149-151: Motor and Medical Maintenance!

149-Tuesday 15th Sept:  Chardonnay Engine Maintenance

Early start for us as we took Chardonnay to the Fiat dealer for her BIG 40,000 km service. Fortunately no additional work needed to be done – I was slightly anxious that my putting Chardonnay in a ditch in Norway might have warped the chassis.  Amazingly the breaks were fine given all the mountains we have traversed.  Bill was EUR412, which included a single wide front mat, as we are conscious of the wear and tear on the cab carpet.

Whilst Chardonnay was being ‘done’ we bought a EUR2 bus card and loaded it with 4 bus trips i.e. there and back for both of us.  We then caught the bus to the centre… the fact we did not know where to get off meant that we circled the old town and then had to ask how to walk to it.

Coffee and lunch to kill the time.  K bought a skirt from a secondhand shop – an unusual event … K wearing skirts!!!  Once we found out where the bus went from, someone KINDLY told us our destination was really close.  The next stop in fact.  So we decided to walk and it was NOT the next stop, nor the one after that!  It was quite a long walk and we got slower and slower!

As we did not manage to buy a cheap travel bag or a 2tb ext hard drive in the city centre, so we went via the largest retail park either of us had EVER seen.  Lots of different malls and big sheds.  Hard drive purchased from one called ‘Big Bang’ 🙂

Back to our now home from home … our 6th night at the Restaurant in Sostros CamperStop.


150 – Wednesday 16th Sept 2015:  Chardonnay Habitation Repairs

Early start for the second morning running 😦  Up to pack and empty toilet, grey and fresh water.  Chardonnay is being spruced up and repaired:

  • Bumper crack in fibre glass x2
  • Hole repaired in fibre glass for our incident with an overhang
  • Blind repair, so we can actually lift the blind: damage from when we were broken into in Copenhagen
  • Bathroom door lock replaced as it locks itself when over bumpy roads and we can’t open it from the outside.  We have been travelling with a pillow wedging open the door.

We had booked our first Airbnb in Ljubljana having decided against camping.  Camping would have meant that we had to carry all our laptops etc with us all the time and the tent is a bit small for us, luggage, cookers etc and no where to sit if it rained.  Having caught a taxi to the Airbnb we dropped off what seems like masses of luggage …. we were only coming for two nights – honest!  Hosts just lovely and relaxed.  Room fine for the price, but  we are missing the comfort of the sprung mattress and memory foam topper in Chardonnay.  Interesting stairs (steep, and I mean really steep) to get up to the attic room. Location brilliant as 2 mins to bus and train stations and 10 mins from old city centre.

Weather forecasts can be so wrong.  A shower predicted for 10.00.  It chucked it down till the middle of the afternoon.  We had another coffee to take shelter.  No sign of a let up, so we braved the rain, hugging building overhangs as much as possible until we could buy an umbrella.

We went into the National Gallery.  The temporary exhibition was Slovine art that had been repatriated from Yugoslav embassies and consulates.  Really interesting:

  • Paris: lots of expressionist 1920’s oils
  • Berlin:  dark and red, suitable for a Bier Keller
  • Madrid: pencil drawings of little merit
  • Vienna:  pastoral scenes
  • Italy, Trieste to be more precise:  loads of everything.  Anything to do with the way in which the embassy acquired art through non conventional channels?!

We met Louis from Los Angeles, who was on a free time day on his Baltic Tour.  He had been recommended the same restaurant as us for lunch … so he joined us, or did we join him?  Fab meal:  fish soup, salad, sea bass with spinach and potatoes, followed by a pear and only EUR11.50 … just yummy.  Louis’ guide book said the Serbian Orthodox church was a must see and then he wanted to see the National and University Library, so we attempted to get into the reading room.  Having been told it was just for students, Louis darted in as a student vacated.  Somehow, Kerstin had gained entrance some weeks ago … but that is Kerstin!  We completed our tour with a carafe of wine and people watching.  Lots of discussions on wide ranging subjects …. trying to find something we disagreed on!

Back to the Airbnb…. lovely chats and wine with Sandra, one of our hosts.

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151 – Thursday 17th Sept 2015:  James Medical Maintenance …. again

We ran to the Tivoli Park – 4.3 km and very humid.  J’s leg wound healing nicely so it was his first run for a little while.

The Ljubljana TIC had suggested Kamnik as a train destination out of the city.  As we arrived, we had that deja vue sort of feeling.  We had stopped off here to find a pharmacy for ear drops, or was it eye drops, for James some weeks ago.  However, this time we did the town properly:  walking tour of castles, town wall and Franciscan Monastery.  The lady in the TIC had suggested a lunch venue, frequented by locals.  We both had a daily special at EUR4.30 and 4.50: pork in sauce with noodles and  buckwheat pancakes with leeks and the local Velkina Planina cheese, both with salad and both yummy … and washed down with a carafe of white.

James had mentioned that his gum was bothering him a little …. we visited the same pharmacy and he bought some numbing gel.  However, when we got back to Ljubljana, our Airbnb host told us of a dentist 3 doors along…. the dentist could not see James tomorrow, but he could see him NOW!  Uncomfortable cleaning of the inflamed area, and padding which has to be taken out at 7.30 am tomorrow and an x-ray … feeling a little battered!  Strong antibiotics and pain killers.  A quiet evening.


A James Joyce plaque on one of the station platforms – he visited here!


The fall manhole cover with some of James Joyce’s lines … not sure what a manhole cover is supposed to indicate!


These were some of the smarter trains … a lot are heavily grafitti’d



J on board


Kamnik looking towards the Julian Alps


When we stopped by a few weeks ago, the benches had rolled up magazines to read. Now they have cushions …. lovely ideas.



Lunch stop recommended by the TIC


Waiting for the return train … note the grafitti

152 – Friday 18th Sept 2015:  History Tour

J visited the dentist again for a check at 7.30 am!  We then walked 2 blocks for an X-Ray: film and digital copies …. EUR10!  Packed up from our B&B and caught a taxi to drop all our luggage at the motorhome repairers north of the city.

Then bus back to Tivoli Park – one of the museums – the Contemporary History Museum.  It covered from WW1 up to the present.  Really well done with lots of films and individual narratives.

J (resting) waiting for K to exit the museum on a thoughtfully cushioned bench

J (resting) waiting for K to exit the museum on a thoughtfully cushioned bench

We decided to wander back to the restaurant we lunched in two days ago as a) it was close and b) tasty.  We wandered past the Parliament building as a slight detour … you can see why it is not on the main tour routes!

The Slovenian Parliament Building

The Slovenian Parliament Building

Parliament entrance doors: statues of the human struggle (very Communist era)

Parliament entrance doors: statues of the human struggle (very Communist era)

Another human struggle building we passed

Another human struggle building we passed

Having bussed it back to collect Chardonnay, we set of for the Partizanska Bolinca Franja near Cerkno.  Clandestine hospitals were set up, hidden from the Germans, Italians or Hungarians (depending on which bit of Slovenian had been carved up) to support the Partisan resistance Movement.  There were incredibly 120 such hospitals, but this one was never discovered by the Germans, despite fighting nearby.  It was also unusual that it had its own defences … gun battlements along the ravine.  At one point it was caring for 100+ wounded.   Wounded were brought up a difficult ravine by stretcher bearers at night, having been blindfolded   The townspeople of Cerkno supplied wood, use of the sawmill, food, medical supplies etc … and yet a neighbouring village had known collaborators, so it had to be kept very secret.  Satellite facilities provided medical care for less damaged partisans … all very moving.

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A short drive to a Parking with amazing views overlooking Idrija.  Basically we are on a couple’s parking alongside the barn.  Provided with electricity, a wifi code, a welcome drink of homemade fruit Schnappes!!  Whilst we stood imbibing, our host explained all the main attractions of the area … he would have acted as our guide tomorrow, but he is off tonight helping family harvest grapes … leaving us on his land with all trust!  Again, we marvel at the warmth of the Slovine people.











135-137: Should be at school!

135 Tuesday 1st Sept:  Oldest and Finest …

No not wine!  An Arboretum.  After we ran and said farewell to Laraine and Steve (who actually thought we were having lie in – duh!), we set sail North.  We stopped off at the Volcji Potok ( you should hear hear the sat nav rendition of this … much amused by Sally Sat Nav’s pronunciation generally – cesta vesta is one of our faves!). It is the ‘largest and most beautiful arboretum’ quote from our 2001 guide book!.  Having been spoiled growing up near RHS Wisely, even K was much impressed.

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A French garden






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Two English gardens with lovely Acers just turning … don’t say Autumn is coming!!!

If this were Football, I’d be shouting England 2, France 1 and Italy and Germany ZERO!

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A rose garden, indigenous forest etc….  and all with a mountainous backdrop.

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A really pleasant couple of hours and ice cream at the summer house!

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Highlight? Most memorable?  The donosaurs!!!!!  Yes, seriously – scale and MOVING and BELLOWING dinos.  I know they have to entertain the kids, but do they have to make them so life like …. even some eye rolling!  K unnerved … and not just by what they were doing in an arboretum!


When we were in Ljubljana, the lovely TIC girl, when asked where she liked to go had indicated two place on the map and we set off for the first of these – Velika Planina, just north of Kamnik.  This is the ‘great highlands area’. top height is 1666m.  K had identified a campsite (not in all resources and we soon found out why … MINUS:  very basic at EUR22 (K negotiated a 10% discount – it all helps) … one toilet in a shed (clean and it flushed!!!), amongst trees and interesting manoeuvres to get Chardonnay in!    PLUS:  it was right at the base of the of the cable car we would take tomorrow and really peaceful.  Only one other (smaller) camper on the site …. interestingly a German married to a French lady, so K found herself badly switching languages.

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Pre dinner drinks on our woody camping.









136. Wednesday 2nd Sept:  Shite Frite

Up and at ‘em again …. we caught the 9.00 am cable car.  Sorry, you working folk (very conscious my former work colleagues are back dealing with new classes, seating plans and new directives from ‘em on high), but it felt early to us!    The guide book states ‘ the six minute ride is not for the skittish”.   It was steep.  it was a long way. The cables looked very baggy.  Now James likes to have his feet on terra ferma and he was slightly anxious / disconcerted about this ride.

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K happy to board the cable car, but J already shaking and it had not yet started its ascent!

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However, we then had a LONG chair lift ride, having been advised to get the double ‘get you up there’ package.  J mostly eyes just and gripped the rail.  Again this was a REALLY long ride, but it saved us a 45 min steep climb by foot.





Velkina Planina is where traditional diary farmers graze their cattle over summer.  It is hight pasture land. Mostly above the tree line.  The wooden round buildings were razed by the Germans, but rebuilt since.  Many are holiday homes, but a lot were still inhabited by the herdsmen, who wear green felt pointy hats.

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We had not gone far before it was coffee stop.  We sat outside one of the round huts … listening …. listening to …. virtually nothing.  The odd cry of a bird of prey and the jangle of a cow bell.  It is seriously one of the most peaceful places we have ever been.   On top of the world!


We walked through a number of the wooden hutted hamlets and past numerous urbane cattle with their young.  A really lovely place.  Unfortunately J had started with an eye infection the night before and was not feeling his best.  I put this down to why he keep his eyes shut and hands white knuckled on the return chair lift!  As we arrive at the bottom of the lift, he less than calmly said he needed to find the toilet …. it had frightened the shite out of him!   He really was not a happy bunny and has informed me that cable cars are doable at a push, but chair lifts NOOOO!

Sorry, lots of pix of the scenery and little wooden huts, but it was a very special place.

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We needed LPG so drove south and then back north a bit (I know I should have sorted it yesterday, nearer Ljubljana) and stopped off at Kamnik … mandatory daily ice-cream and eye drops for J.  Isn’t amazing – we describe symptoms in English and they prescribe antibiotic drops for all off EUR5!

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Lot of benches had rolled up mags for people to relax and read … what a lovely idea.










Next Stop:  Logarska Dolina- the second place the Ljubljana TIC girl had said was one of her favourites.   We had picked up an AgriTourism book of camperstops at farms and K had confirmed our arrival for tonight by email with one.  Sally Sat Nav initially tried to take us through a barrier that, even had it been open, a car would have struggled with.  The she tried to take us up a near vertical track.  The concept of farms giving up a space for motorhomes is fab, but not if totally inaccessible!  We will try the book one more time and see if we just bummed out on our first choice.  Fortunately, we had spied a campsite on the route up, just north of Luce and we retraced our steps.  Adjacent to a bubbling brook, 2 other couples staying, small, clean and basic … perfect!  And only EUR13.16 incl Tourist Tax :).  When checking in, K asked Meine Hostess about short walks for the morrow as J only 86% … really helpful again and K had to resort to German; we are only miles from the Austrian border … and she suggested on with a food stop that specialises in local produce. Sounds fun, although most local produce seems to be buckwheat and sour milk or dumplings … not sure what we will get, but when in Rome!

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Using the bench with a roof as a laundry drying hut!





137 – Thursday 3rd Sept 15: Gourmet Gorging

Slow leisurely start; waiting for the rain to cease of course!   K ran and did some Pilates; there was kindly a hard standing behind the picnic bench.  And we both showered… always a good thing, occasionally.

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Parked up at the start of Romanov Kot, as recommended by Meine Hostess at the campsite.  It is another glacial gorge, however, the valley bed is a sea of scree and rocks.  Quite lunar or post bomb.

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One of the prettier beehives,




And the opening of the valley.




But the highlight of today was ….  tarter – massive bowls of soup.  This is the main course of the lunch – all typical of the region …. cottage cheese …

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Sdumpling, a meat in a ravioli thingy, three other sorts of roast meats, green beans with a pork cracking sprinkling and an onion dish.  Did I mention the roast potatoes and salad sides?  Pudding was a kind of apple and cinnamon strudel.  I have not see J eat so much in ages and we still have a massive doggy bag for tomorrow.  we will NOT be wanting supper tonight!