We left Vienna with heavy hearts, it had been amazing meeting our little nephew, hanging out with friends and family and we postponed leaving too many times. Yet we had to get moving since we had a boat to catch from Italy in two weeks.
We flew down the highway towards the south, a quick stop to buy a new drone, to replace the one that had broken in Latvia until we could get the spare parts to get it fixed, turned into a little drama where Jojo lost one of his gloves, again. So instead of moving on, we had to find a motorcycle shop to buy him new gloves. Luckily there was one not too far and it had a big collection of ‘handshuhe’ which translates to hand shoes and we quickly found a pair that fitted and fell into our price range.
After this hiccup we push on south again but leaving had been so hard we had only departed in the afternoon so it was going to get dark soon and it was October which means that the days were getting shorter too. Where we were getting daylight until 10 when we left, we now had maybe until 7 until the light faded and it became too dark to find a spot to pitch the tent.
The valleys of Austria are quite crowded so it was hard to find a decent spot away from people, somehow we managed and had a beautiful view of the town below before we crawled into the tent for our first night back in nature.
We had to test the new drone, which we call the baby drone, since it is so small. Yet for such a small device it is remarkably powerful. DJI really makes impressive stuff. So we had to learn how to fly it with the phone which was frustrating in the beginning, it’s not the same as the big one and learning what it’s limitations are was part of the deal. But it was better then having nothing because the aerial view is just something special.
We packed and left to head for the Slovenian border. Jojo has picked a pass that he had heard of but never ridden before because he always crossed Slovenia on the way to Croatia as fast as possible. I was very excited to go to Slovenia because I had heard good stories about the country and was interested to see why people were so positive about it. Jojo on the other hand said that he wasn’t a big fan of Slovenia because it was boring, “it’s just the end of the alps so lower and less spectacular than Austria” he said with a whiff of nationalism.
Riding up the pass to the border was beautiful, the autumn had really hit the country and the forest was displaying all the colours. The corners were smooth and the asphalt good so we had a great time going up. On the top stood an old army tank as a reminder of the Balkan wars. We rode down and enjoyed the curves until we hit the bottom of The Valley where we found the actual border into Slovenia.
Our first stop was to be at lake Bled, probably the most famous location of the country and I don’t know anyone who has been to this country and didn’t visit this lake. It’s beautiful and has a very old church on a small island in the middle of it. It attracts tourists from all over the world and even this late it in the season it was still busy at its shores. We pitched the tent on the campsite right next to Kinga, who we knew was gonna be there yet it was by accident that we were there on the same day. It was good to see her back on the road, back in her element and we chatted while we waited for her friend to arrive.
The next day we left Kinga and her friend behind and hit the road towards Croatia, a place Jojo spent a lot of his childhood holidays since his best friend is Croatian but fled the wars and moved with his family to Vienna yet every holiday they went back to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea. So his love for Croatia finds deep and therefor Slovenia is just boring. Yet I convinced him to just ride one pass behind the lake, it’s just a small detour on the road to Croatia and we’ll still make it there today I plead. He says okay and we set off for the hills. As son as we hit the forests and the road is going up i have a big smile on my face. The road twists and turns as we climb higher and higher and the colours of the trees are anywhere between yellow and red. I keep stopping to make pictures because it’s a feast for the eyes but Jojo doesn’t notice and I loose him soon after. Yet I cannot help myself and stop at the next spot to snap a photo of the view.
I’m loving the ride and get why some of my friend a rave about Slovenia, it’s less crowded then Austria which I can appreciate. I ride down the pass on the other side and meet Jojo who is riding back up in search of me. The vstroms purr as if this is where they belong. Touring the mountains is not riding as fast as possible for me, there are too many other participants on the road and if I go too fast I miss out on the views. I feel no need to ride anything more than the 650cc that we have with us.
We come down the pass and park the bikes next to a bridge running over a little stream to eat our lunch. The sun is warming us up and the burritos we have left over from yesterday’s dinner are delicious. As we eat I ask Jojo again what he thinks about Slovenia, I cannot imagine this road didn’t change his mind. Quietly he says Slovenia is alright. I laugh, that’s all I’m gonna get but it says enough.
The ride continues and we hit the main roads again, a little more crowded but still not the big highway Jojo usually takes. It’s a little slower but even here the ride is nice. We arrive at the border and it’s our first post where we need to show our passports. The first months of our trip we stayed within Schengen but now we are leaving for the first time. Adventure awaits on the other side. A new country in the books for me.
The visit to Slovenia was short, but good. I can only recommend going there, although you probably want to try and avoid the high season. October turned out to be a good month for us and I’m happy I was able to convince Jojo that the country is more than just a highway.