Day 18 - Bimbling around the Triglav

Monday 14th July 2014 

Thought For The Day
 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good motorcycle must be in want of a set of WATERPROOF clothing that actually works.

Today is mostly about water in its various forms. It's Bastille Day, so bonjour mes amis. We will take a small tour around Triglav and visit a couple of Slovenia's premier tourist attractions. But first, hot croissants and coffee at the camp cafe.
Our pitch at Kamp Koren

Our ride takes us further down the Soca Valley before turning off the main road onto a small mountain road that winds up and over and down to Lake Bohinj. The sun is shining sporadically and we're glad to be back on the bikes.

Off piste in Slovenia

As we near the lake we stop for cappuccino at a roadside restaurant and pick up Bohinj2, one of many free wifi connections that blanket the whole tourist area. Fast and efficient wifi with no login protocols or passwords. Take note please German tourist department.

On the shore of Lake Bohinj
The Lake is beautiful and we stop for a quick photo shoot. Inevitably though the clouds have rolled down off the surrounding peaks and it starts to drizzle as we ride up to the far end of the lake. We remount and set off for the second planned encounter with water, at Bled.

The rain comes on hard so we stop again and wait out the worst of it at a small roadside cafe. When it slows to drizzle we head off. A fast sweeper brings us to the lake.

Bled is a famous for its castle overlooking a big lake where an attractive church sits on an island. Over the years emperors and princes have built summer mansions here. Tito also had a grand house where he entertained visiting dignitaries.

The view over Lake Bled from the castle

The lower courtyard
We circle the lake and ride up to the castle. There's a €9 entrance fee and to be honest the best thing about the place is the view over the lake, which you can get for free outside the castle walls. However we stump up and climb up the steep path and steps to the two courtyards, one above the other. There's a small museum and a 16th century chapel, an expensive restaurant, a gift shop and a deserted cafe. It's certainly old but there are few interiors to explore.

Next place of interest is the rather awesome Vintgar Gorge a couple of miles away from Bled. Here for €4 you can walk along a cunningly constructed wooden walkway just above the crashing, turbulent waters of a river that has carved it's path through the ages. It's wonderful.

But sadly the weather isn't. The rain starts again so after just a kilometre or so we are forced to head back for the bikes and don our 'waterproofs'.
16th century chapel

I am riding in a lightweight summer air jacket and goretex trousers so for bad weather I have a one piece over suit with zipper down the front inside a Velcro covering strip. You'd think nothing would get through. But the rain is seriously heavy and water will always find a way. 

After an hour of this my undies feel definitely soggy, the water is wicking in somehow through the Velcro and zip and defeating the (admittedly old) goretex-lined trousers. My upper body is perfectly dry, nothing is getting in at neck level and my goretex lined gloves are working well. Of course my Altberg lace-up boots are keeping my feet completely dry. Mick is not faring so well. His fairly new Hein Gericke two piece suit is leaking like a sieve. At a fuel stop he starts muttering about suing the arse off Goretex. Hein Gericke have gone bust, Mick is "not surprised".

We revise our plan to return via the Vrsic Pass. Cobbles and rain don't mix well. So we continue on to Tarvisio in Italy and turn up the Predil Pass. This is a little gem of a pass with fine surfaces and a series of sweet tournanti on the Italian side. We stop to look at Lake Predil but it's too wet to get the cameras out.

So on up to the top of the pass and back into Slovenia. The rain is starting to ease off on the southern side. The run down to Bovec is heavily patched and worn. It passes through a series of old fortifications before joining the route down from the Vrsic Pass in the Soca Valley.

The amazing Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge

 From here it's a fast run back down to Kobarid and further futile attempts to dry our clothing. We repair to the bar for pizza and alcohol top up. Slovenian wine is very presentable.

And so to bed for our last night in Slovenia for a while. Tomorrow we head back into the south east corner of Austria where Slovenia, Austria and Hungary meet. 

We hope to find the famous Route 69 biker hang out.  


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