This is a deliberately concise account of the Slovenia trip. I will be
producing a far more comprehensive report in due course, which will be
published - along with plenty of photographs, hopefully, airport X-ray machines
permitting - on my web site, at a URL to be announced!
I flew out from Heathrow on Friday 22 August, having checked in far too early,
and consequently waiting around for substantially longer than the two-hour
flight itself. The plane arrived at Brnik airport near Ljubljana promptly at
6.30pm CET, and I met David with no problems, and we drove back to his home
city of Maribor, about a further three-hour journey. The evening was spent at
David's favourite al-fresco bar in Maribor, drinking from rather large and
heavy two-pint glasses.
On the Saturday, we did some shopping and I changed my money into Tolars,
getting far more to the pound than I had anticipated. It turned out that the
pounds sterling I had brought "just to get started" were more than ample for
the entire trip... In the afternoon we drove to the top of a rather high hill
near Maribor, and walked a bit from there, and also visited a local waterfall
which was good walking practice in less-than-ideal underfoot conditions.
On Sunday, we drove to David's parents' country cottage near the Croatian
border, where they have extensive vineyards, and plied us with delicious food.
Having shopped for supplies for the more serious part of the trip - that is to
say, climbing Mount Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak at about 9500 feet - and
packed our rucksacks, we had an early night, setting our alarms for 2.45 the
So on Monday we got away from Maribor at about 3.15am, and set out from a
car-park near Lake Bohinj shortly before 7am. The walk started with a stiff
climb up a 2000-foot cliff called Komarca, rising out of the mist into what was
to remain mainly pretty glorious weather. We proceeded up the gentle and
picturesque Triglav Lakes Valley - detouring slightly because David wanted to
see all the lakes in the valley, two of which were omitted on the route we
would otherwise have taken - then up and over the not-so-nice Hribarice, a
climb which seemed to go on forever, before arriving at the rather busy Dolic
hut where we stayed the night, after well over nine hours of walking.
Tuesday we didn't rush to get up, but were still out by 8am, making the best of
the cooler part of the day. Triglav itself was our main objective, though but
for a little inclement weather we would have hoped to walk considerably
further. Nevertheless the climb up Triglav was quite substantial enough, the
final assault being about a 1200-foot steep rocky ascent, mostly with the aid
of metal hand-holds and provided ropes; where those weren't provided things
were a little hairy for my liking, though I kept my head thankfully! The
summit was a little crowded and the view wasn't that amazing thanks to poor
visibility, but the temperature was pleasant when the sun gently shone. As we
descended, it started to rain, and we ended up stopping the night at a hut we
had originally intended to pass by.
Having had a relatively easy day on Tuesday, we were able to get up bright and
early on the Wednesday and have a full day's hike back to the car, pretty much
retracing our route back over Hribarice - which didn't feel quite so bad at the
start of the day - along the valley and down Komarca, that final descent
incredibly being quicker than the climb, especially amazing since it briefly
poured with rain and made the conditions decidedly slippery. We arrived back
at the car - I don't think I'd ever been so glad to see a car! - just before
3pm, and got back to Maribor mid-evening having stopped off briefly at the
resorts at Bohinj and Bled.
Thursday was definitely a recovery day, popping into Maribor to do a little
shopping and sight-seeing. Alas that was the one day we were forced to use the
family Yugo rather than the rather nice Celica, and it unsurprisingly broke
down, with both ignition and clutch problems. Thankfully David's father was
around to rescue us with the Celica, though it did make the following morning
rather complicated, with only one car and everyone needing to be in very
different places, but we managed somehow, despite torrential rain.
So Friday was my last day, and with the lengthy journey between Maribor and
Brnik airport, we had to make an early departure. Having changed my remaining
Tolars back into sterling and grabbed a McDonalds in probably the worst rain I
have ever known, we arrived at Brnik well in time for the 1.30pm flight. We
bid our farewells shortly afterwards and the plane left fairly promptly, and
all too soon I was back at Heathrow and on the bus back home.
All in all though a great trip, a total change of scene, good company, and a
fully accomplished mission.