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.
Lake Bled is one of the main tourist attractions in Slovenia and yet it still maintains an uncrowded & unspoilt charm.
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.
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.
Not very far away was Vintgar Gorge with spectacular waterfalls and cascading river.
You can’t get too much of this and the next day we visited Tolmin Gorge in the Triglav National Park
The drive to Lake Bohinj took us through some bucolic valleys.
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
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.
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.
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.