SLOVENIA – Beer fountain in a town square
Wednesday 9th May 2018
The trip across the border again was seamless, however the border guard coming into Slovenia did take quite a long time meticulously going through our passports. Still no issues with overstaying our Schengen time limit.
The countryside is again a patchwork quilt of greens, greys and browns blanketing the rolling hills and in between were dotted with stately Bavarian style homes – a breath of fresh air.
Though we thoroughly enjoyed Croatia with its magnificent scenery, in our opinion, it has been thoroughly spoiled by tourism and is now so expensive. Every nook and cranny has been set up as a camping place and/or restaurant and the service and food in most of those we experienced, has been woeful.
Our campsite for tonight: Mali Raj, Dolenjske Toplice – GPS 45.771141N 15.050690E
Just across the border, we settled into this wonderful little camping spot set along the banks of the Krka River. We sit and watch the swans lazily fishing in the river and flocks of cranes fly happily above then settle down on the river banks to feed.
The river here is wide and fast flowing and so clear. This is a naturalist camp but some sections are for people like us who like to keep our clothes on.
There is only one other motorhome here – a Dutch couple who don’t like clothes (quite refreshing to be pretty much alone again).
Very friendly owners, however they did try to charge us much more than the APP price but quickly agreed to the listed price when we stood our ground and showed them their listing on our iPad. Found out from the other motorhomers that they were quoted the APP price not the over inflated price we were asked to pay. Suggest one should confirm price of every campsite before entering.
Thursday 10th May
First priority was to stock up, so Lidl banked some of our hard earned dollars in exchange for giving us wine and replenishing our drink supplies and of course the freezer and fridge look much healthier again.
Our NAVIE took us on a Cook’s tour up and down dale through some quaint little hillside villages and lush tree lined roads which were very windy and narrow so were relieved not to strike a car coming the other way.
Our campsite for tonight: Kostanjevica na Krki – GPS 45.849491N 15.418850E
Discovered there was a much more direct road NAVIE should have taken us on but our scenic drive was really worth it.
There is obviously a wood worker in this town who has created some woodwork masterpieces out of tree trunks. These are really interesting and are scattered at the entry to the town and in other places.
The local council has provided five motorhome spaces exclusively for motorhomes – gratis. They are overlooking a sloping treed parkland and then the Krki river. We also have views over two sand volleyball courts where a group of 10 young people happily played volleyball from 5pm until dark.
Didn’t take long to take a walk around the small town where we see the first signs of brightly coloured flowers in window boxes. Chose a pub on the riverfront for a quiet ale before heading back to Ziggy to watch our free sports entertainment only metres away.
Friday 11th May
Quite interesting this morning watching tractor after tractor slowly meandering along the highway not far from our campsite. Counted at least 30 of these, all different shapes and sizes. Thought there must be a tractor convention and soon after leaving our campsite came across all of these lined up like soldiers on the highway. Found out later from a service station that today was Tractor Registration day -the only day of the year allocated to registration.
Beautiful scenery as we followed the Krka river to our lunch spot set high on the hill overlooking the town of Sevnica. We have followed this river through many villages for a few days now. Not sure how long the river is but it is a beautiful blue green colour and is crystal clear.
Passed through the town of Lasko where the brewery for the best Slovenian beer is made. This whole region is a massive hops plantation and km after km of hops are growing for as far as you can see.
Our lunch spot: PZA Castle Sevnica – GPS 46.008820N 15.314930E
The municipality here has provided gratis motorhome parking with full facilities including electricity and only asks that you spend some money in the township in return.
Only about 100 metres from the castle, it has views across the town, valley and beautiful river below and would be an ideal place to stay for one or more nights.
Visited the castle which rests in the heart of some amazing grounds of gigantic trees and flowering shrubs whilst down the hillside there are tiered grape vines. The entry area has a bar cafe and tourist office with many maps of the district available. The centre courtyard is a mass of colour with the three level walls of the castle surrounding the courtyard.
Our campsite for tonight: Parking Vrbje, Vrbje – GPS 46.240849N 15.154000E
Another wonderful venture by the local municipality where there are 4 free parking dedicated motorhome spots with full facilities to be used on a “user pay basis” – for next to nothing.
The setting is adjacent to parkland and at the entrance to a nature reserve which is a forest surrounding a Lake fed by the Savinja River. There are magic walking tracks and bike tracks around the lake and is a very popular spot for the locals to walk and ride.
We found some more unusual tree trunk art along the way – some of it just so clever. Really worth the walk or ride around as it is so green and peaceful with only the sounds of the river and birds keeping us company.
Met a British couple who told us about a bistro and cafe bar not far away so as it was the drivers turn to cook, headed in that direction only to find that the meaning of bistro is not the same as at home and served only drinks.
Returned back to Ziggy to find the four spots available taken up with five motorhomes. Two Slovenian, one French and one Brit and ourselves. Quickly befriended the two Slovenian motorhomers who bought over their pear brandy to try – wow, certainly took the breath away but was so good.
After receiving a bit of local knowledge, Davorin, Mojca, Darko and Veruska and their little white fluffy dog Lunar, took us for a 2 km walk into the town of Zalec. In the centre of town they have built a square with the feature being a beer fountain which is open until 9pm.
You purchase a special designer beer glass designed by Oscar Kogoj and then start a beer tasting of 6 local boutique beers. Our friends would not let us purchase the glasses and wanted us to have a souvenir of Slovenia and something to remember them by – how wonderful was that.
There are seven fountain dispensers, one for glass cleaning and the other six for the beers. We arrived at 8.30pm so only had half an hour to complete the task. Just enough time as we had just filled the last glass when the fountains automatically shut down and disappeared below the surface. There is a stick on labelled code at the bottom of the glass which counts the number of samples you have had.
Another 2kms back home and then the party began. More of that clear pear brandy brew came out as well as beers and a few platters of snacks (inc some which were raw meat)- guess the driver owes me another meal.
Saturday 12th May
The Driver was a little worse for wear as he tried to keep up with our Slovenian friends while the navigator changed to coffee on return from the beer fountain.
Such lovely young people. We had so much fun yesterday (shame the French and British couple did not want to join us) but now it was time to say another goodbye to some more people who have made our trip so special and will always be remembered.
All other Mohos left early but we stayed on until after lunch.
Our campsite for tonight: Gostilna Koblarjev Zaliv, Maribor. – GPS 46.565559N 15.619740E
Didn’t realise until we arrived, that we had spent a night here in April on our way down toward Croatia but as we had such a great meal and night last time, we stayed again.
This peaceful and quiet campsite is at a tavern set on a lake with bike and walking trails going for miles.
We were lucky enough to join in on a Slovenian wedding at the tavern which lasted well into the evening. The food again was so great and inexpensive and the band played some traditional and modern music (though it was interesting listening to a Slovenian version of “Let’s twist again – like we did last summer”.
What a way to finish our last night in Slovenia.
Great country, great people, great food and drink – would definitely visit a third time