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Croatia, Slovenia & Czech Trek

Discussion in 'Europe' started by rime noreason, Apr 11, 2019.

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  1. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fascinating to see how Tito would be remembered in the Balkan states. While he kept Yugoslavia together (without the extreme blood-letting that followed his death and the dissolution of the nation into separate states) clearly he was a corrupt and ruthless dictator. Ironic: such beauty amongst that level of conflict and “ethnic cleansing”.
     
  2. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    We plan on getting a 10 day pass minimum and see what happens from there. If the snow is good we may ski more or if it's so-so we have six days in Japan on the way home that we can use for skiing if we want. We've booked all our accommodation in Europe now so I would prefer not to make any more changes if possible.
     
  3. rime noreason

    rime noreason One of Us

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    @Lady Penelope, I suppose peoples' perceptions about the regime depend whether their personal experiences and subsequent lifestyles were positive or negative

    @PMG, I've no doubt whatever you see and experience here will be fantastic. Whatever you don't means a follow-up trip might be required, as it now is for us:D

    This trip was an excellent reconnaissance mission to decide where we'd like to return and spend longer next time. What we didn't factor on, is that turned out to be just about everywhere!

    Our next port of call was the Port of Roses, (Portoroz), and Piran. When we stepped onto our piazza, we saw that someone’s popped a Venetian town right in our front yard!

    Slovenia has only about 20km of coast but is very pleased and proud of it. Piran is a little gem along that coast. It’s the mocktail Venice, that is, it’s the Venice you have when you can't have Venice



    Venetians built the city and lived here for several centuries, and the Venetian feel still permeates this town with its turreted clocktower, fortress and castle and lose-yourself laneways. The actual city of Venice is less than 100kms as the crow flies, across the Adriatic. So on a clear day it’s visible from the fortress. We had a clear day. There’s not a whole lot in between except for the blue sea water. There wouldn’t be too many skylines with Venice’s distinctive tower and in the exact direction of Venice. So I’m calling it Venice and won't hear otherwise.

     
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  4. rime noreason

    rime noreason One of Us

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    Like many towns throughout this region, Piran is surrounded by medieval fortress walls that require many steep stairways through narrow laneways and medieval gateways to reach. The journey let alone the views, is always worth the effort even though the furnace of the sun tries to deter you. We won





    Not only does the architecture in Piran have a Venetian flavour,, but unsurprisingly so does the food. Fresh local seafood and vino on the water front, yes please.




    While I’m not a master of the Slovenian language, I do know a few words now, but I’m guessing this doesn’t mean quite the same thing in Slovenian! :eek:LOL




    Piran is another place we’d definitely like to return to and enjoy for longer.

    Slovenia has skiing, paragliding, rivers, lakes, caves, Adriatic coastlines, pristine beaches, Roman ruins, and of course wine. What’s not to love about it!m I’d have been very happily stranded here for the rest of my days



    There is a very good reason that the word “Slovenia” contains the word “love”. Even the trees grow leaves in the shape of hearts! I heart S-:emoji_black_heart: -nia



    With a great deal of fondness and fantastic memories in our hearts, we had to depart this gorgeous little nation.

    We headed back inland towards Croatia, although this took much longer than planned. First up, there had been an accident blocking the highway we were heading to, so our GPS re-routed and took us via a narrow dirt lane barely wide enough for a single car, and with steep embankments lining both sides. The lane zig zagged through farmlands with countless sharp bends. We noticed cars banked up ahead, and we realised that everyone else’s GPS had the same idea. Cars followed behind us and also came from the oppostie direction. The narrow lane made it almost impossible for cars to pass each other.

    This caused a massive traffic jam as no one was able to move in either direction, as even more cars joined the queuing conga line frpm behind, in both directions. Eventually some cars realised the blockage and slowly backed up until slight widening was found to pass each other. This was fine until a bright blue truck in inched its way towards us.

    We moved over as far as possible and were wedged against a farm fence but as the truck inched forward to pass us, its tyres on the other side had to roll up on the embankment. This caused the truck to list increasingly and dangerously over our car! It just managed to clear the bonnet but then had to pass over the cabin which was of course higher, while the truck tilted even further over us. Our rental car was brand new, we were the first customers to drive it! I was now picturing returning and having the rental company question where the bright blue stripe along the length of our roof had come from! SM wound down thr window, as did the truck driver, and shared a laugh together! Seriously ???

    I think I broke the world record for breath holding as the truck crawled passed. You couldn't have slid a sheet of paper between our roof and that truck! Yet somehow, unbelievably we came away unscathed.

    I'd taken this photo of the the colourful roses just before we rounded the bend directly into the thick of the traffic jam but you can see the narrow lane and the beginning of the steep embankments



    The second disruption in crossing in to Croatia came after driving about 45 minutes on a secondary road. Let’s take this road SM said. It will be more scenic SM said.

    When we finally arrived at the border, we handed our passports to the guards with our standard cheerful Dobro Dan, before the guards returned our passports with barely an acknowledgement and refused our entry. Apparently this border crossing was for EU citizens only:confused:

    It had been such a scenic route, we decided to do it again, but in reverseLOL

    Nonetheless, it gave us the opportunity to stop at another fruit stand and enjoy a chat with the farmer and buy some more delicious apricots and cherries.

    We drove back another 45 minutes, after which we were almost back to our starting point that morning, and begin the long trek to find the highway border.

    With a few more GPS glitches, it was a long day's driving before we finally arrived in to Croatia’s Plitvice lakes and waterfalls

     

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    #54 rime noreason, Sep 15, 2019 at 2:36 PM
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019 at 9:58 AM
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  5. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Right, that’s it! I’m definitely visiting Slovenia at some point. Such history. Such beauty. Just don’t rely on your partner or the GPS for navigation :D
     
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  6. rime noreason

    rime noreason One of Us

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    Haha @Lady Penelope. Google Maps hasn’t done its homework very well throughout this region, so we experienced several navigational failures, although nothing too detrimental. One section through Bosnia proved very worthwhile with the scenic route nevertheless.

    I’d thought we should to plot our air bnb houses on the maps prior to leaving Australia so we knew exactly where they are, and thought we should also pre-plan some of the roads we’d planned to drive to avoid these situations.However, as driving was SM’s one job, tthe pre-planning thing didn’t happenLOL

    SM and I complete each other, in that as organised and well-planned I am, he is as disorganised and unwell-plannedLOL

    Even more amusing was Google Maps’ mispronunciation of local towns and villages names, which was a largely phonetic style in an extremely broad Aussie accent. Nowhere was this more obvious than around Goriska. It had us highly entertained at times, such as Dobrovo becoming Dough-BRO-Vo, Vipolže was pronounced VY-poles, Gonjače was Gon-JACE-ee, and Gorenje pronounced as Go-REN-GEE. When road, town and district names were strung together in a sentence, it sounded hysterical. A couple of times, we even double-backed just to hear the full instruction repeated, and found it extraordinarily comical. Admittedly, that may have been directly after our wine tastings:whistle:

    On a couple of occasions such as now in Plitvice, we’d driven the same section of road back and forth so many times that we felt we almost knew every piece of gravel by heart! Thankfully, when we were really stuck here, some helpful locals came to our aid

    We eventually found our cottage at Plitvice and when we looked out of our windows we discovered that someone’s gone and planted a stream and mini Plitvice waterfall right across our front lawn!


    Both Slovenia and Croatia were much warmer than we’d anticipated, and very humid. This stream in our garden, fed from a freshwater spring, was very welcome and just amazing to swim in. The crystal clear Korana River that forms part of the Plitvice Lakes and terraced waterfalls runs through our neighbourhood and through our front lawn.The photos really don’t adequately show its clarity or gorgeous surrounds. Being so smooth and clear, it was actually deceptively swift and deep. The majority was well over my head. We took great delight in leaping in, letting the current swirl you downstream to our stone steps, refill on cheese and wine. Rinse and repeat

    These tiny little fish were our swimming partners and even came up curiously around us. Perhaps they thought we were a tasty snack! Iridescent blue damselflies flitted about the waterside shrubbery too

    My personal crystal clear stream and mini Plitvice waterfall, in my very tranquil garden surrounded by birds and mountains, close to skiing, close to flying, close to a very stunning coastline with sapphire blue seas, close to ancient ruins, fresh produce and a delightful little cottage with all the mod cons you could want, plus wine and cheese. I found my Paradise here, and what I’d like to have as my forever-home!





    We set out early the next morning for a day wandering around Plitvice Lakes. What a remarkable landscape of terraced lakes and waterfalls cascading down each one! The water is a stunning aquamarine here too, yet so clear that visibility extends many many metres.

    On the second photo below is a boardwalk directly centre and to the left side. You can see people lined up there which provides a sense of scale.

    There are quite a few kilometres of walking trails here, a new waterfall at each turn. Some are long sheer curtains cascading through tufts and tussocks, others meander gently over wide sections of grass and forest, others gush beneath and alongside the boardwalks. The grandfather of them all is the Great Waterfall that cascades 78 metres over a sheer rock face.
     

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    #56 rime noreason, Sep 17, 2019 at 9:56 AM
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019 at 11:40 AM
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