For most of this week the three bed dorm I'm staying in has been occupied by myself and the ex-Home and Away writer, Mark. Except mid way through this week a Spanish man joined us intending to lodge for a couple of nights. As Mark continued to be engrossed in his work, conversation fell to me to initiate and so that's what I did and the man introduced himself as 'Nacho'. Lol. This might be a perfectly normal name in Spain but for the UK people, this would probably bring about a little chuckle.
Hours later and during the course of Nacho's first afternoon, he would invite me to tag along on his road trip that he planned previously. From my last great road trip experience I had with a group of strangers, I accepted his offer and so tomorrow we would set off in his hire car bright and early to take on the Slovenia country side and its single National Park (Triglav). Fantastic! Again, if this proved to be a good decision like last time, I'd have yet again lucked out massively as this kind of scenery (and freedom) is really only achievable by car, not even on an expensive organised tour.
So what do tourists do here in Slovenia? Well, chances are they'll do the capital city, Ljubljana. Next, it's highly likely that they'll factor in Bled too. Thirdly, and if feeling 'all-out', a visit to the expensive Postojna caves and with that itinerary they would most likely feel content with their Slovene accomplishments and understandably so.
This would be the typical route:
However folks, here is what else you can accomplish with just one week of your precious time.
Note, this map also factors in tomorrows destination 'Maribor' - Slovenia's second biggest city which I plan on visiting despite Nacho telling me to not expect a lot from Maribor. To be fair, that's OK as it's on route to my next destination anyway.
As you can see, we covered a lot of ground! So much so that I was definitely tiring by the end which felt a little but pathetic considering I wasn't even driving! Still, all the relentless stopping and getting out for photo opportunities combined with the 33 degree heat takes it toll I promise.
So we started off in heading to Lake Bled. Regular viewers will know that I visited Bled just yesterday and for a full day. Thankfully Nacho's desire was simply to get a few photos on route so I further took the opportunity to grab a couple more in addition to my Bled post from yesterday.
Along the way we passed towns including Kranj and Jesenice - which totally sounds Like Jess Ennis - before we turned direction to head for the National Park where we would drive past and stop for photo opportunities in popular villages such as Bohinj and Borec.
Also on route we stopped at Slav Savica - a waterfall and obvious site seeing point for tourists which was cool but nowhere near as impressive as Plitvice, Croatia or Kravica, Bosnia. Still, it's Slovenia's most well known waterfall.
Here we see the entrance and an energetic Nacho.
The bottom half of the mountain and the top half:
The reverse view was equally as spectacular:
We'd been going for quite a few hours now and I realised I didn't know too much about Nacho so I asked. 'What do you do back home, Sir?'.
'I am a Police Officer'.
So it transpires there are three 'types' of Police in Spain, the National Police, the Guardia Civil and the municipality (local) Police and he works for the latter - along with 350 other local officers serving the town of Jerez, which was a town I knew by name from Formula 1.
He asked me if I had ever been to Spain. I said countless times as its a very popular destination for the English on their holidays.
'So have you been to Jerez?' he asks. 'No, I reply.
'What about Seville?'. Again, 'Sadly not'.
'Ah, so you haven't really been to Spain then', he says in an education tone.
I laughed it off whilst quietly slipping away into my thoughts of plotting how I can get to those places!
From the moment we entered the National Park territory some hours ago, we were almost always in sight of Mount Triglav - the highest mountain in Slovenia and the entire Julian Alps.
Next up was the Vrsic Pass which is the highest pass in Slovenia at 1,611 metres (5,285 ft) as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps.
We were happy to have made it but not as happy as I'd imagine those cyclists were! In a rare moment of humour between Nacho and I, I remember quietly uttering to myself: 'Crazy bastards' as we drove by a handful of these cyclists endeavouring to slowly but surely reach the summit. Nacho clearly agreed, nodding his head as he burst out laughing presumably also thinking the same thing - but in Spanish! Hey, you gotta take all these simple comical moments you can when you're riding with a stranger whose native tongue is not your own.
We were now a couple of hours away from reaching the capital but the scenery was still as stunning in these parts as it was earlier, observe:
So having set off at 8am, we arrived back at 6pm so a tremulously fulfilling but exhausting day with another friend made in the form of Nacho from Spain.