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”.
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.
Looks nice, doesn’t it? And it was, but it felt dead.
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.
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.
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.
The next day we got to the beautiful Krka River. Here’s the Krka at Kostanjevica:
Here it is at our campsite near Ostrog:
Here’s the Krka at Otočec:
at Novo Mesto:
and here it is again at the eponymous village of Krka:
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:
This is Renato, loving the yaprak sarması (grape leaf dolma) that Ferda made our second day.
While there we also got to meet another bicycle tourist, Alex from Lille. Great to meet all of you, thanks for the hospitality.