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  Slovenia 2006 - Part 3

 


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Slovenia 2006 - Part 3 
Continuing eastwards to the flat plains of the Drava River then south through rolling hills to the Croatian border then northwest again looking for the sun

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Day 7 - to Ptuj and a modern spa resort

Our tour continued eastwards on the motorway for about 30 miles passing a toll station (910SIT) just before our turn off to Ptuj (pronounced Pertooee). The terrain here was flatter and mostly agricultural but the old historic red roofed town of Ptuj stands on a hill beside the River Drava. We found a small carpark on the edge of the town and strolled around the compact centre for the morning visiting the castle  (free access to the impressive galleried courtyard) which was worth the climb for the views across the town. Among the old buildings was the town tower with ancient stone carvings, tourist office (in summer) and gift shop. The streets were more lively than in some towns we had visited with many interesting buildings, a small market and a few fashion shops.

Shop sign - lost in translation!
            Shop sign - lost in translation! 

After leaving Ptuj we headed south passing through Rogatec where we stopped at an open-air museum (not well signposted). It contained an interesting collection of rebuilt farm buildings including a traditionally furnished farmhouse where the girls' bedroom has bars on the windows to keep out unwanted male visitors, barns, beehives and a double hayrack (toplar) with corn cobs drying, also an old village shop and forge. We were the only visitors and the entrance fee was only 650 SIT each including a guide leaflet in English.
  
Rogatec museum of traditional life
      Rogatec museum of traditional life

farmhouse interior  beehives 
 farmhouse interior                beehives

traditional barn   hayrack with corn 
  traditional barn           hayrack with corn

We then drove further south to Brecize and Catez where motorhome parking places were listed but we were unable to find them so continued to Terme Catez, a huge modern spa and waterpark complex with hotels, chalets and a large campsite, expensive by our standards at 24 but that included admission to the pools however by evening the rain had returned!



Ptuj roofscape
Ptuj roofscape

Ptuj castle courtyard
Ptuj castle courtyard

stone carvings on town tower
stone carvings on town tower

Ptuj Dominican Monastery
Ptuj Dominican Monastery

St George's church Ptuj
St George's church Ptuj

Day 8  - South to the Croatia border

We set off still in rain, following the Krka river westwards through a fruit growing region with lots of polytunnels, stopping at Kostinjevica where the road crosses the river on a wooden bridge. Needing to top up our provisions we pulled into a small TUS supermarket on the edge of the town and were amazed by the huge variety of items for sale, a typical general store with just room to get a small trolley down the aisles. Many of the brands are the same as in the rest of Europe but its always fascinating to look at the local specialities. On to Novo Mesto, a large town with a Renault car factory and home of Adria caravans and motorhomes, then across hilly country to find the source of the River Krupa, down country lanes. There was a small signposted carpark and a track leading down to the river which emerged into a large lake from the base of the cliff and a derelict mill - a peaceful spot with just a small information board. Some children from the nearby village cycled along to look at us while having our lunch but they were too shy to start a conversation.

         
               Weir at Krupa River

 Continuing to Crnomelj we decided to head for a campsite listed at Vinica. There was a landscape park listed in a local guide book but couldn't find it apart from a couple of waymark signs, the terrain here having lots of sinkholes in the rocks, however we passed a police radar speed trap safely thanks to motorists flashing a warning! We found Camping Katra in Vinica, a small village with an attractive church alongside the Kolpa River forming the border with Croatia. The site was basic, mostly static caravans buried within extended shacks. There was a road border post a few yards beyond the site but as our vehicle insurances only covered the EU we stayed in Slovenia this trip.                 
  



Source of Kupra River
Source of Kupra River






Church at Vinica
Church at Vinica (the sun didn't last) 


Day 9 - North again looking for the sun

After appraising the weather we decided to head north and miss out the coastal area so headed towards Ljubljana taking a long deviation around three sides of a square on the map due to a closed road, through heavily forested hills (but no brown bears seen) to Stari trg eventually arriving at Kocevje , a regional centre with large supermarkets, and on to Ribnica for a stop. There is a large church with interesting steeples and the remains of a castle housing a town museum with exhibits of witchcraft and torture. It is also a centre for woodenware but apart from the large wooden carved cutlery at the entrance signs to the town and exhibits in the museum we found no evidence of craft shops in the town centre.

             Steeples of St Stephen's church Ribnica  
         Steeples of St Stephen's church

Continuing northwards we bypassed Lubljana on a fairly empty motorway (no lorries on Sundays) but very busy where the motorway stopped, and continued on to Radovljica and the turning to Lake Bled. As this is the main tourist area the roads were again busy. The lake is a popular resort and being a Sunday everywhere was crowded, so we continued up the attractive Bohinj valley with rocky mountains on both sides for a further 15km to Bohinjska Bistrica the main town in the valley where we found the pleasantly uncrowded Camping Danica, an ACSI discount scheme site so for the first time there were campers from the Netherlands, Germany and even a few British - and the sunshine had returned at last!   



Ribnica castle museum
Ribnica castle museum

Ribnica castle entrance
Ribnica castle entrance


Witch's skeleton Ribnica
Witch's skeleton Ribnica


Day 10 - Bohinjska Bistrica

A lazy day catching up with the chores and shopping in the local Mercator mini supermarket and a stroll around the town which had a modern sports complex, swimming pool and even a cinema. There was also a very helpful tourist bureau with lots of information about the area. This is the terminus for the car-train from Podbrdo and Most na Soca south of the mountains and there is also a vintage steam train on some days. Camping Danica has good facilities with a bar, restaurant and sports facilities adjacent, and alongside the River Sava Bohinjska where canoeing and fly fishing is available.

At last it was sunny all day, in fact too hot on our open pitch so we unpegged and carried our tent/awning 20 metres to a shadier pitch that had been vacated in the morning - much to the amusement of onlooking campers. This must have been our lowest daily mileage ever! A pleasant evening walk through the village lanes and meadows followed by comparing notes with a couple of British caravanners, the first we had met for weeks, finished the day. In this valley every piece of land that was flat enough was used for growing hay and families working every evening on their vegetables in allotments amongst the fields.  


Camping Danica entrance
Camping Danica entrance

haymaking the old way
haymaking the old way
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