The T-shirts say sLOVEnia and it would be hard not to feel some strong emotion in such a beautiful, magical landscape. From wide flat valleys you are surrounded by layers of Tolkeinesque, tree covered peaks, with snow capped Alps towering in the background. Seeking quiet roads took us away from the terrible traffic on those that run through low passes and into the hills.Our thermometer had been peaking at 108’F each day for over a week and this continued to Ljubljana. Heat, a strong, warm southerly headwind and some mad gradients meant that we took our time soaking up the scenery and were rewarded at the top of every climb, with stunning views to take away what little breath we had.
At night we stood outside the tent offering ourselves up to droves of voracious mosquitoes to watch storms across distant hilltops, lightning too bright to look at lit the entire sky as thunder rumbled on and on around us. In Ljubljana we got to experience the rain that comes with these night time storms and then got a good soaking from a day time one for good measure. Ljubljana, like the rest of Slovenia, is straight off a picture postcard, yet feels very understated.
Apart from a little heavy industry at Celle and the offices and shops of the capital, Slovenia offered no clues as to what its economy is built on, but everything about it is certainly well heeled and as usual sterling did not equip us for the high life.
Ater Ljubljiana we dodged some heavy storms but managed to find fairly quiet routes south, again some amazing inclines until a few miles south of Postajna (famous for incredible caves, which we did not visit). On this road we came across some other two wheeled travellers, as we were climbing a long hill out of Logatec, which we had thought would be a busy road. We became aware that the only traffic to have passed us in either direction for some time were speeding police motorcyclists, with bells and whistles screaming. After a dozen of so had come towards us, there were other speeding vehicles, ibncluding some sporting logos from with TV and radio companies. We pulled into a layby and waited….
Eventually a lone cyclist came haring down the hill, flanked by speeding vehicles, then the silence of the empty road again. Minutes later the peloton shot past, moving as one and followed by countless cars with bikes on top, motorcyclistts and bringing up the rear a lone ambulance.We jumped on the tandem and managed to get a little way up the hill before the traffic started filling the road again.
The descent that took us all the way to the border was gentle and very long. Mile after mile under skies that appeared to be getting lighter as we approached Croatia and the coastline and sunshine we craved. This was the first border control we’d passed through still in operation,so we got in line with the cars and camper vans and got our passports scanned Then off to the seaside!