The beautiful colour of the water. If I had to pick one thing that stood out in Slovenia, above all others, it would have to be the colour of the water. I’m not sure how you would describe it, possibly aquamarine, certainly more green than blue – regardless it is stunning.
Leaving Pula, we drove into Slovenia, with Tolmin our next destination. The quiet roads of Croatia and Slovenia were a welcome change from the crazy highways in Italy, although the Slavic drivers are a little crazy, or perhaps impatient may be a better word for it. Our first stop was at Predjama Castle in the Green Karst area. This castle is built into a cavern half way up a 123m cliff. A great spot to defend from, and protected by the landscape itself. The castle dates back to 1202, however it has been the subject of many battles, and the current building is mostly from the 16th Century. There is an audio guide that comes with the ticket which gives accounts of the history and features of the castle. It’s dark and cold and I would not have wanted to live there, but it’s a great place to visit.
The lack of traffic in Slovenia was a blessing as the further North we went, the roads became narrow and twisty. Following the 102 we arrived in Tolmin, a small town in the Soca Valley. Trying to find our accommodation proved to be challenge in the Suzuki S Cross, only just managing to fit through some of the narrow streets we had to drive through. It was Easter, and the family whose apartment (Apartment Maruska) we were staying in kindly left decorated eggs and special Slovenian Easter cake for us.
And this is where the beautiful water is!
With hazy directions out of town we managed to find the Napolean bridge and the car parking area to start our walk to Kozjak Slap. Ahead of us there was snow capped mountains as we took the path through the green fields down to the Soca River. The water here flows from the limestone mountains in the Julian Alps. It is a lovely greeny blue, clear as, in fact so clear I topped up my water bottle from the flowing stream. Following the river, careful not to step on the Fire Salamander in the middle of the path, we came to a small boardwalk which takes you around the rock face and into the waterfall. We had the place to ourselves and spent some time clamouring over rocks, trying to get some good photos.
Next stop was Triglav National Park. It is named after Triglav the highest mountain in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. The Tolmin Gorges are situated at the southernmost entry point into the park and provide some stunning scenery. One of the main attractions is the confluence of the Tolminka and the Zadlascica rivers. The two rivers have over the centuries carved deep gorges before widening and merging into the only confluence of gorges in Slovenia. In this area of the park there are tracks to traverse, some steep, that go up and down, following the terrain of the gorges and providing some great views into deep narrow walled caverns. We saw the Bears Head – a fallen rock stuck between the walls of a gorge, the Canyon where there is a thermal spring, and the Devils Bridge, a road cut through the rock and crossing the top of the gorge. And everywhere, flowing through the gorges is that water again.
A bit closer to Tolmin, just a short walk out of the town, we found the confluence of the Tolminka and Soca Rivers. A nice place for a walk along the rocky rivers edge. A lot of families spending time here which was nice to see.
Leaving the Soca Valley, we headed to Bled. After studying the map in detail in an effort to take the least twisty road out of the mountains, we managed, with Helens help, to take the most direct but windiest road there was. As the traffic was virtually non existent it wasn’t too traumatic, and we arrived safe and sound. Lake Bled is a lake in the Julian Alps, very picturesque with the Assumption of Mary church sitting on an island in the middle of the lake, and a castle set atop the rocky cliff. Lake Bled does not disappoint, it looks like something out if a fairytale, to come back and see it in winter with snow would be truely amazing. We parked and walked the whole way around the lake. It’s about 6km, and a very popular thing to do. There are many restaurants to choose from along the shores of the lake if you need to re energize, or just sit and take it all in.
Next stop Lake Bohinj – a short drive from Bled and a nice quiet place to spend our last night in Slovenia. The lake itself is pretty, and seems to go on forever. You can walk around it but it takes a while 4 -5 hours. There is a also a cable car that goes up to the snow fields. We did see snow here, just a little on the ground that had not yet melted.
Slovenia – sensational!