Bright sunshine lit up the peaks around us, but today was laundry day. We were right out of pants and our cupboards contained even less than Old Mother Hubbard’s!
The caravan water pump was sounding a little iffy. “We could set up something with a bit of height and siphon the water straight into the washing machine to help save the pump” I suggested. “The kids over there are carving wood.” Mark replied. “I could ask them to carve an aqueduct. Then we could bring hot water direct, all the way from the shower block.”
You just don’t need that, do you?!
We shopped in Bovec; a wonderful place! It had the same cool vibe as Paia on the North Shore of Maui, Hawai’i. In Paia, everyone is a chilled-out dude with a surfboard under their arm. Bovec is similar, albeit filled with earthy mountain types, where everyone had excess body hair and was packing a kayak, climbing shoes or a bike.
The supermarket was closed for lunch! We had a beer and caught up on t’internet (the Mi Fi didn’t work on the campsite!) Mark tried and failed to order some dog food for delivery. We haven’t broken it to the puppies yet, but we’re on our last tin of Rinti and have nearly run out of dry food and treats.
“I’ve bought loads of vegetables and I don’t know what they are!” was the result of Mark’s shopping expedition in The Czech Republic. In Bovec, he bought a scary looking fish for dinner from a market stall. We didn’t know what that was either – but it was delicious steamed with a bit of mash and pesto!
Operation Doggy Dinners – via the Highest Mountain Pass in Slovenia!
Despite sustained attempts, we were unable to order dog food on the internet. The local supermarkets only stock cheap food, at which our discerning doggies turn up their noses. It’s not the usual reason to visit, but we decided to drive to Kranskja Gora, a larger town, to see if we could get any decent dog food.
We stopped at Kranskja Gora for a coffee with a view of the mighty Triglav, the highest peak in the Julian Alps. We could still only get Chappie (meat flavoured water containing a few small pieces of gristle) so we decided to go on to Lake Bled to see if we could score some Pedigree Chum.
We might patent ‘The Dog Food Run’ as a scenic mountain drive. The Vršič Pass, the highest mountain pass in Slovenia, was certainly an interesting route to the pet shop! It has 50 hairpins (the ones they care to mention) at a gradient of up to 14% and reaching a height of 1611m (5285ft). That is higher than Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, which is a puny 1,344m (4,409 ft) at the top.
We were glad that we didn’t have the caravan in tow. Big Blue was certainly feeling it a bit and, although unlike on the Predel Pass, we weren’t overtaken by a bicycle, we did follow one down – and we couldn’t quite keep up with him!
We met a couple from Accrington who wanted to do the Vršič Pass in their motorhome. We advised them to do a circular tour going up via Predel and back via Vršič; descending the way we came might just burn out their brakes!
We managed to get Royal Canin dog food and some Loo Blue at the Mercator centre in Jesenice, a town near Lake Bled. It was getting a bit late to continue to Bled, so we decided to leave that for another day. Mark has maintained his record in exotic shopping; the dogs can look forward to kangaroo, ostrich and reindeer for dinner!
It is rather ironic that last year, we hauled 60kg of dog food and a shipping load of Pedigree Dentastix around France – and then found that we could buy branded dog food absolutely anywhere!
This year, we were wiser. We brought less – only to find that our supplies conveniently ran out just as we hit a country where the only choice is Chappie – and you can’t order from Zooplus with a billing address outside of Slovenia! (To be fair, in Germany, we could order from Zooplus but they required payment by Bank Transfer – so we didn’t bother!)
Slovenia has only one National Park, Triglav, although it does make up 3% of the country! We asked about rules for dogs in the Tourist Office in Kransjka Gora. Dogs must be on leads throughout the National Park. If you get caught, they don’t shoot, but you can be fined quite heavily!
I tried to snap Triglav from the car. Until I downloaded the pictures later, I wasn’t sure if I had managed to get a shot. It would have been embarrassing to miss a 2864m (9396ft) object!
Triglav is the highest peak in Slovenia and is a symbol of Slovenian identity. It is also very familiar to me. My brother and sister-in-law climbed it a few years ago. A postcard of its distinctively-shaped peak has adorned my mountain-loving father’s mantlepiece ever since!
Vršič Pass features on the website Dangerous Roads! Click here for details. We drove it in fine weather with no caravan. Bits of it were cobbled and bits were under construction. It was steep and twisty but no real problem. However, I would not attempt Vršič with the caravan in tow. Mark, on the other hand…!
Viewed from Vršič – as you drop into Kranjska Gora
- The Russian Chapel of St. Vladimir was constructed in wood in 1917 by the Russian prisoners of war who built the Vršič Pass. Many perished during the construction and were buried here, in a pyramid-shaped stone tomb. The chapel is signposted as you drop down towards Kranjska Gora.
- The Prisank Window & The Pagan Girl
- The Prisank Window is one of the largest natural orifices in Slovenia (apart from – thank you. Mark already said it!) 80m high by 40m wide, it is visible from the road, with convenient parking for a photo-stop. It is also possible to hike up to it.
- The Pagan Girl – ‘Ajdovska deklica’ is a natural rock formation which looks like a face. Legend has it that Ajdovska deklica prophesied that the son of a hunter would shoot the Zlatorog, or Goldhorn, a legendary white chamois buck with golden horns. Nobody liked the prophesy, so they turned her to stone. Don’t shoot the Goldhorn – but shoot the messenger! For the lovely Slovenian legend of the Zlatorog – a cautionary tale of greed – click here.
- Jasna Lake will greet you as you drop into Kranjska Gora. You can walk around the lake, contemplate the reflections of the mountains in the clear waters – or try your hand at fishing!
Join us next time as we walk into our view!
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