A short 4 nights tour of Slovenia began in Ljubljana with my bright blue rental Up!, where checking into the Penzion Pod Lipo involved parking illegally to unload the luggage, picking up the key to an off site carpark along the roman wall, driving there and walking back. That minor excursion only exacerbated my hunger and with dinner reservation still 2 hours away, a snack of the delicious traditional sausage and beer in a rustic yard in front of the hotel was in order. A walk around the compact, beautiful and surprisingly bustling Tuesday night town centre led to dinner at Tabar which has an impressive wine list of 20 each of white, orange and red wine by the glass, all from Slovenia. The night ended with an unsatisfactory search for local beer on tap and an early night in bed.
A leisurely morning stroll in the mist brought me to the main market for breakfast and milk from the vending machine. After a short drive, exploring the hugely impressive Postojna Cave and pleasant Predjama Castle lasted until early afternoon. A quick, hour hike of 550m climb of the hill behind the idyllically located Hotel Kendov Dvorec was rewarded by a very satisfactory dinner with excellent service.
The main activity of the next day was the hike up the 2332m Mala Mojstrovka starting from the top of the stunning Vrsic pass (1605m), easily assessable by car after 24 hairpins going up with 26 on the way down the other side. After some invaluable advice to go up and down on one route rather than doing the loop which will involve self-belaying equipment didn’t prevent me from failing to reach the top, turning back at 2115m after encountering a daunting ridge with steep drops on both sides. The gradient combined with many loose rocks made this a relatively challenging hike although the view on the way was nonetheless breathtaking and well worth the effort. A late lunch and an hour drive brought me to the picturesque Lake Bled and my stay for the next two nights, Hotel Jadran, which by my reckoning has not been renovated since the 70s. At least the view of the lake and the castle out of my ivy-lined balcony was just about enough to distract from the glum interior of the room.
The last full day was to tackle Visecnik (2050m), starting from 1350m a short 3km away. It took a little over an hour on the well sheltered path up which was a great improvement from the day before. Another satisfying late lunch at the Jagru restaurant, situated in a glorious alpine valley serving traditional Slovenian food, followed by a relaxing drive around the surrounding countryside concluded the day’s activity. A spot of tobogganing over Lake Bled was squeezed into the next morning before having to head to the airport.
Slovenia impressed in its variety in a small package, with the liveliness of Ljubljana, the natural wonder that is the Postojna Cave and the impressive mountains. Of course there is the Mediterranean coast within easy reach to be explored, but that will have to wait. Slovenia have the advantage of being compact and good value than other Alpine countries and I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit.