Wed 7th Aug.
Ljubjlana had treated me well. I surprised by the vibrancy and youth of a city I’d not heard of until a few months ago. There was a wealth of history, architecture and significance here and a welcome hospitality I from the people I hadn’t expected.
I said goodbye to the girls in the morning who’d taken me in, and given me a bed for two nights (while Tina slept up on the roof. She said she had wanted to try it for a long time) and we got on and done so much that it felt like we known each other much longer then two days.
We exchanged details and have been in touch since.
I took my time leaving Ljubljana. I picked up some treats and a yogurt drink from the bakery there (the treats were excellent and had been impressed by Slovenian bakeries) I went back into the centre and looked at more of the socialist buildings Tina had told me about and some of the more treasured, unique buildings by their cherished architects. I wanted to skip the peak heats and set off around 2:30.
I went east, aiming to get near the Croatian border by the end of the day. The road took me through some woods and after a while I realised that I had taken the wrong road and was heading south. It would’ve taken too long to backtrack and I was able to find a shortcut I hoped would connect me to the road I needed to be on. It took through the woods and on the way in a huge bug, whacked me in the left eye. This may sound quite funny, but at the time it was actually very painful and after I had problems seeing I spent the next few days checking my eye for any infringements. It was fine, but it continued to throb.
I went through the woods on a windy path that came out by a lone barn, across a field and back into the woods. The track was treacherous and made of mud, stone and sticks. This would’ve been a terrible time to conceive a puncture and thankfully I didn’t.
After more searching in the woods, I was sure I had messed up. but, amid my trials, I heard a road nearby, which joined the road I needed to be on. All was not lost and the woods had been quite a nice detour.
The road turned into a hill and went passed a long series of road works. At some point on this main road I had to leave heading north into another unknown abyss of Slovenian village and countryside with no GPS. I didn’t know what I was doing and had to pick between to roads and keep moving.
I went through a small beautiful village, the buildings here touted long spire in a kind of Gothic style that seemed to say a lot about the country’s past. On going through the small village a small boy was out walking with his granddad. The boy saw me and held his hand out for a high-five while I was moving, not wanting to disappoint, I reached down from the handlebars to high-five the kid. He stumbled back into his granddad and almost fell under my front wheel. The granddad bent down to save the child and the high-five was cancelled. This was one of the few public interactions I’d had in the months on the bike and it went terribly. Luckily no-one took any offence and everyone was fine.
The countryside had changed again, into a more pleasant, amiable and rounded sort of terrain that felt much more pleasant and accommodating. The grass was longer and greener, there were more bushes and trees. I even stopped at one tree to put a load of wild apples in my bags. I ate one later and it was inedible. I threw the majority of them away.
I went up over a hill and could see for miles into the distance how the landscape was spread out and a cyclist passed me offering a good gesture. The only cyclist I’d seen in Slovenia. Come to think of it, the girls I stayed with were the first Slovenian people I’d properly met. I’d never met anyone from Slovenia before, in London or out travelling somewhere.
I stopped off at a small bar and topped up my water. I felt bad that I was buying anything there and got a few curious stares from the locals enjoying the evening temperature. I put in one last push, which took me off into another small, rural village. I looked around the village for a place to camp, then I saw the woods behind the village. I went into the woods, found a perfect spot in a beautiful location. I left the outer tent off and slept well.