I love the Ordnance Survey. I learnt to navigate with OS maps and find them brilliantly detailed. However, Slovenian leisure maps could teach even the OS a thing or two! Detailing all the footpaths and cycle ways with itineraries and elevation diagrams – and grading the river for kayakers, we decided that Slovenian maps are Brilliant!
Of course, this didn’t mean that we failed to get lost…
We set off into the mountains that we could see in the distance from the campsite, following footpath T1. Disappointingly, the path started off up the road, although we soon managed to cut off and walked in woods along the Lepenjika, a tributary of the Soča. We were delighted to find a series of beautiful waterfalls, cascading through the forest. We dipped in our feet; the water was so cold that it was painful!
The path was really well marked everywhere that the route was obvious; of course that changed as soon as the path became more obscure! Naturally, it didn’t take us long to get lost. We soon found ourselves following a different river, the Sunik, making an ascent of Zagreben, a 1222m peak! To my horror, after his comments on laundry day, we discovered a wooden aqueduct. I gave him a look. “Don’t say a word…!”
We crashed around the forest looking for the path to Dom dr Klementa Juga but gave up and wandered back. We tried to follow footpath T2 on the other side of the river, but it didn’t seem to exist. This is what makes map reading so confusing! Before we criticise the OS, we should say that we didn’t know how up to date the Slovenian maps were. We suspected that the path had probably been washed away when the river was in flood.
We got back across the bridge with no further ado – the bridges were very bouncy and the dogs didn’t like them. We were not too keen, especially when one of the slats broke under Mark’s step! We had a slight problem when Rosie needed picking up and everyone got in a bit of a kerfuffle; Mark accidentally trod on Kai’s tail and Kai shot straight off the bridge. Fortunately, he landed in some soft foliage, but it was a lesson learned in being a bit more organised in such situations!
The bridge out of the campsite was really bouncy and people were not at all patient – pushing past us rather rudely. I would hate for one of the dogs to be knocked off – the fall would be very injurious if not fatal, so we now carry all puppies across all bridges.
We finished our walk as you should, with a dip in an ice cold river. It was positively painful plunging in, but we felt so absolutely, tinglingly refreshed as we dried off on a sun-warmed limestone boulder. We even saw some beautiful fish – they may have been the marbled trout, a rare species indigenous to this area.
It was scorchingly hot, with temperatures in the mid 30s, so we rested in the shade for the early part of the day. Kai was a little under the weather; he had been sick in the morning and off his food. We put it down to the heat. My bicycle odometer was giving out pertinent advice. It said ‘Sleep’!
As the day cooled, we followed footpath T2. Mark had persuaded me not to bring the camera. The first thing we saw was a field full of beautiful white horses; a couple looked like they might be Lipizzaners, which fits in as they are bred in Lipica, Slovenia; a few others looked suspiciously like Welsh Mountain Ponies, however! THEN – we saw a bloke towing a hay wagon with a lawnmower. The money shot. And I missed it!
We walked out on the hillside and back via the Soča Way. The river is stunning. I saw precious stones the same colour as that water when we were looking for an engagement ring! Topaz and Aquamarine. The path took us alongside deep gorges, carved through the limestone and smoothed by the passage of millennia and millions of gallons of water. At one point, there were signs showing how high the waters had risen in various years. The river looks benign now, but I would love to see it as a roaring torrent!
We whiled away the evening with a couple of cold ones and a chat. The puppies had Goose for dinner; they definitely don’t like it as much as kangaroo!
The Soča Way to the West
Another scorcher – there was nothing for it but to stay in the shade until about 15.30. Then we walked downstream on the Soča Way. Needless to say, it was as beautiful as upstream – the water’s jewel colours continue to amaze!
We found a deserted little beach and plunged into the icy waters. I was actually beginning to rather enjoy my daily ice cold plunges!
We met a German couple while out walking. They told us that Neuschwanstein, the fairytale castle in Bavaria that we really wanted to see, has building work going on and is covered in scaffolding at the moment. We made the tough decision not to return through Germany.
It was tougher than you think. We had to throw away all the plastic bottles and cans that we had saved and transported through the Czech Republic, Austria and into Slovenia. Germany is very advanced on the recycling front and that was €10 in deposits, I’ll have you know!
We had our last dunk in the Soča. The mountains looked wonderful, with a crescent moon hanging over them as they softened into the sunset. So beautiful.
We really will miss waking into those views!
We have long been Star Trek fans, but don’t miss what happens when we meet Krk for the first time!
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