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Final Statistics: Alex & Maz Total distance: 93,550km
Furthest Point: Rotorua, NZ Now settled in Sydney, Australia
Final Statistics: Martin Total distance: 79,698km
Furthest Point: Hobart, Australia Now settled in Bristol, UK

Stop press!! Collision causes catastrophic colouring......

Written by Maz Towns. Uploaded 16 August 2005.

Slovenia, Country 4, Diary entry 9-13th Aug 2005, Total distance in Slovenia: 481 KM

After a morning driving the Italian roads trying to find an internet cafe we eventually found one in Lido di Jesolo. We then spent the next 3 hours catching up on emails, updating the webpage and making sure that Martin had had his quota of ice cream for his stay in Italy! We then headed to Slovenia and arrived just in time for the sunset.  Slovenian Sunset

We arrived to camp at Lake Bled in the dark (there is a familiar theme here) and as we pulled up to the entrance, we were greeted with a ‘CAMPSITE FULL’ sign!! We pretended we didn’t understand English and headed for reception anyway to see if we could stay for a night. Luckily for us, they had a car park at the side of the campsite and charged us 10 euros each for the pleasure of staying in it!!

After finding a suitable place to set up camp, we began to cook tea. The forever faithful Kelly kettle came out and this sparked a lot of interest from passers by. After stopping to look at the kettle, people then noticed the cars and began asking lots of questions about what we were up to. We also received our first spontaneous donation of the trip by Alan and had our picture taken. We decided this was the best contender for ‘pic of the week’. Thanks Alan!!  Lake Bled

After finishing tea and our second bottle of wine (there is another theme running here too!), and this was not the bottle which had generously been donated by a fellow camper after seeing the kettle, we began thinking of bed and wondering if we had been too noisy and disturbed the people in the camper van we thought were sleeping next to us. Cue, Klaus, Daniel and Robert return to their camper van….!

Out came the Bavarian beer (we were told we had to try ‘just one’ before we went to bed) and before we knew it the next 2 hours had passed by. They had over 70 bottles of beer in their camper van, but I’m not sure how many they left with the next morning!!

 Mountain View of Lake Bohinj We then had more interest in the cars & trip in the morning and after saying goodbye to David and Sarah who we’d spent a lot of time talking to, we headed to Lake Bohinj for some walking in the Julian Alps. After catching the cable car up the mountain, we spent the next 2 hours hiking and absorbing the beautiful landscape. We then treated ourselves and had beer (Slovenian beer is very nice) and apple strudel. Yum!  Alex & Martin

We camped on the edge of Lake Bohinj that night, unfortunately the campsite was so crowded you couldn’t actually see the lake from our pitch, the sun was shining so we decided to get a closer look and went kayaking. After telling the shop we were all experienced in kayaking, only a small white lie as I’ve never sat in one before, we donned helmets, life jackets and skirts (spray decks for the knowledgeable) and headed off to the water to practice our paddling technique......

Alex seemed to be doing well, but Martin and I kept going round in circles rather than in straight lines, then we realised the eddie currents were extremely strong in our part of the lake :o) After semi mastering the paddling technique we headed off down the river to see the Slovenian sites at a slower pace. The water was extremely clear and there were lots of trout swimming around.

We were all doing well and having fun down the rapids (mini ones) when disaster struck….. Martin flipped his kayak and after bobbing up and down 3 times, Alex decided he should paddle down the rapid to help, and then catastrophe struck……!! Alex lost control of his kayak and ran over Martin! It was a near fatal collision, but luckily Martin survived with just a swollen colourful eye! I did offer to practice my first aid skills and see what I could do with a triangular bandage, sutures and thermometer, Martin thanked me but declined all the same.  Elephant Man We set off again and then the thunder clouds opened. It poured down and even though I hadn’t turned my kayak, I was as soaked as the boys. We eventually finished our scenic tour of the river drenched and were picked up and taken back to the cars. Once dry we treated ourselves to a trout supper.  Low cloud at Lake Bohinj

The rain didn’t let up and carried on for the whole night and next morning. Alex and I woke up in a puddle, some call it a mattress, and we were not amused!!! We packed up our soggy bed, and headed off to the Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

We parked up and then had to find a parking warden to buy a ticket off as they don’t have the machine system like we have at home. This took over 30 minutes, but once we knew we weren’t going to get a fine, we headed off for the hilltop castle. The castle has been under renovation for decades and it looks more like a 1960s remake of the original building. There is a chapel attached to the side of the castle and you can climb the 19th century castle tower which overlooks the west of the city giving a remarkable view of the town below. The city is small but has a nice feel to it, with the Ljubljanica River running through it.  Chapel Ceiling

After finding a great restaurant and filling ourselves up with a mixed grill of local meats, we ventured south to find camp near Skocjan Caves which was Saturday’s activity. Luckily it was a dry night but we had to sleep on a tarpaulin as the mattress was so wet. Once arriving at the caves, we parked up and made the most of the sunshine by putting the tent up while we went on the tour to make sure everything was dry before heading to Croatia.

The tour lasts just over one and a half hours, taking you through the silent cave and then the wet cave adorning beautiful stalactite, stalagmite and pillar formations. The caves are massive with the last cave being 120 metres in height, a spectacular site. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the caves, without a tripod it was difficult to get any, but Alex and Martin managed to take a couple when the tour guide wasn’t looking!  The Steps at Skocjan Caves

We then headed for the border a day earlier to try and find some diving in Croatia. With only 70kms to go to get to our destination, we thought this would be an easy drive, how wrong we were. We managed to get to the motorway and then the queues began. We got to within 10kms of the border and just stopped! The queues were incredible and going nowhere fast, all made up of Italian, German and Dutch holiday makers. After being stuck for over an hour, we decided to do a U turn and find another border. We eventually reached Croatia after 5 hours of driving.... That’s a long 70km!

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Comment from The Mother
Many thanks to the resident Nurse.

Martin, you departed with all visible bits intact. Please return in same condition with original packaging.

P.
16 Aug 2005 @ 17:38:12

Comment from Elise
LOL!!

(But, seriously: couldn't agree more;-))
16 Aug 2005 @ 18:48:26

Comment from Mandy
Well, some very common patterns running, Mrs Towns' + beer, black eyes......who caught the trout? Seriously, sounds like you're having a ball, keep it up;)
17 Aug 2005 @ 10:02:34

Comment from Linda
Great to read your adventures have started, the beer is flowing , freindships are being made and fun is happening! Just a quick message to say CARE are thinking of you (and in agreement with "The Mother"'s comments) and we are all looking forward to the diary updates - without getting too jelous as we sit and read them from the office :)
17 Aug 2005 @ 10:33:11

Comment from DF
Question -- Why didn't to spent an extra couple of quid and buy a tent with a weatherproof roof; or did you think that it never rains when YOUR on holiday??? Silly Billies
17 Aug 2005 @ 23:18:10

Comment from The Father
Full marks to the Expedition Nurse – for enthusiasm if not for effect, but let's hope "effect" is not going to be required.

We think your diary entries are great. It's the next best thing to doing the trip ourselves but without the mosquitos and bumpy ride to the next stop. It's also a lot cheaper so The Mother and I have decided to donate some of the money saved to Care International. We'll make a contribution for each diary update, payment to be made after every ten diary postings.

Ian
18 Aug 2005 @ 12:21:14