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Airport:

Trieste - Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport, Trieste, Italy

Route:Trieste (Italy) - Bled - Rogaska Slatina - Trieste.

Automobile:Opel Vectra Station.

OPEL VECTRA STATION

Travel map:

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 We have been spending our holidays for many years, traveling to different countries, but for the first time we took up the pen. It was not the desire to become famous in the epistolary genre that prompted us to do this, but rather the desire to share experience and capture even for ourselves not the worst moments of our lives. Therefore, some may regard these lines as travel notes, others (sorry for indiscretion) as a guide to preparing for a vacation abroad. Perhaps not all of our recommendations are indisputable, but they have the right to be, because. tested by experience.
  So, any serious event, and this is how we regard a vacation abroad, requires a preparatory stage. We start preparing for a vacation several months in advance, carefully planning the route, stops, sights we want to visit, etc. One of the components of a successful event is the composition or, if you like, the crew. From our experience, we have gone through organized trips in large and small groups, and independent trips of 2 to 10 people, the most optimal crew of 2 pairs.
  Firstly, it is in this composition that it is most likely to achieve close to ideal psychological compatibility. Without this, it is better not to get involved in this matter at all. In addition, psychological compatibility is facilitated by an approximately equal level of income for all crew members, approximately the same cultural needs. A narrow age range is also desirable (the age difference is up to 15 years) and, finally, just warm, friendly relationships.
  one car of a good class is enough.
  many common expenses, such as renting the same car, are halved.
  Finally, it is easier to distribute responsibilities in such a composition. So, the crew should include the first pilot, preferably with many years of driving experience, incl. and abroad.
    An important role is given to the navigator, who must have the skills of laying a route on road maps, quickly navigate in road conditions, prompting the pilot in advance the desired direction of movement at numerous road junctions.
  Also, as part of the crew, you need to distribute the duties of a guide (cultural trader), a press attaché (by the way, knowledge of languages is only welcome), a videographer, a photographer.

  Now about the route itself. When planning a route, we adhere to the following scheme. First, we choose the time and the general area where we are going to spend our vacation. This time it's Slovenia. And the time is usual for our holidays in recent years: the end of August - the beginning of September (more precisely, from August 27 to September 9, exactly two weeks). Next, choose a start and end point. As a rule, this is the same place, because. we prefer circular or star routes. Here, as a rule, we receive and rent a rented car. We order air tickets and a car in advance from a travel agent, whose services we have been using for several years. Then we plan several places, in each of which we will be based for several days, and from here we will make raids to nearby attractions within a radius of up to 200 km. As accommodations, we prefer either private apartments or 3-4 star hotels. All this is located and pre-ordered independently via the Internet. 
  This time we chose perhaps not the most obvious starting and ending point, but in the end this choice justified itself. So, we started and ended our trip around Slovenia ... from the Italian airport with the beautiful name Friuli - Venezia Giulia, 30 km from the port city of Trieste. From the airport to the Slovenian border is only about 40 km. At the airport, we received an even higher class car: instead of the ordered Ford Focus Wagon - Opel Vectra Wagon.

  From the Italian-Slovenian border, which we crossed without stopping (thanks to the Italian numbers of our car), we headed for our first base - the town of Bled, which is located on the shores of the mountain lake of the same name on the eastern border of the Slovenian Triglav National Park. We traveled the road to the first base (only about 120 km) quite quickly, only getting a little lost in the Ljubljana region. Here, the ring road around the city has not yet been completed, so part of the way had to be done through the city. By the way, about the roads of Slovenia. The main roads that cross the whole country are high-speed and therefore toll. The quality of express roads is somewhat lower than the European level, but sufficient to keep the speed of 120-150 km / h, the speed limit is 130. Secondary roads, as well as mountain roads, are narrow, one lane in each direction, but paved, dirt roads are very common. rarely. The signs on the roads are well readable, they inform in advance (up to 1500 m) about the exits to secondary roads and the directions of the road junctions, and, subject to the preliminary navigational study of the route, they allow you to navigate quite easily and quickly when changing the direction of movement.

  So we arrived in Bled. Here, Kristan apartments were waiting for us. We have at our disposal two luxurious apartments with a separate entrance. Each apartment has a salon, a bedroom, an equipped kitchen and a toilet with a shower, a balcony overlooking the mountain landscape. And all this for the ridiculous price of 18 Euro per person per day. Having settled in these mansions, one of the crew members exclaimed in ecstasy: "Long live the Internet!" We ended the first day with a walk along the lake and dinner at one of the coastal restaurants.

   In general, Bled is probably the most popular city in Slovenia, there are many tourists, both foreign and local. There is a developed tourist infrastructure, including a casino. Here we were going to spend a week, during which we planned to see Lake Bled and its surroundings, including a wonderful island in the middle of the lake on which the chapel was built, and a castle on a rock, another lake with the divine name Bohinjsko jezero, go deep into the Triglav reserve and see the kingdom of the forest, waters and mountains (of the Julian Alps), heavy emerald greenery hiding the seething streams of rivers and the quiet brilliance of lakes, here and there nimble waterfalls. In addition, we have planned several relatively long trips: Ljubljana, caves, Lipica stud farm. And in reserve (in case of bad weather) the Austrian Riviera in the area of nearby Klagenfurt, as well as a trip to Venice via the Slovenian coast. Looking ahead, we note that our reserve has remained unclaimed, because. all the time we were accompanied by beautiful weather with a comfortable temperature of 20-24 degrees, only a few times, while on the road in the car, we got caught in the rain, once even with the strongest hail.

  We started the second day by visiting the nearest (10-15 min. walk or 3 min. by car) supermarket of the Mercator chain we liked. At quite reasonable prices, we stocked up on groceries for a few days. The problem of food for all the days that we spent at first base was solved very simply: a hearty breakfast and a light dinner (optional) in the apartment, a full lunch, including the first, second, snacks, drinks (beer, wine, juices, water), dessert, in small restaurants that we easily found, having moved off the main roads, in any small town. At the same time, the cost of such a dinner for four ranged from ridiculous 40 to still acceptable 100 Euro, including tips.
  We dedicated this day to Bohinjsko lake, 40 km from Bled. In Russian, it sounds like Bohinya or Goddess, whatever you like. It is a little higher in the mountains and less promoted in the tourist market, the atmosphere is calmer there. The lake is surrounded by dense forest. First, we drove along the lake, enjoying its untouched beauty, then climbed the most beautiful forest road to the mountain hiking trail leading to the Savice waterfall. The view of the waterfall opens only from a small viewing gazebo, which only slightly hangs over the gorge, where the stream of water falls. From the same gazebo, but in the opposite direction from the waterfall, a gorgeous panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding mountains and forests opens up.
  Having descended from the waterfall, we returned to the lake and decided to test ourselves in extreme conditions by taking a boat. A small boat, more likely designed for three, took our crew on board. We seated the women in the stern, the navigator at the bow, however, with his back to the wind, but the place of the rower, as expected, was taken by the first pilot, meaning to change places with the navigator. At first, we could not get used to the rather unstable vessel for a long time, and any body movement deafened the neighborhood with female squeaks and male hoots. There was no question of any change in places, but, having got used to it a little, we successfully sailed for an hour, making a small circle on the lake surface.
  Lunch time was approaching and we, on the advice of our younger close relatives who had been here a year earlier, headed to the restaurant Rupa, which is located on the edge of Srenja vas. The advice turned out to be very practical, we had a wonderful lunch, tasting mushroom soup and real pork chops, washing down some with wild berry juice, and some with a liter of good local Union beer. We liked it here so much that we decided to return here without fail, but more on that later.

   We ended the day with a walk around Lake Bled, only 6 km, it took two and a half hours with a leisurely gait. The path leads either along the lake itself above the water, or through the forest.
 
  The next, third day, we had to go deeper into the Triglav reserve. Again, on the advice of those who have been here before, we left Bled, returned to the expressway and drove in the direction of Jesenice. A few kilometers short of the entrance to the Karavanke tunnel leading to Austria, we left the expressway, drove a few kilometers towards Kranjska Gora, and near the town of Mojstrana turned onto a forest road and drove towards a place called Vrata. We drove along the mountain river Bistrica and, having stopped, could not deny ourselves the pleasure of splashing in the purest mountain water.
  Leaving the car by the river, we decided to climb the mountain path to another waterfall - Pericnik and did not lose. Amazing spectacle! A powerful stream of water falls from the mouth of a karst cave from a height of 30 meters, which expands below to several meters. The waterfall is located so that you can sort of enter it. Around, of course, there is water dust, and a rainbow is clearly visible from the sunny side. Returning to the car, we drove a few more kilometers to the end of the road, which ran into a forest parking lot, where there were already quite a few cars. With difficulty finding a free place for the car, we continued our journey on foot. The first thing we saw here was an interesting monument to partisan climbers, made in the form of a climbing carbine. Our climbers immediately conquered it by taking a picture on its top.

Slowly moving along the gorge, we reached a place called Triglavska severna stena. From all sides there are rocky steep mountains and a view of the highest point in Slovenia - Mount Triglav (2864 m). On the way back, in search of lunch, we checked several places, but we didn’t like them for one reason or another, and we had already decided to go to the familiar Rup, but on the way we decided to stop at the Triglav restaurant in Stara Fuzina.
  Here we found a familiar menu, a waiter who speaks tolerably Russian. He especially succeeded in addressing us: “What does the lord want?” or "What does the lady want for dessert?". By the way, for dessert we tried the hot cake "gibanitsa" with apples and cheese. Then we got the derivative “to bend”, which meant to eat something tasty for dessert.
 
  On the fourth day, it was decided to move away from Bled a little and look into the Slovenian dungeons. There are a great many caves here, you won’t cover all of them, but each has its own characteristics. Therefore, we chose the most famous among tourists: Postojnska jama. We were recommended another one: Skocjanske jame, which is less popular. It is said that Dante wrote The Divine Comedy after visiting this realm of darkness. But we still chose the first one. The cave is huge and very popular. It was opened to tourists in 1864. The length of the labyrinths is about 20 km. The cave is quite cool - 8 degrees. Therefore, for an additional fee, you are given something like a poncho.
  Tourists are transported through the cave in wagons by rail. The trailers dive into the darkness and suddenly everything is illuminated, appearing in different sizes, from huge to small, icicles of stalactites shining with mica, multi-colored bizarre columns of stalagmites, reddish from copper, whitish from calcium, red from iron. The trailers turn sharply, plying between them, and the main thing at this time is not to lose your head, and in the literal sense. We were reminded of this by an almost anecdotal conversation that we unwittingly witnessed. One of the visitors to the cave shouts to his girlfriend: “Dear! Take care of your head!”, Then, after a while, without hearing an answer, he said: “What, no more?”
  Each hall is different from the previous one. Baroque and Gothic of the underworld.

    Having got out of the cave, we saw that a lead cloud hung over the mountains, accompanied by powerful peals of thunder. In order to wait out the impending rain, we decided to look into the museum at the research institute, which studies the living creatures found in the caves. Moreover, this is included in the price of tickets purchased to visit the cave. In addition, it was written in the brochure that in this museum you can see a blind proteus (Proteus agnius) - a creature that is found only in these caves and whose body is similar to a human. True, his appearance is not very presentable - such a crocodile without skin. The exposition begins with the screening of the film in the cinema hall. And here vague doubts began to creep in (they have us!) - we were the only ones in the hall! The further exposition again presented a cave (but without a poncho) with glass boxes in which several small bugs crawled, but there was no Proteus (probably lay down for winter hibernation). In short, another piece of advice: if you are in the caves, do not fall for the bait with the proteus - a clear attempt to cut down a few extra money for that.
  In order to somehow compensate for our mistake with the proteus, we immediately bought and immediately ate several baskets of the freshest berries: raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries. The berry aperitif was supplemented with the usual lunch in a restaurant, which, as usual, we easily found by driving along a secondary road from the cave towards Ljubljana. We ended this day with a walk in the evening Ljubljana.

  Fifth day. In practice, we repeated yesterday's route, but the target points were different.
  First we went to Predjamski grad, which is located 9 km from Postojnska Jama. There are many beautiful and majestic castles in the world. But trust us, Predjama Castle deserves attention. This is a "nest" boldly built into a 123-meter-high cliff cavity above the karst riverbed. It combines thousands of years of work of nature and the insight of the human mind. The castle was founded in the 12th century, built in the style of the early Renaissance, has five floors and a developed dungeon. There is a small museum with wax figures.

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   After enjoying the beauties of the castle, we continued our journey southwest to the Slovenian-Italian border, from where we started our journey. A few kilometers from the border is the town of Lipica, and in its vicinity is another "tourist Mecca" of Slovenia, the world-famous stud farm of the same name, famous for its white beauties "Lipica". A whole sports and entertainment complex has grown up next to the stud farm, which is very popular in Europe, especially among neighboring countries: Italy, Austria, Germany. There are several hotels, tennis courts, golf courses, in short, the entire entertainment infrastructure, and, of course, a riding school. We are not equestrians and not even lovers of horseback riding, but we recommend everyone to see the most beautiful show, which is a horse dressage performed by white "Lipitanians", these aristocrats of the horse family. By the way, we must bear in mind that the performance is held only once a day (15.00) and not every day (judging by the prospectus: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday).

equestrian dressage

    It's time to dine, and around is full of pizzerias - the proximity of Italy affects. We didn’t want to change our already familiar “pork” menu (pork chop sounds like “pork cut” in Slovenian), so we decided to move north of Italy and have lunch somewhere beyond Ljubljana. We quickly “flyed” along the freeway to Ljubljana, turned off onto a secondary road towards Kranj, and at the entrance to the town of Medvode we found a nice restaurant with our menu.

  We dedicated the sixth day to Ljubljana. We didn't want to limit our impressions of the capital of Slovenia to an evening walk through the unremarkable city center. Therefore, putting the car in the underground parking, we moved to the old city. Having crossed the river Ljubljanica along the famous triple bridge, we found ourselves in the narrow streets of the old town with many small bars, cafes and shops. The beautiful half of our crew tried to turn our walk into shopping, but after several unsuccessful attempts and making sure that the state of Slovenia's light industry was not yet at the proper level, they reconciled, but demanded compensation in the form of hot chocolate.  
  By the way, we ended up next to the cafe "Anticna chocoladnica", which is located on Stari trg street. After tasting the coveted drink, which turned out to be about 30 different types, we started climbing the narrow Reber street to Ljubljana Castle.
  The street imperceptibly passed into a park chestnut alley, the special charm of which was given by the foliage already beginning to turn yellow. Having wandered around the castle and its environs, we climbed to the upper platform of the Town Hall, from where a panorama of the city opens, painted in red with tiled roofs. Along the same chestnut alley (we liked it so much that we decided to return by the same road), we went down to the city, walked a little more, and went in search of lunch, which this time we found on the outskirts of the town of Zbilje in an inconspicuous pizzeria, in which our surprise was our usual menu. From this we concluded that a pizzeria is a trick to lure Italians, and a set of dishes can satisfy any taste.

   The seventh and last full day at Bled was very eventful. First of all, we finally decided to get to the island. This time we did not dare to sail on a boat on our own, but used the services of a local skipper, but at the same time we had only half an hour on the island. The island is very picturesque. Having briefly surveyed it, we focused on the chapel with its wishing bell. To ring, you do not have to climb to the top of the bell tower: the cord from the bell is led down, next to the altar. According to legend, whoever can swing and ring the bell, wishes come true. By the way, this is not so easy to do, but all the members of our valiant crew managed to do it. Returning to the mainland, we headed to the castle, which is located on top of a 100-meter cliff hanging over the lake. From the observation deck in front of the castle, as if from a bird's eye view, a magnificent panoramic view of the lake opens up.
  The castle itself did not impress us, but we found at least two wonderful places in it. Firstly, a wine cellar where you can taste local wine, and if you like it, buy a bottle or two. Secondly, an old printing house (in Slovenian - tyskarnia). Here you can print a commemorative postcard in a medieval style with the help of a printer boy dressed in ancient clothes, which we did with great interest in the printing process itself.

postcard

   Having descended from the cliff to the nearest intersection, we paid attention to the road sign "Vintgar". It turned out that only 3-4 km from this place is the entrance to the gorge Vintgar is another natural fairy tale in the vicinity of Bled.
  The gorge is naturally created by the turbulent streams of the mountain river Radovna, which, along its entire 1600-meter length, as if cuts with an intricate line the green mass of mountains covered with forest, and turns into a series of small waterfalls and rapids, and ends 13- meter giant Sum. Wooden paths are laid along the entire gorge, which, when crossing to the other side, turn into bridges that barely rise above the turbulent streams of water, or wind tightly to the rocks oozing mountain spring water. In general, Vintgar is a unique spectacle on the verge of extreme, striking with its severe magnificence. By the way, in winter the gorge is closed to the public.

   We ended this wonderful day with a farewell dinner at the already familiar Rupa restaurant. We were again surprised here, in addition to the most tender suckling pig, by pampering us with a huge dish of delicious fried mushrooms.
 
    On the eighth day of our stay in Slovenia, we left this beautiful land and, after a warm goodbye to our hospitable hosts, moved east, to our next base. We quickly drove along the familiar road to Ljubljana, and on the ring road we turned east in the direction of Celje, Maribor. Having slipped through Celje, we saw a sign in the right direction - Rogaska Slatina (hereinafter, for brevity - Rogaška).

  This town is home to the world-famous sanatorium and hotel complex "Terme Rogaska", which has a 400-year tradition of using natural mineral and thermal water sources for medicinal purposes. Here is the source of mineral water "Donat Mg", which, among other minerals, contains a very high percentage of magnesium, one of the highest among European mineral waters. As it might seem, judging by the nature of second base, we have deviated from our route planning principles. But the fact of the matter is that we clearly followed the triad of principles proclaimed by us on this journey: NATURE - MOVEMENT - KNOWLEDGE.
  So why did we choose Hotel Donat ****?
  Firstly, the hotel is located in a picturesque green hilly area, on one side there is a forest, on the other - a park, that is, expanse for our favorite walks.
  Secondly, in the 200 km zone there are several interesting places that we were going to visit: Maribor, Ptuj - the oldest city in Slovenia, Olimje - with a monastery, an old pharmacy and a chocolate boutique, and , most importantly, 170 km away are the Plitvice Lakes (this is already Croatia).
  Thirdly, the sports and recreational nature of the hotel itself and the surrounding area. The beautiful half of the crew gave themselves up to various peelings and massages with great pleasure. Well, the strong have seized upon their longed-for hobbies - a fitness center and table tennis. Please note: this is not about ping-pong, but about table tennis, where the rally of the ball is not a lazy flip, but a series of top spin rotations, sparkling counterattacks, inventive kicks of the ball under the net, in short, whoever plays will understand. And then, try not to play tennis if all the crew members are related to a living legend of table tennis (yes, dear Mikhail Davydovich Pann, this is about you - a great athlete, a wonderful doctor and just a wonderful person).
  Finally, the high level, convenience and abundance of services of the hotel itself. Taking half-board (breakfast and dinner) we have practically removed the problem of finding food. So, having seized upon all this abundance of hotel service, we did not leave Rogashka for several days. Therefore, we will slightly change the style of further presentation, move away from diary entries, and talk about the most interesting places.

  Ptuj is considered the oldest city in Slovenia and has the status of a museum city. We got into the city on a Sunday, the shops are closed, there are few tourists and nothing prevents you from wandering around the ancient quarters of this very pretty and cozy town.

   Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia, the economic and cultural center of the northeastern part of the country. In general, there is nothing particularly remarkable city: the old part of the city is in the style familiar to cities that were part of Austria-Hungary (Svoboda Square is interesting with the largest wine cellars in the Balkans located under it with an area of 20 thousand square meters), the new one is modern building. We would also note that Maribor is listed among tourists as a place for shopping, and not in the city center, but in shopping centers on the periphery. We checked out one of these centers - EuroPark. In addition to sports ammunition, by the way, the local brand Elan, nothing worthy of attention was found.

  Plitvice Lakes (Plitvicka jezera), an amazing system of lakes and waterfalls created by nature, can be called the apotheosis of our trip. The tiring road of 170 km there and the same back seemed to us an insignificant moment compared to the delightfully fabulous beauty that we saw. It cannot be described in words, it must be seen. The miracle that nature has created simply cannot be described in words. We will not even try to do this, because any lofty words fade before the fabulous creation of nature. We will simply say that if you have not seen the Plitvice Lakes, you have either lost or (hopefully for the majority) have not acquired one of the most expensive diamonds for your treasury of knowledge about nature.

   The last cognitive place of our trip was the village of Olimje, where the monastery of the Order of the Peacocks is located, and there is an old pharmacy, a chocolate boutique where you can buy delicious handmade souvenirs, and also a funny puppet attraction Enchantress in the forest.

   On the last day of our journey, we quickly reached the Italian airport along the already familiar road, without forgetting to refuel the car on the Slovenian side (fuel in Slovenia is cheaper than in Croatia, not to mention Italy). Thus, we completed our next journey, the impressions of which we, as best we could, shared on these pages.

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