Gorging Out in the Balkans

4300km

4,300km 73 days

Adding to the low profile of Lake Balaton in central Hungary was the constant rain so we headed south to Pecs. Whilst it is a nice town to browse for a day there was little to hold our attention longer so we made sail for Slovenia.  Driving through the wine region surrounding Ptuj and onto Maribor was absolutely stunning.

Slovenia

Jeruzalem Wine Region, Slovenia

Lake Bled is one of the main tourist attractions in Slovenia and yet it still maintains an uncrowded & unspoilt charm.

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The church on the island in Lake Bled has been around in one form or another since the 15th Century.  Archeological settlements have been found dating back to 1100BC.

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The castle at Lake Bled was first mentioned in a 22 May 1011 document and eventually was passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg in 1278.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Not very far away was Vintgar Gorge with spectacular waterfalls and cascading river.

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You can’t get too much of this and the next day we visited Tolmin Gorge in the Triglav National Park

Tolmin Gorge, Slovenia

 

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The drive to Lake Bohinj took us through some bucolic valleys.

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We were camped on the lower left-hand shore but riding the cable-car up into the surrounding Julian Alps afforded us this great view of Lake Bohinj

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Predjama Castle is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth but we were castled out by this stage so moved on to the nearby caves.

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Postojna Cave is a 24,120 m long karst cave system and after boarding the electric train at the entrance you are transported deep down into the system where you alight for a 3km walk through some very surreal landscapes before returning to the surface. Unfortunately our meager images can never do it justice.

 

By this stage we were gorged on gorges and royally over castles and with the exception of one hot & sunny week in Berlin it had been consistently cold and damp since our arrival 2 months earlier.  In an attempt to change the status quo we descended from the mountains towards Slovenia’s tiny (20km wide) Adriatic coast and landed at Piran, a small seaside resort town.  By the time we had setup there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temps were north of 30C., finally we had found summer!  Driving south into Croatia along the Istrian Peninsula each headland would present us with another beautiful hilltop seaside town.  Porec was quiet but tidy while Rovinj (seen at the top of the post) is the jewel in the crown.  Pula had a great Roman amphitheatre but the city was way too big to hang around and so kept driving until we hit Medveja, a great beach camp to sit for 2 days and unwind.

 

Foodies Supplement

As we are usually away for Deb & my birthdays and anniversary we usually try to find someplace special to spoil ourselves as a consolation. With this in mind we lunched in the tiny medieval town of Kastav at the Hotel Kukuriku.  This establishment bills itself as a gourmet restaurant specialising in slow-cooked food (This is a thing now?). To this end there is no food or drink menu and you are merely asked by the excellent waiter would you prefer meat, fish or vegetarian. After some time the first course arrives and from the first bite you realise how wrong every other type of dining is. Each course is accompanied by a glass of wine the maitre’d has selected to best bring out the flavour of the dish.  Each subsequent course is brought out only when you have had time to digest the previous and it is obvious the chef has sculptured the meals around the available local produce. We’re not sure how many courses they serve as we called it quits after number 4! It all may sound a little posh but let me say we both really enjoyed the experience.

 

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24 Comments:

  1. Roger Lemire
    August 04, 2016
    Reply

    What a great trip or experience should I say !
    Thinking to do similar “voyage” in the future.
    Take care of you both.
    Roger

  2. Julie Francis
    July 04, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Deb great read and as usual wonderful photos – hope we can catch up when u r next in Sydney

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 07, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks Jules, would love to catch up. xxx

  3. Gloria Tree
    July 02, 2016
    Reply

    Beautiful photography and compelling commentary. Keep safe.

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much Gloria, we are loving it. Love to you both xx

  4. Denise and Gavin
    July 02, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for such a vivid history and nature report…sounds fantastic and your photos amazing. My Canada/Alaska photos are so meagre, but the memories great. Happy and safe travelsxx

    • nukkenfutz
      July 02, 2016
      Reply

      That’s the problem, my memory is not that good anymore so this blog will help Deb & I relive this great experience later. Thanks for subtly pointing out my spelling mistake.

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      Great to hear from you, I hope that you enjoyed your trip. Mike & I take so many pics so we can remember where we have been. A lot though one cannot photograph adequately but the memories will always be in our minds xx Love to you both

  5. Jenny Cohen
    July 01, 2016
    Reply

    Another fantastic blog, your photos look amazing.we have been in Europe for 2 weeks , hot and sunny!!! Now cruising to Valencia, sounds boring compared with your magnificent bog xxx Jen

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      I can’t imagine that your trip is boring, I am sure you are having a wonderful time. Enjoy! Thought of you guys when we went to the amazing restaurant as per the blog. Roy would have loved it! Keep safe xxx

  6. Diana Bassett
    July 01, 2016
    Reply

    Absolutely brilliant photography and an amazing trip! Hope we can do this sort of trip one day. Love to you both XXX

    • nukkenfutz
      July 02, 2016
      Reply

      The best time is just after the last kid moves out and before the first grandkid arrives.

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks Diana, you would love what we are doing, no stresses of organised tours etc, just go with the flow 🙂

  7. Carrie
    June 30, 2016
    Reply

    This is Gob smacking stuff and totally professional. You could sell this to Getaway, or set up your own programme and give them a run for their money!! What a life..we are dead envious but love you all the same. Love Carrie n Max xx

    • nukkenfutz
      July 02, 2016
      Reply

      Ok I hereby make you my agent & you shall receive 10% of everything I earn as a result of your endeavours.

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      Ha Carrie, don’t be envious, it isn’t for everyone to give up their home but Mike & I can’t think of anything better. Love Mike’s comment!! Love to you both xx

  8. Fokko
    June 30, 2016
    Reply

    Hi from Berlin. It’s really interesting what you have done afterwards. I haven’t been to Slowania since my childhood – sounds and looks amazing. I wish you nice experiences furtheron. And one question to your map: how have you done it? I’m looking for my trips for an item like that. By the way: i’m pretty sure that I’ll do a trip to Australia from Bali at the end of November.

    • nukkenfutz
      July 02, 2016
      Reply

      Good to hear from you Fokko, I used a site called ‘mapmydistance.com’. Hope we can catch up when you come to Oz. let us know your itinerary when it gets closer.

  9. Fran
    June 30, 2016
    Reply

    OMG. What a wonderful time you are having. We should all do this. How lucky you are to see such sights. I’ve booked my flight over , see you soon.Fran

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      Your bed awaits! We have a 6 berth and no one has taken the opportunity yet to stay with us. (She silently breathes a sigh of relief) Truly Fran “doing” Europe like this is the best way, similar to caravanning in Oz but different

  10. Gavin and Bobbie
    June 30, 2016
    Reply

    Absolutely beautiful and very interesting. The food is amazing

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks guys, the food was out of this world, the only thing that has topped it so far was my 50th/10 year wedding anniv dinner in Bangkok at Sirocco which was double the price but the outlook was stunning being 64 floors up.

  11. Michelle Browne
    June 30, 2016
    Reply

    Wow! Just Wow! It all looks and sounds perfect. Glad you found good weather finally. Cold and damp gets very wearing after a while. xxx

    • Deborah Cohen
      July 03, 2016
      Reply

      It sure is perfect Michelle and the weather is glorious now, not too hot. Although I am sure by the time we hit Greece it will be stifling.


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