Slovenia has a land mass of just over 20,000 klm2 with over 50% being covered in forests and a population of just over 2 million.
The capital is Ljubljana, the main language is Slovenian and the currency is Euro.
There are no regulations against wild camping but it is not generally accepted – ask if in doubt.
Wednesday 11th April
Being a Schengen country, the border crossings again were a non event where there were no inspections or customs booths.
Our campsite for tonight: Gostilna Trnek, Ljutomer – GPS 46.555161N 16.219290E
Set beside three lakes and a forest reserve and surrounded by green fields, this Inn has a spectacular location and did not even insist on a meal in return for free parking.
We dropped inside to make sure we were permitted to park for the night and were greeted with a warm smile and shown where to park just outside the Inn on the grass. There are so many beautiful places around the lakes where seats have been provided to just sit and watch the ducks go by.
As it was lunchtime, we strolled over to the Inn and sat in the warm sunshine and had a pre lunch Slovenian beer and booked ourselves in for dinner at 7pm.
Walking tracks and information about the reserve were posted beside the first lake so armed with a bottle of water, a jacket (just in case it got cold or we got lost) headed off through the forest reserve. There were 5 information boards along the 2.5 km track but there were times when we reached a fork in the road with no signage, that we wondered if we could find our way back.
There were lots of track indicators along the way in the form of coloured ribbons, empty water bottles hanging from trees, a tyre and of all things – an old muffler. We came across loggers in the forest and tractors hauling out timber and finally reached the river where there was a ferry to take you across to the town of Mura. Not sure if it was large enough to take a Ziggy bus across. Sat and watched the ferrymen on the other side for a while and then headed back hopeful of finding the track indicators on the way back. Felt a bit like Hansel and Gretel and thank heavens the ribbons were not eaten by the birds.
The forest itself was beautiful with a few causeways running across streams where there were ducks and swans swimming happily – so peaceful with only the streams and birds to be heard.
Took just over two hours to get back and have a rest before dinner.
All day the Inn was abuzz with local men coming in and having a man’s chat and beer before venturing home. The same in the evening when we came in for dinner. We sat in the small dining room and listened to a group of men chat and laugh for many hours – they were still there when we left and have to say, the clear liquid they were drinking was definitely not water.
The dinner was a country feast with Rob’s Zander or fresh water perch and my veal scallopini filling the whole of a large plate – we could not finish it. The owner – also the barman – was asleep when we approached him at the bar for the bill. I think he too had been drinking some of that clear liquid.
Thursday 12th April
Our campsite for tonight: Gostilna Koblarjev Zaliv, Maribor – GPS 46.565559N 15.619740E
Another Inn situated just on the outskirts of the large town of Maribor. The river setting was very pretty with a small bridge to take you across the river to the Inn side. Very quiet in the day and night with only a few walkers passing by.
Requirement here was to pay a small parking fee or have dinner, so for the second night in a row, my driver took the navigator out to dinner. This time we were the only people in the dining room and enjoyed a fabulous seafood risotto which we could not finish and took the rest home in a doggy bag.
Friday 13th April – black Friday
First town we have seen with a Harvey Norman store. All the way over here – very strange as we had not seen another one anywhere else.
Just have to keep repeating over and over again how very awesome and breathtaking the scenery is in Slovenia. A beautiful, beautiful clean country with absolutely no signs of anything derelict.
We passed by rolling lush green hills topped with acres of pine forests and dotted with little villages of quaint Tyrollean style homes with mansard or alpine roofs – reminds us so much of Austria.
Our campsite for tonight: Tivoli 2, Lubjljana – GPS 46.0598N 14.4975E
Comments regarding rates in the Park4nite APP are very confusing. Parked in Tivoli 2 where at the boom gate it gives two rates with a car costing €0.60 per hour between 6am-8pm Monday to Friday (weekends free) and motorhomes €2.40 per hour 6am-8pm and €6.00 from 8pm to 6am (seven days a week) = €39.60 for 24 hours. Definitely do not want motorhomes to stay here. However, when you take a ticket on entry there is no option to select car or motorhome.
We had already taken a ticket from the auto machine at boom gates and parked before we did a google translate to discover what the sign really said. Terrified at the prospects of the potential cost, we took our ticket back to the gate and inserted it in to get a reading – €0.60 it said, the car rate. Fantastic, we thought – the sign must be an old one so happily set off to do a quick trip around the town before our full day here tomorrow.
Didn’t get far enough to see a lot but the exercise was welcomed. Found a great place just across the road from the carpark called Union Brewery which was packed with locals in the outside beer garden so decided to venture in for some early dinner and sample some different beers. The venison deer goulash with rolled dumplings was superb and was served with a basket full of hot fresh buns to soak up the goulash. Shared one between the two of us – yum, yum, yum!
The pub filled up quickly inside and watching the locals was a real hoot. This unique place is really worth a visit.
Checked our ticket again as we walked back past the boom gate and it read €2.40 after about four hours. Feeling confident all was well, we settled down to some reading while watching the comings and goings in the car park.
At 7.30pm there was a knock at our window which we opened slightly. The man spoke to us in Slovenian and the gist of the conversation mostly via sign language was telling us we had to move out as we were not allowed to stay overnight here. Having had a few drinks, there was no way we were legally able to drive.
Took out our iPad with Google translate and asked the person for identification as it appeared he was asking for cash in addition to what we would pay through the automatic machine. We showed him our ticket which he quickly snatched away. Scary, because without it there was no way past the boom gates. We asked to speak to an English supervisor. He phoned someone, we have no idea who, spoke and then handed the phone to us. This person, after finding out we were in Tivoli 2 said we were OK to stay. He spoke to the man who then gave us back our ticket and waved goodbye (with a not so happy face). At no time did he show us any identification.
We left very early next morning, hoping to be able to get through the boom gates before our not so happy man arrived for work. Paid a total of €4.80 (very happy) though we suspect that this man is responsible for getting the extra motorhome rate.
All inner street parking is chargeable on an hourly rate and all parking stations charge a whopping penalty rate for motorhomes.
Did not stay on in this non friendly motorhome town.