Day 101 Bohinj, Triglav National Park, Slovenia to Venice, Italy.

Our campsite in Bohinj started filling up last night, as many Slovenians and their families appeared for the weekend. There are great cycle routes in this part of the world, and we were encouraged to see that entire families were out cycling together, many with very young children.

At the final hour last night, we opted to head away from the mountains, and have one last ‘fix’ of the coast, before our pull across central Europe. Many of the places we have visited, both in the Mediterranean, and along the Adriatic, as far south as Montenegro and Sicily, have been under Venetian rule at some stage in their history – and so we thought it apt to pay this beautiful city a visit. We had originally planned to come in Novermber, at the end of our travels (and we still may), but neither of us have seen it in spring time, and so we decided to head back southwards in order to see Venice.

The sensible option, of course, would have been to take the motorway back towards Ljubljana, and then on past Trieste, and onto Venice. But for some inexplicable reason, we chose to listen to Boris, who was telling us that his route was faster. So we set off cross country from Bohinj. Boris’ route then led us up over the Julian Alps, up windy roads with too many hairpins to count, up above the snow line, and down the other side. I must say, that the scenery was truly stupendous, but at the time of driving, we were both so petrified of the roads, and with no opportunity to stop, I failed abysmally to document this tremendous route. It is clearly, though, one of those epic drives that motorcyclists adore, since we spotted many along these narrow precipitous roads, and in the valley there were several cafes advertising ‘Bikers Welcome’.

At the very top, there was still plenty of lying snow, but thankfully the roads had been cleared by the snow plough, leaving a wall of snow about four feet high at the edge of the carriageway. Back down in the steeply wooded valleys, there were crystal clear fast flowing rivers, and an abundance of spring flowers and blossoms. Visually, it was a profusion of spring green, as all the trees had just come into leaf. As the valley floor opened out, there was pasture land at either side of the road, with small cultivated plots adjacent to wooden alpine style houses. It really was a scene of rural beauty. I had no idea previously that Slovenia was such a stunningly beautiful country, which indeed it is.

So, in the end, we were pleased that Boris had led us on a long and rather tortuous route, since we managed to see parts of this lovely country that we would otherwise have missed.

It was gone five o’clock when we arrived at our campsite. We had planned to have a quiet evening and do the washing. But when the man at the reception explained that he could sell us a ticket for the ferries that went every half an hour into St, Marks Square in Venice, and that the ticket would be valid from this evening until we left – we thought, why not?

So within half an hour, the campsite courtesy van had dropped us off at the ferry, and we were on our way! It was a glorious evening as the ferry arrived in the city, and many people were out and about enjoying the last of the sun. I had forgotten just how stunning this city is. It has been ten years since Howard and I last visited, and undoubtedly busier than our previous trip in the depths of November, it retains it’s wow factor, however crowded.

The light on the Doges Palace was exquisite, and so we treated ourselves to a front row seat in one of the cafes in St. Marks Square, and enjoyed a cool glass of wine, whilst people watching. We opted against supper in the city (it had cost enough for the wine!), and so we headed back on the boat to our campsite, and grabbed a quick bite back at Oscar. Tomorrow we have all day to explore this lovely city.

It seems quite surreal though, that this morning we were sat surrounded by snowy mountains, and now we are camping besides the lagoon in Venice. All in a day!

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