• Day223

    Day 224: Triglavski National Park

    September 26, 2017 in Slovenia ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Super busy day today! Up and out early, driving north of town. We'd planned a semi-long day-trip to visit a bunch of spots in the nearby Triglavski National Park, so off we went. It's quite a mountainous area here, lots of tall peaks, narrow valleys and winding roads.

    First stop was the town of Kranjska Gora where we checked out a nice lake, flanked for some reason by a large bronze statue of an ibex. Go figure! Leaving here, we started up into the national park along a long mountain pass road. It's apparently quite a well-known pass for Slovenians, with some 48 hairpin corners going up and down the mountain. The first landmark is called the Russian Chapel, built by some Russian prisoners of war to commemorate their comrades who died building the road during WW1 (there was a lot of fighting in this area between Austria and Italy). Nice small wooden chapel in amongst the forest.

    Back into the car where we drove a little further up the road, only to discover the pass was closed for roadworks!! Not sure whether it was due to clearing a rockfall or just rebuilding of some sort, but yeah. No way through.

    So we turned around heading north again, back to Kranjska Gora, then turned west and crossed into Italy. We drove a few roads through Italy before eventually crossing back into Slovenia near the town of Bovec, via an impressively tall mountain pass. Quite a detour - probably an hour's worth.

    Found some lunch in Bovec, where we had the local speciality of frika. Similar to rosti, it's basically a baked hash brown of potato, cheese, onion, bacon and mushroom. Very delicious. From here we drove eastwards in Soca Canyon, onto the other end of the original pass we wanted to take. Most of the road was still open, so we kept on driving through crazy scenery. The canyon here is hundreds of metres deep, and only 10 or so metres wide in places. And of course there's a raging torrent river a bit further down - very popular for whitewater rafting during summer! A couple of brave souls out on the water but we had no desire to join them.

    Drove up through the canyon, though eventually turned around as we weren't sure how far we could get before we reached the far end of the pass closure! Back down through the canyon, through Bovec, back up the other mountain pass into Italy where we stopped briefly at an old decrepit border fortress, through some Italian ghost towns then back into Slovenia, Kranjska Gora, then back down the freeway to Bled. Long day!

    But it wasn't over yet - Shandos's parents had arrived in Bled this afternoon, and it was time for a reunion. We drove over to their hotel as we'd arranged to meet up with them for dinner around 6pm, but we got there about 20 minutes early. Intending to just sit in the car and rest for 20 minutes, as we drove up they were standing out the front and about to head out for a walk! Bipped the horn, parked and had a happy meeting.

    Eventually Shandos's aunt and uncle returned from their walk and joined us for dinner where we had a good long catchup and traded travel stories. They've been travelling for quite a long time now - 8 weeks! Great to see them again, and of course Schnitzel was very happy to see them as well. Eventually left their hotel restaurant around 9pm and drove home after a very long day. We agreed to do our own thing tomorrow, but will meet up with them for dinner again. It'd be nice to do stuff with them, but unfortunately we only have a five-seater car!
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