Various places, 2009

Our very experienced designated driver wasn't very experienced on the other side of the road. Within an hour of getting the car, he had crashed the right wing mirror twice and on the second time shattered it.

Good thing I had electrical tape and an elastic band in my backpack. We folded the mirror in and acted as if nothing happened. Later during the trip, one of our hosts would tell us that the traffic police won't bother with a broken mirror.

Rowing in the rain

Having arrived in Bled we went out to the lake for a bit of rowing, but not after making an adventure of parking-space hunting. We took the easy route to the island, with BC rowing. The hard way was swimming there, which we saw a group of men doing.

On the way back, we let IM give the rowing a go but she gave up before she could get started. Heavy grey clouds threatened rain as I took over and sure enough, once I got far enough away from the island to make it too bothersome to row back, it began to pour. In the rain and wind and currents I could hardly move the boat, let alone go in a straight line. The passengers could do nothing but watch my slow progress and get wet. And shout instructions, of course.

"Go left!"
"Stop going left!"
"Go straight!"

We returned the boat nearly half an hour late. We offered to pay more but the owner refused to take it. We ran to the nearest shelter and waited for it all to abate. As we were standing there, we saw the boat owner rowing another boat - abandoned by other renters, possibly - back to the rental point. He made rowing in the rain look easy.

Kurej and kure

Marti from Apartment Preseren said we could go to Kurej for dinner. This was an excellent recommendation. We met the swimmers - who were also bikers - at the restaurant. The chef came out later as we were finishing up our meal and offered us some local schnapps distilled in a neighbouring village. The women's version was "sweet" and the men's version was "made with 48 spices", he told us. The tradition could be traced back to 1856. He then got us two miniature wooden boards in the shape of the restaurant logo (a chicken) with 'Kurej' carved into it. He told us the story behind the name and logo.

Chef: 'Kurej' is just a name but 'kure' means chicken.

He then showed us a map of Slovenia - the shape of a chicken!

Into the mountains

The next day we set off for Vintgar Gorge before doing the 'scenic route'. The gorge was supposed to be 4km from our apartment but Miss Garmin took us to a different entry point, in Blejska Dobrava, which was more like 8km away. Moreover, we had to walk another 15 minutes to get to the actual entrance. We had a good time in the gorge though.

Our scenic drive then began in earnest. We got off to a bad start, making several wrong turns before paying €6.50 to go through an 8km long tunnel which we didn't want to take. Eventually I got us back on track, to Kranjska Gora, Jasna Lake and then the Russian Chapel (Ruska Kapelica). From there on, we climbed a series of "corkscrew turns", as Lonely Planet put it, up to the Vrsic Pass, followed by a steep descent. There were more bends to come and we did not make it to Bohinj until well after it got dark.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast!

An Englishwoman, Kelly (who was the proprietor), checked us in at Penzion Gasperin B&B. We found out later on that she'd been living in Slovenia for nine years. For breakfast, there was the usual continental fare, but you got to choose how your eggs were done - a rare thing on the continent which I was grateful for.

We rented bicycles from the B&B, intending to cycle to Slap Savica (the waterfall) and around the lake. We ended up going up and down the short side of the lake and doing a bit of canoeing. In the evening we returned the cycles and took the car up to Slap Savica. We were too late - it had closed at 7pm. There was a back entrance still open for people coming out so I went in, asking the rest to follow. It was only a 20-minute climb anyway, if the sign was to be believed. In the end it took more than 20 minutes but we not only managed to see the waterfall but also avoided paying the €3 charge.

More eggs in the morning before the drive to Ljubljana, where we spent three hours walking around town, much of which was under construction. It was then time to head to the airport. A few more days would have made our trip even more enjoyable, I suspect.

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