2018/05/09 – Slovenia – Beer Fountain in a Town Square

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. 

Late afternoon at Dolenjske Toplice

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.

Beautiful setting at Dolenjske Toplice

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.

Ziggy parked up for the night

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.

Late afternoon in Kostanjevica na Krki 

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. 

Great work by the local authority – even signage in 4 languages – with free overnight, electricity, WiFi etc – wake up Australian local authorities

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.

View from Sevnica Castle

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.

One of the many tree trunk art works

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. 

Zalec beer fountain with our wonderful hosts Davorin, Mojca, Darko and Veruska 

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.

Our overnight at Maribor

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

2018/04/14 – Goodbye Slovenia


Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th April

After leaving Lubjljana with a sigh of relief, we travelled through beautiful valleys and saw many snow capped mountains still open for skiing.

Our first stop was the touristy Bled Lake.  A stunning huge lake with a small castle on an island in the middle.  Bled Castle sits on a sheer rock face high above the lake and the township. 

Bled Castle

After parking in town (parking meters everywhere) took the long hike up the hill (there is paid parking at the top at €3.00 per hour).  Busloads of Asians and tourists everywhere.  Far from our favourite castle as it has been renovated and is somewhere between old and new and set up as a museum inside.  We don’t think it is worth the effort to go inside the castle, though would go to the top just to see the panoramic view across the lake.

Another Bled icon in the middle of the lake

Tried to find a place to stay overnight around the lake but most refused to take motorhomes even though they had signs up saying motorhomes were allowed and displaying their fees which were 4 times the price of cars – they said motorhomes took up too much room – very unfriendly area for motorhomes particularly on weekends.  Frustrated we headed out of town into the countryside.  The dedicated camping parks of course available at a huge cost.

Our campsite for two nights:  Dovzan Gorge, near Trzic- GPS 46.3789N   14.3245E

Only a couple kms past the small village of Trzic we found our ultimate dream spot sitting right in the middle of Dovzan Gorge.   Set on a level gravel patch this parking spot (takes about 8 motorhomes) was right beside the clear crystal waters of a mountain stream in full flow with waterfalls cascading down the valley.  The water was so fresh we filled our tanks. 

Our overnight view from Ziggy

Spent two quiet relaxing days walking through the Gorge and staying away from the weekend crowds in the Bled area. 

Navigator and Driver setting off on a hike through the Dovzan Gorge

The locals have provided this magic spot at no cost and are trying to encourage tourists to come here.  Give it ten stars if you don’t need services except water – just breathtaking.

Some of the series of linked tunnels we encountered on the hike through the Gorge

Monday 16th April

On the return journey on the other side of Trzic, we found a dedicated motorhome area overlooking the beautiful town, which provided all services and couldn’t find a pay station so would be free – they are definitely looking to attract tourists.

We didn’t stay here and moved on toward Lake Bohinj.  Another stunning lake and the scenery was like everywhere – just stunning.  Towards the end of the lake, there is the Triglav National Park which is the home to the Bohinj Waterfall.  

Waterfall at Lake Bohinj

A very steep climb up with 20 minutes of steps all the way (as usual) rewarded us with a spectacular view and thunderous noise and water spray of the falls.  Really worth the effort.

Could not stay overnight here in the national park so headed down into the valley.

Our campsite for tonight:  Bohinjska Bistrica – GPS 46.276161N  13.958880E

A  very unusual spot for motorhomes only, set beside a railway line above the town with views across to the snow capped mountains and valleys.  Only heard the car train a couple of times during the day but very quiet at night.   Normally a cost of around €10 but free off season.

Our early morning view on awakening at Bohinjska Bistrica

Tuesday 17th April

Woke up to another beautiful day where the church below appeared to be sitting on a low cloud and with this in the foreground and the snow capped mountains in the background – was awesome.

Our campsite for tonight:  Veri Krajnik, Idrija – GPS 45.998623N   14.025956E- address:  Carl Jakoba 9, Idrija

10€ incl all services and Internet.  This is a private property that can take 3 easily and up to 5 Mohos at a pinch.  Best to phone first to check on availability 00386 41 725 262 as it is a very narrow, steep and windy road.  Veri, the owner, speaks excellent English and some German and spent some time providing information about this UNESCO world heritage town.

He drove us down into town and showed us where some of the sights we needed to visit were and also a shortcut back up the hill for the way home.

This town is the home to the 2nd largest Mercury mine in the world.  It officially closed down in 2007 and is now open for tourists only. 

No that is not the Navigator drilling in the mine

Very interesting walk down into and through the mine and the guide provided excellent information.  Another 200 steps – more punishment to these old legs but really worth it.

The Navigator with our guide inside the Chapel in the mercury mine

The town produces some of the finest lace in Slovenia and many shops proudly display their wares. 

Spent time in one of the many squares with a pint before making our way up the hill back home.  Had to stop a couple of times to catch our breath as it is quite a hike.

The views from this campspot again are across the mountains, valleys and the village below and at night we enjoyed just a coffee whole overlooking the towns lights below.

Wednesday 18th April

Veri was disappointed we did not want to stay on longer and said he would be our guide for today if we wanted to stay on.  Our vignette runs out tomorrow so we are keen to make it across the Croatian border on Thursday.

Our visit to the Skocjan Caves, another UNESCO site, is situated not far from the town of Divaca.  This was just one of the many highlights of our trip through Slovenia.  It comprises numerous caves and passages, natural bridges and sink holes.   This is a 1.5 hour walk through the caves where the centre cave is the largest we have ever seen.  Thunderous mountain streams and waterfalls fall at the bottom of the cavern.   Just awesome walking along the well lit paths and one could be reminded of Jules Verne’s – A journey to the Centre of the Earth. 

That is the exit from the caves – unfortunately photography was prohibited inside the caves

Another 500 + steps, though not all at once, was just what we needed, but the experience was one we were pleased we did not miss.  Photography in the caves was sadly not permitted.

Our campsite for tonight:  Park Military History, Pivka – GPS 45.668610N  14.190080E

This is a Super motorhome spot supplied for all by the Park of Military History.  For €10 with all services including electricity and great Wifi as well as one ticket to the museum, it rates highly as one of the better spots.  The pitches are on level bitumen, well lit, security cameras and a view across the valley below as a bonus.

We arrived in time to register at the museum reception but the museum itself closed at 3pm so will visit it tomorrow.  Wanted to eat at the cafeteria which gets wonderful ratings but it was booked out by a large group and is generally not open after museum hours.

Thursday 19th April

The museum features many tanks, planes etc from the second world war but also has a large section on the “Road to Independence” which presents the process of gaining independence in the Republic of Slovenia with an emphasis on the independence war of 1991.

A very small part of the exhibition area


2018/04/11 – Slovenia


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.

Our hike came to an end when we encountered a river and a punt

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.

Slovenian countryside

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.

One of the dozens of quaint villages encountered on the back roads

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.

Inside the Union Brewery restaurant – the sign reads “One beer please”

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.