When people asked about our bicycle route heading west from Ljubljana, they often corrected me when I said we were going to Bohinj and then Bled. No, no, they said, you go to Bled, then Bohinj. That’s the main route, of course, and probably a fair bit less climbing than our route. We were quite satisfied with the small roads we chose through here and really started to enjoy the touring in Slovenia. Sure, it got hillier, and at the same time the scenery got more interesting.
We had only spent one night camping when we decided to spend a couple nights in an apartment in Hotavlje. It was a good call as it was raining when we left camp and ended up raining most of the day and even more the next day. Marta and Peter welcomed us at their place with coffee, apple brandy, bread, and three kinds of prosciutto, one from pig and two from cow.
As we were parking our bikes, I showed Peter my broken kickstand. While Ferda and I were enjoying the food and drinks, Peter fixed my kickstand! His fix is still holding over two weeks later. How’s that for a welcome?
Hotavlje is home to an underground marble quarry. It made me think about Turkey with so many huge open pit marble quarries. I have since learned that there are underground marble quarries in many places (including Turkey), and I even found a paper discussing the advantages and disadvantages of underground vs. open pit marble quarries.
We got out for a couple nice walks during our two days in Hotavlje.
Our next destination was the Franja Partisan Hospital (Partizanska bolnica Franja). People had warned us that it was in a rather remote area, but like I said before, we enjoyed the rural riding here in the foothills of the mountains.
“Partisan” in this sense simply means Yugoslav Communists. During WW2 the Slovene partisans were an anti-Nazi resistance movement. One of the things they did in this region was to build hidden hospitals to treat resistance fighters who would have been arrested had they gone to Nazi hospitals. The Franja Partisan Hospital was built “deep inside German-occupied Europe” (wikipedia) in the rugged Čerinščica Gorge. It’s hard to see in the photos just how inaccessible this area is. The gorge is hidden down beyond the meadow in the center of the above photo below the steep mountain slope.
The buildings were crammed into the little space they had
or even where they didn’t have space.
Ferda and I loved visiting here. We got goosebumps thinking about how people were risking their lives to help others under such dangerous circumstances.
We climbed up a pass that afternoon getting to the highest point of our tour (so far; only 1010m!) and started pedaling by one ski area after another.
It was a beautiful area, and we found a fun campsite that night near Zgaga.
The next day we set another tour high point (1277m) at another pass and another ski area before a fast descent to the Bohinj Valley.
Tourists come to Bohinj to see the eponymous lake. It did not disappoint.