Be brave & have faith – there is almost always something better around the corner!
We were upset to have been booted out of the beautiful mountains in Austria but the moment we entered Slovenia, my jaw dropped. It re-clenched again only as we descended the many vertiginous hairpins of the Predel (or Predil) Pass.
As we topped Predel at 1156m (5,285ft), all we could see were the bright, white limestone peaks of the Julian Alps soaring into the air over deep chasms of emerald green, far below. The pyramids were faced with limestone so that they shone out in the landscape; this was far more impressive. My camera ran out of battery as I tried in vain to capture the amazing views that greeted every turn.
We passed through three countries today, slipping briefly back into Italy from Austria to cross into Slovenia. Italy felt like home! I could understand the road signs and it just has a lovely feel. Big Blue did really well, there was definitely a stench of clutch and brakes during the never-ending descent. We were actually overtaken by a bicycle as we wound carefully down from the 1156m summit. We didn’t want to impede him; we both agreed – he had EARNED that downhill!
Camp Soča looked lovely, right by the Soča river and bathed in warm sunshine. The down side was a charge of €3 per night per dog. “You chose to have 4 dogs. Some people have 6 children!” the receptionist remonstrated. “Dogs don’t use the showers!” I replied. Grudgingly, he agreed to discount us for one dog. It made the pitch about €30 per night, which is the top of our range, but the view and the location really did make it worth it. We could always be paying €36 per night for a pitch by a shed, with no electric, in the rain at Wolfgangsee, Austria!
I had thought that the scenery in Austria was a 10/10 but Slovenia knocks the spots off it. All I can say is – Austria, your loss is our gain!
I took the dogs for a walk while Mark put up the awning. I walked out of the campsite on an uninviting little track and saw what looked like a dried up stream bed, which seemed to drop down to the river. Then, as I turned the corner, I thought I had been transported to Paradise. The river Soča wages the hefty claim of being ‘The Most Beautiful River in the World.’ As the track opened out and I was greeted by the deep turquoise waters of the river bordered by golden shallows, edged with pale beaches and pure white stones where the river emerged from a steep, limestone gorge with walls like polished alabaster. I was not inclined to disagree!
We had nothing to eat but leftovers. As I returned from doggy walking, I told Mark “I saw a mobile shop. Give me some dosh. Quick!” As I raced back over to the children’s play area, the mobile shop had disappeared! I saw Mark look exasperated as it passed our caravan, but then relieved when he saw me in hot pursuit on foot, my shopping bag ballooning with hunger-driven velocity! I managed to be first in the queue and bought a few fresh items to brighten up our fine repas of day-old tuna pasta!
The setting sun turned the peaks deep red; we could even see mountain tops through our skylights. I think it would be correct to say that we were really happy to have made the move.
We always seem to come up trumps when we decide to move on.
It could be a lesson in life; be brave and have faith – there is almost always something better around the corner!
I was quite surprised to find the Predel Pass listed on the ‘Dangerous Roads’ website – although it does explain why we were overtaken by a bicycle!
Join us next time for Operation Doggy Dinners, which takes us to Kranjska Gora, past Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, via a second bicycle stand-off on the Vršič Pass. Higher than Ben Nevis, with cobbles and 50 hairpins (the ones they care to mention) Vršič is a more justifiable contender for the list of ‘Dangerous Roads!’