Day 99 Piran to Bohinj, Slovenia.

I’m afraid to say that I feel that Howard’s Garmin is on borrowed time. I mislead you yesterday when I said that his Garmin was beeping to make him move (something that it does often if we have had a long drive). But no, it was beeping because it was giving him a ‘reward badge’ for exceeding his exercise goals every day last week. He positively glowed with delight as he told me. In fact, he was so spurred on by his new badge that this morning when he came back from his run (having been away rather longer than usual), he returned with an exceedingly smug look on his face. It turned out he had run not five, but ten kilometres, and as a result, as he walked through the door, he was being given a ‘special commendation’ for effort! I have come to the conclusion that ‘Garmin’ is the new source of his affections – and as such, may be on a sticky wicket! If he doesn’t stop looking lovingly at his wrist, then I think it’s days might be numbered!

Back to today. We checked out of our lovely hotel in Piran, and the hotel very obligingly drove us to their sister hotel, who were kindly baby-sitting Oscar for the night. The receptionist also helpfully told us how to acquire a Slovenian Vignette, in order to be allowed to drive on the motorways here. Without it, there is a stiff 300 euro fine. We opted for the longer motorway route, skimming past the outskirts of the capital, Ljubljana, and on to Lake Bled. As we turned off the motorway, we were treated to the most spectacular view of the Julian Alps, still covered in snow, up ahead.

We arrived in good time, and after a quick refreshment stop, decided on the 6km walk around the perimeter of the lake. It was a stunning walk, particularly in the quieter section, away from the tourist hotels. In the middle of the lake sits an island with the Church of the Assumption as it’s focal point. Many tourists had opted to take the gondola boat ride to visit the church, but on this occasion we decided to pass on that one, keen to avoid the crowds. On one side of the lake, looking out from on high, is Bled Castle. It stands perched on a steep cliff, and would have looked stunning, save for the huge crane sat astride it, clearly needed for restoration work.

The campsite open at Lake Bled itself had very mixed reviews, so we decided to stay a short distance away near Lake Bohinj, which is reputedly equally as beautiful. So after our walk, we drove the 10 miles or so on to our campsite for the night. The camp is in a truly stunning location, in the shadow of snow capped mountains, sat aside the River Bohinj, which feeds into the lake. The only disadvantage of such a site, as you can imagine, is that being situated next to a river, it’s prone to mosquitos. I’m sure Howard and I caused great amusement to all the other campers as we carefully chose our spot. I’m ashamed to say that we moved the van three times before deciding on our pitch. Each time we stopped, I opened the side door, and tons of the little biting buggers flew in. Eventually we settled on a pitch out in the open, away from any trees or shrubs, but with a magnificent view of the Julian Alps from our window. We had tea early, sat in the sun, and admiring the view. But then, as dusk approached, the flies came out. I dashed in the van and changed out of my shorts. I returned adorned in a zipped up hoody and socks tucked in my trouser legs. Howard was less than complimentary!

So after tea, we rummaged in our ‘other things we might need’ holdall, and raked out the mosquito nets. As a result, I am now sat very happily typing, behind the fly screens secured in our side door. It works a treat, and I’m sure will be really useful as we progress on our trip around Iceland and Scandinavia in the summer. The only problem being is that our neighbours had already spotted me in my rather strange ‘grunge’ outfit. They now seem to be giving us a very wide berth, and looking over their shoulders periodically. But frankly, I will do anything to save being bitten to pieces by mosquitos. Howard also reminded me of the rather fetching mosquito cagoules we had purchased on the first week of our trip in Inverness, whilst doing the North Coast 500. I’m quite sure they will be worn at some point – but not just yet.

Tomorrow we plan to cycle around Lake Bohinj –  that is, if we can work out how to extricate ourselves from the van, with all this netting attached!

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