wing mirror for Stein.
Throw a stone north from Ljubljana and it’ll land in Lake Bled so this is where we went next. This stupidly picturesque lake is centred on an island church and is overlooked by an impressive castle. The friendly boatmen skull their customers slowly across the crystal-clear waters all day in tranquil silence. Alas, our tourist hand-holding ended at this point so Jo and Tom could fly back to grisly Luton. Pressing on, we explored more optic-blue lagoons and admired Mt Triglav’s 2,800m crest in the distance. Slovenia’s a pretty small country that prides itself on being environmentally responsible. It’s a great example of how being ‘green’ makes this a feast for the eyes with a lush, immersive, real green. And blues. And browns. And natural beauty. Spectacular!