I’d never been “on vacation” with Leni before. I just rearranged my car into a camping car, and so i got to try it out – in one of the countries that I wanted to visit for a while – Slovenia.
I didn’t have much time to make extraordinary travel plans, so I just googelt a couple of places that I liked and that I wanted to see in real life. Primarily I was looking for nice nature, hikes, and water. Water, because I would be bringing my inflatable canoe, and also Leni and me just love to hang out around water, go for a swim and for walks.
The first destination was Bled. There were lots of tourists – Bled is one of the most popular places in the country – but it is also one of the most interesting and idyllic ones. Idyllic, if you imagine the place without the crowds of tourists. Or if you get up at 5am, as by that time, they are really gone. I parked close to the Bled lake and spent two nights in the car. Every day, me and Leni were up at 5am, so we were the only people at the lake and could enjoy the sunrise.
The color of the water is amazing. I had only known this color previously from glacier lakes, which are about 1-2°C. This lake here though, was so warm you could comfortably swim in it.
Close by there’s Vintgar Klamm, a place where you see karst – high rock walls and the typical clear water. To go in there with a dog works fine, if the dog is ok with passing by a lot of people on narrow and steep paths and bridges. Leni did a great job and went for a little bath in the river now and then.
After swimming one more time in lake Bled, we headed towards Bohinj. Entering the Triglav National Park now, i didn’t want to do wild camping anymore, as this is prohibited and controlled, especially now in high season. In front of the camp ground where I wanted to stay at i saw a sign: “Camp Full!”. Shit, there was no other camp ground close by. I decided to meditate about this problem later, first I wanted to hike to the waterfall Savica.
When we came back to the camp ground at night, I asked them. Of course, their first reaction was to send me away. Surprisingly though, the receptionists then agreed on letting me stay there, as I was only one person and it was already kind of late. Lucky us! The camp ground was super-full, nevertheless Leni and I found a very nice spot for our small tent, right on the water.
Now it was time for the inflatable canoe. The water on the lake was crystal clear and very warm. It was so nice here, that we spontaneously stayed a night longer. Every morning and every evening me and Leni went out on the boat, stopped at some places, had food and went swimming.
Around the lake, there were mountains. Every time I see mountains like this, I want to go up and look at the view. But the weather was too hot to walk up there with Leni. I saw a gondola, that went up and down the mountain. So we went there. “Dogs have to wear a muzzle”, a big sign said in all languages. I really thought of everything that i would possibly need for Leni, but not of a muzzle. Well, it’s worth a try, i thought. So we bought a ticket and went on. At the gondola, a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd were waiting, both without muzzles. Lucky, again. My impression is that often in Slovenia, rules are not enforced so strictly as they might be in Germany. Which is nice. Leni wasn’t too excited about the ride in the gondola, but I was. A great view.
Arrived at the top, we looked at a gigantic mountain range – above all, mount Triglav. I am always happy when I have such views. It was 3.30pm, so we had a lot of time until the last gondola would go down at 7pm, and so we started walking on one of the many hiking trails. Upwards – so maybe we reach a mountain top? On the way we said hi to free range cows and only very few tourists. Finally we discovered a hill, which was supposed to be the highest one around this place, the ski area Vogel.
Suddenly we were all by ourselves, all the other tourists seemed to have vanished. I found out that the close-by chairlift, that lifts the non-hiker up to the top, is only working until 4pm. It was 4.15pm. All the other people had gone back on the chairlift to the main gondola, so nobody was left up here except for Leni and me. Awesome quietness, and a great walk back to the gondola.
On the next day we said good bye to lake Bohinj and headed towards Tolmin. There, we visited Tolmin Gorges. Similar to Vintgar Klamm, these are rock formations, canyons, a river, and a little cave where we could take a look inside.
Close to Tolmin I found a great camp ground, that had a lot of empty spots although it was high season. So I could park my car facing the river. The river was the Soca river, a clear and cool river which originates somewhere north in the National Park. So we took some rest at the rocky beach. A short rain shower produced a great rainbow afterwards.
I loved this campsite too, and still we wanted to go on northwards, to visit a couple more places in the National Park and along the Soca river. After a quick stop in Kobarid we got to Bovec.
In Bovec we were really lucky, again. The campground was full. But, being only one person, and promising to sleep in my small car without setting up a tent I got a spot – again facing the river! Looking for a calm place to cook supper, me and Leni went through the cold and strong river, to get to the other side.
The Soca Trail goes along the Soca, and so the next day we started to walk a bit of the Trail. Later we drove along to different spots and walked on a couple small segments of the trail. At the beginning, Leni was very unsure about how she should feel when crossing those many suspension bridges. But, practice creates masters – and practice in going across suspenion bridges you get a lot when walking the Soca Trail. In the end Leni was very relaxed and even comfortably sat down when I took a picture.
All the time you come across kayakers, people who just learn wild water kayaking, big rubber boats, and kayak professionals. I think I would like to try it out one day too. This, however, is only possible without Leni, as she doesn’t like helmets.
The last night in Slovenia I spent on a campground in Trenta. This was very unexciting, just crowded. I got a place, but only in between all the parking cars. The good thing was, that this made me leave early the next morning. My plan was, to drive over Vric Pass to my last overnight spot, a lake just behind the italian border. So we went. All roads in Slovenia had been kind of narrow and curvy, but the Vric Pass carried this to extremes. I must say, I had a lot of fun driving all those narrow curves, but only in the car I had. How people in Vans, not to mention people in RVs, drive along here, goes beyond my imagination. (While driving I couldn’t take pictures, but you get an idea when looking at the GPS map.)
At the highest bit of the Pass, there are tons of parking spots. Actually, I just wanted to stop briefly to take a look around, but then I discovered hiking signs everywhere. A glance at my cellphone told me that there would be nice hikes around, one of them being kind of short and also “suitable for children”. So it must be hikeable for Leni. Spontaneously we parked the car, packed water and some food and took off.
About an hour later we got to the top. Some little insects were living there, they looked like flying ants. The advantange of having them there was, that hikers who reached the top, went back down instantly at 5 times the speed. So, the top was pretty un-crowded. I thought of the cows, that have flies sitting on them so often, and I said to myself – if the cows can be calm with all the insects, I can be too. So I gave take-off and landing permits to the little air crafts, while taking some pictures of this stunning view.
Most of the hikers go back the same way they came from here. But my App told me, there should be a loop. So I took another route on the way back. This route turned out to be a little more interesting, especially for Leni’s short legs. But it worked, with a few breaks. Leni got all excited when we came by a little snow patch after scrambling through the rocks for so long.
After a curvy drive down, buying a gigantic watermelon, and another 15mins of driving, we got to Lago di Fusine in Italy, where we spent our last night. Again, we got up early to walk to the other side of the lake and watch mountains in the sunrise.
After that we made our way back home. This one week seemed incredibly long to me. It might be because we saw so much, and also because there was no ther human on our trip. You concentrate more on the surroundings, maybe live a little more in the present moment. As nice as it is, there were also times when I would’ve been happy to have somebody to talk, laugh and carry the boat 😉 Like anything in life, travelling alone with a dog has two sides too.
Anyway, Slovenia is for sure a great country to visit, or I should say the northern part, as this is all I’ve seen so far. All the places were very dog friendly. It would be best to go before or after high season though, then there will be more camping spots available.