So, we rolled down into Slovenia on a sunny Sunday heading towards Landava on a flat and easy route. Our aim was to reach Ptui by the evening and a campsite. Slovenia is very clean and ordered and could be the little brother of Austria which sits directly to the north. They both share good tarmac, mountains, fast cars and, as we discovered when we got to the campsite, high prices. Twenty six euros to pitch a tent for the night is crazy and probably the most expensive in Europe, which is what I said to the receptionist as she looked at me with total indifference.
A little tip if you’re planning on camping in Europe – stay well clear of anywhere that advertises thermal baths. They inevitably attract the older and wealthier traveller, more often than not driving one of those white campervans with pushbikes/motorbikes/small car attached to the back. And they seem more than happy to spunk their pension on paying these rip-off merchants for a tiny patch of earth just so they can feel safe at night.
The next day we took to the hills – not out of choice but necessity. Heading towards Ljubljana, someone stuck a load of mountains in the way. Busy main roads saw us head for the scenic route and mad gradients on tiny tracks with no switchbacks. Not the place to take a loaded tandem and two sweaty cyclists. But, so beautiful. The landscape dips into the valleys and then forests climb back out again. Tiny villages with church steeples poking out of the trees dot to dot their way across the horizon. The sun was shining and the view across the countryside crystal clear.
Back down on the main road, it was business as usual – the commuters were commuting and we joined in with the joke that is rush hour. We passed through Cellje and saw our first and last Slovenien industry before popping out the other side on our way to another campsite. No thermal baths at this one, so no white campers and 12 euros a night cheaper as a consequence.
We arrived in Ljubljana the next day and stayed a couple of days due to the rain. The city itself is small enough to get around has good cycle lanes and an old town with a river running through it and an outdoor market in the centre. Ljubljana is a very ordinary city which I liked. We also met John and Cathy in Ljubljana – you can read about their four month tour of southern India here.
Our last full day in Slovenia took us south on busy roads with hills and the odd rain shower. We managed to get a free night’s camping to ease the pain on the wallet before we rode down to the Croatian border with the Germans, Italians, Dutch and French tourists in tow.
Reading back through this blog entry, I don’t think I’ve done Slovenia justice. It’s a very beautiful country and the people were friendly and accomodating. Yes, it’s expensive, but we are tourists and that’s the nature of the game, I reluctantly suppose. Ljubljana was probably my favourite of the capital cities we visited, very relaxed and unassuming. So, that was Slovenia – now onto Croatia.