Had a really lovely day in Ljubljana yesterday – it really is a delightful place despite me not remembering very much of it. We walked up to the castle and I know that I have joked about the Poles and Lithuanians over doing the restoration but I thought that Slovenia would be a bit more sophisticated. Not so, it now looks new with bars cafes and film venue. So next time you’re moaning about listed buildings think again!! Having said that the rest of the town is fab. We got the bikes out (for a change) and rode around finding all the nooks and crannies that you wouldn’t be bothered to walk to.
We found a nice looking restaurant off the main tourist trap area but when we got there it was full of gap year kids clutching their Lonely Planet guides. It was very good though and I had lamb for the first time since Poland where it had been expensive and badly cooked. We have been craving lamb. Why don’t they eat it in other countries? We look for it constantly to cook for ourselves but haven’t found any- not even in butcher’s shops.
Dave has become something of an expert on the supermarkets of Eastern Europe. We are reluctant about buying lots of food as we then have to carry it so end up going shopping sometimes as much as 3 times per day. I get fed up with this but Dave finds continued fascination in finding enough calories to keep him going so I tend to sit outside with the bikes while he goes in. We were amazed in Hungary by the huge Tesco that had just been built – they will have lamb surely we said. But no. On the huge butchers counter they had chicken and pork. But not as we know it. Every part of the animal was displayed including the feet, gissards, ears carcass, bones - everything in separate areas.
Slovenia has supermarkets the same as ours but no lamb!!!
It also has some wonderful biking roads and scenery and we have been following again a recommended route for bikes. It has taken us along the toughest but most beautiful 40 miles to date – I even found a nice lake for a lunchtime swim in my new bikini. I may be a bit slimmer but as Tom says my white belly will take some colouring. Ended the day camping at Pivka Jama Caves where we are in what looks like an old quarry area = very difficult to get the pegs in.
Yesterday had another good ride along ‘the route’. It took us to a stunning castle set in the rocks, the caves go directly out the bottom so it was really dramatic. The road was called the 'Ice Route' as in days gone by they would bring the ice back from ice caves and a third of it would melt on the journey.
Made it down eventually and had lunch at a nice restaurant (we had missed the supermarkets, closed on Sunday pm) – lovely Calamari you can tell we’re near the sea although I’ll be fed up with it after a week on the boat. Met a Scottish girl there who had cycled up from Dubrovnik by herself. It seems to be mostly women who cycle by themselves. She told us about a camp site nearby, lovely spot in the valley next to a floating river ie one that floats on the surface for a bit then disappears underground.
We went for a walk in the evening and got back to find 6 Italian camper vans arriving in the dark. We walked down and Dave was the most assertive that I have ever seen him as they were going to set up camp around our little green tent. That’s the trouble with small green tents with no car – people don’t think they are there!! Any way he took on the 6 Italians and they moved off down the site where there was lots of room – my hero!!
Today we stayed at the camp another day so cycled over to see the famous Lipizzaner horses at Lipica. Dave endured the tour just for me and I must say we had a crap guide but the horses were beautiful. We got back to the camp and I then determined that I would swim down the river to the impressive bridge while Dave changed my tyres over. It was amazing swimming along in a microcosm of my own at one with the river. Dragon flies skitting, fish plopping and then the glint of blue as a King Fisher flashed by. I didn’t make it to the bridge as it was too shallow but enjoyed it anyway.
Tonight have been subjected to the campsite restaurant (missed the supermarket due to National Holiday (thought everywhere was quiet). Had truly awful dinner with ropy red wine – Strudel good though. Looking jealously at what we should have chosen – Goulash!!
Bit behind with the blog as no internet and the battery ran out!!
We have arrived at the Slovenian coast – it’s not very big and they tend to cram a lot in so we thought we would visit Croatia where on the map the coast looked far more remote and less developed. This is the first border crossing where we have actually had to produce our pass ports – incredible eh? Dave got into trouble with the very stern border lady when leaving Slovenia as I was following further back with the passports and he just cycled through. She let us out eventually though and queued then to get into Croatia – blimey we did think they were friendly now. Having just got everything sorted out with the sailing, and there is a lot believe me Dave’s next worry was ‘I wonder if there is some international incident that we don’t know about’. So all the time he was worrying about getting back into Slovenia again to pick up the boat on Saturday.
We looked at the first camp which was a very swish looking place. At the reception we were just gasping at the prices to camp (would have got a four star hotel in Poland!) and I was asking what you get for all the money. She says ‘you do realise that it’s a nudist camp don’t you?’ Well we thought, it was bad enough imposing our cycle suntans on the general holiday population but dangly bits as well was too much!!
Cycled on down the coast and it became apparent that the same company owned everything. Big flashy hotels and more 5 star camp sites bearing the same logo – not very far from Italy if you know what I mean and there was lots of property for sale that made me think people were being put under pressure. May have got this entirely wrong mind but after a night we have returned to Slovenia. While we were there cooked a very good chicken curry(in the wok of course) and laughed as we imagined eating it in the nude especially as Dave had been chopping the chilly – brings tears to your eyes if you know what I mean??
We had a good evening though as there was an Abba tribute band playing on site ( I do like a bit of Abba to sing along to). There was a very lively bunch of Polish people leading the dancing and Dave said he hadn’t seen so many Pole Dancers – boom boom!!
Going back over the border there was the most horrendous jam on the motorway for the border and we immediately thought there had been an incident and our worst fears may become a reality. Fortunately this wasn’t the case and we got through without incident.
Camping at Portoroz for the next couple of days before getting the boat on Saturday – very excited although think the inactivity may well drive me mad and I’ll be running round the deck and swimming behind the boat!!