relieved to be leaving Austria, the crossing into Slovenia was full of excitement and a lot of dread (mountains). The change of scenery can only be described as dramatic and we felt as though we had cycled into a small english village. The rolling hills and small but quaint houses were very familiar but as we rolled into Maribor the feeling of being in an ancient European village returned. This interesting town greeted us with a huge smile and the cheep beer was well appreciated.
Leaving Maribor put us back on the roads. It was the first time in a very long time that we had cycled on a road without a cycle lane. The first few hours were a little nerve racking but we got used to the steady flow of traffic banking up behind us. I must say that the Slovenian road users are the kindest I have come across and never a harsh beep or a close overtake was seen. It was also the first time that we had encountered hills…proper hills. For those maths/engineering/cartography nerds among us, 18% gradient to be exact. We climbed up and up and up and up and up and thought that there would be no relief of a down. Thankfully, however, we were rewarded with a 15km down hill ride into the town of Celje which allowed us to enjoy the most beautiful country we have every had the privilege of cycling through. An evening at a cycle-centric hostel was a great end to our tough day and we went to bed happy with the anticipation of the nations capital before us.
The following day we took to the roads towards Ljubljana. The first half of what would normally be described as a short cycle was pleasant but tough with constant hills but beautiful country side to keep us motivated. It was the second part of the journey which was a problem. Little did we know that we were about to cross a mountain range. I feel that I may have used the term mountain too loosely in the past. This was a proper mountain range. People ski here…regularly. This nearly killed me. Several break-downs later, we finally arrived in Ljubljana, very tired and very ready to throw the towel in.
Our plan was, after a little r&r in Ljubljana, to cycle down to Croatia and along the Dalmatian coast. When sharing this plan with another cycling enthusiast, he warned us that there is a large mountain range that hugged the Slovenian/Croatian border. This prompted us to, and I regret to tell you, catch the train down onto the Croatian coast in order to get, quick smart, to a sunny island.
I wish to thank Slovenia, and all its people for hosting me in what can only be described and the greatest country on earth. I urge any one who has not been to this great land to visit is…immediatley. The people are amazing and the landscape breath taking. For this experience, I say thank you.
I am writing from the beautiful Croatian island to Hvar in the town of Jelsa. It is majestic. For the past three days, we have cycled along the beautiful coastal roads and swum in the Adriatic sea. What could be better…
It is here that I announce another route change. We have been on what can only be described as a holiday for three days now and we already miss the life that comes with cycle touring. Here is what is about to happen:
We will leave this little island paradise for Split and from there we will catch the ferry to Ancona on the north east coast of Italy. From Ancona we will cycle down the coast to Bari and from there we will make our entry, by ferry, into Greece.
I know this seems a little ’round-about’ but somehow, when looking at ferry schedules, it seems to make sense (and allows us to tour for a little longer).