Bicycle touring Slovenia: Ptuj to the Krka

I wish I had written this post just after our first week in Slovenia. It’d be a bit more of “first impressions” post. As it is (spoiler), my opinion of Slovenia gets better every week (we’re into our 4th week here now).

I read over my notes so I’ll try to describe things as I felt then, as we rode from Ormož, on the Croatia border, west, south, and west through eastern Slovenia; without too much exaggeration, I hope.

The scenery was fairly flat, rolling farmland, “pretty but not incredible”.

IMG_20220518_123552 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220519_103431 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220516_143624 by bryandkeith on flickr

I am sure I came with too high expectations for Ptuj. I had read somewhere (I can’t find the source anymore — did I make this up?) that it was one of the best medieval towns to visit in Europe.

IMG_20220517_113953 by bryandkeith on flickr

Looks nice, doesn’t it? And it was, but it felt dead.

IMG_20220517_122935 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220517_121902 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220517_115509 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220517_120212 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220517_125522 by bryandkeith on flickr

Where are all the people?

Coming from Bosnia and Montenegro (a couple weeks earlier), Croatia felt rich. Indeed Croatia is a high income country. However, Slovenia is even higher on that same list, up with Spain, Portugal, and Saudi Arabia.

The route planning of this first week took us (almost) to the Carthusian monasteries of Žiče and Pleterje. We were close to the former when we learned they were closed for restoration and close to the latter when we learned they don’t accept visitors.

IMG_20220519_145715 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220516_151158 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220519_150212 by bryandkeith on flickr

We did manage to make the short detour to Kumrovec, Tito’s birth village. Situated across the river (Sutla), we had to cross the Schengen border back into Croatia to get to the village.

IMG_20220519_153124 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220519_154746 by bryandkeith on flickr
These funny shaped buildings are for drying and storing corn.
IMG_20220519_154055 by bryandkeith on flickr
Tito and Ferda

We headed southeast through a nice gorge to get to another border crossing back to Slovenia. The guard was rather upset that we had shown up at her border — as if she were the one who cycled an extra 15km! The crossing was for Croatians and Slovenians only.

IMG_20220520_163353 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next day we got to the beautiful Krka River. Here’s the Krka at Kostanjevica:

IMG_20220520_171508 by bryandkeith on flickr

Here it is at our campsite near Ostrog:

IMG_20220520_175743 by bryandkeith on flickr

Here’s the Krka at Otočec:

IMG_20220521_095858 by bryandkeith on flickr

at Novo Mesto:

IMG_20220521_132327 by bryandkeith on flickr

and here it is again at the eponymous village of Krka:

IMG_20220523_122724 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220520_163353 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220521_131303 by bryandkeith on flickr
Novo Mesto
IMG_20220521_091317 by bryandkeith on flickr

The highlight of our first week in Slovenia was staying with the warmshowers hosts, Suzana and Renato in Boršt pri Dvoru. They’ve traveled a lot by bicycle, especially in desert places — Morocco, Baja California, Australia, southern California; perhaps because Slovenia is so green everywhere? Here’s the view at their place:

IMG_20220523_085109 by bryandkeith on flickr

This is Renato, loving the yaprak sarması (grape leaf dolma) that Ferda made our second day.

IMG_20220522_185213 by bryandkeith on flickr

While there we also got to meet another bicycle tourist, Alex from Lille. Great to meet all of you, thanks for the hospitality.

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