Tuesday, July 28.
Up early and collected at 8.00 am. Two young English boys from Bristol jumped onboard as well. Headed to bus station to collect two more people who were coming fro Ljubljana. Driver told us that two people had pulled out so we would only be six. There were six other groups though leaving from different places. Collected two Irish girls from County Cork at the bus station and headed off on our adventure.
Took about half an hour to travel to Kranjska Agora, where we stopped beside a man made lake to look at the Golden Horned Goat. He is a mythological creature who had golden horns, gave wealth to all and looked after the animals. Was unable to see the top of the highest mountain in Slovenia, Mt Trilav, 2,864 metres, due to low cloud.
Pushed on into the Julian Alps, named after Julius Caeser, with Slovenia one side and Austria the other, and began the climb up the Vrec Pass. This involves 26 switchbacks going up and 24 going down the other side. The road was built by 10,000 Russian prisoners of war in 1915, during WWI, and is known as the Russian Road. During the construction, an earthquake killed 3,000 prisoners. The only Russian Orthodox Church in Slovenia is built about half way up the pass to commemorate those who lost their lives along with the mass grave cemetery.
Last Sunday was 100 years since the earthquake and the Russian President came for the rememberance ceremony.
Arriving at the top of the pass we stopped for a short walk to view the rock formation called, the Pagen Girl, but unfortunately she was shy today and covered in cloud.
Back onboard and motored down the other side, which goes into Austria and then back into Slovenia. Stopped at the bottom where the road crossed over the river in a canyon. The colours in the water were amazing and the fish were plentiful.
On towards Bivec where we had a short lunch break. Following lunch we headed to Kobarid on the Soca for our white water adventure. We were given wet suits, rubber shoes waterproof over jackets, life vests and bone domes. This looked serious.
NOTE . Will upload rafting photos when I receive them from Dropbox.
Following our safety briefing by our Hungarian guide, Sebastion, we boarded our raft for our adventure. After explaining a few basics in still water, we set off. Starting with gentle grade 2 rapids and building up to grade 3 and 4’s. It was exhilarating. Part way along we stopped at a large rock and we all climbed out.
Sebastion turned the raft over and dragged it part way up the rock to make a slide. Yes we had to slide, jump or run down the upturned raft into the water. At this stage I said to myself, you are nearly 62, but what the heck. It was fun, and the water was cold only for a minute, once the wetsuit stabilized the water temperature inside the suit. Someone I know had five slides to my three. For someone who does not like getting wet!!
Back into the raft and continued on down more rapids and metre drops until we reached a drop called the banana, so named as that is what the raft does as you go over it. The drop is about three metres, and when the nose hits the bottom, the tails comes over to meet it. Very cosey with nine people on board. Further on we stopped at a rock in the middle of the river, which was ten metres high, and the brave ones, or fools were given the chance to jump of into fifteen metres of water. Not brave or a fool.
Finally arrived at the bottom after one and a half hours of pure fun. Hard part, carrying the raft up the river bank to the trailers. Changed and jumped in van for trip to the train, via a swinging bridge and a cave waterfall.
When we arrived at the train, our driver handed round rehydration containers, which were gladly received. On closer inspection if the train we noticed that there was an engine, one passenger carriage and a number of flat beds that the vehicles were to drive into. My maths told me that with around 200 people they were not all going to fit into the passenger carriage. It was then that we discovered that we would ride, in the vehicles, on the flat beds.😳😳😳😳 more rehydration please!
Vehicles were loaded, and we climbed into the van for our half an hour train ride. This is where it got funny. All the signals and track switches are manually operated, and the engine was at the wrong end of the train. Do we shunted past the signal box where the signalman switched the tracks. The engine was unhooked and motored past the train to the other signal box six hundred metres away. Next we see the signalman on a push bike peddling like crazy to the other signal box to switch the tracks for the engine to join the front of the train. All this because this is the only train that carries vehicles through the mountain, and all other trains go straight through. It was very comical to watch the proceedings. No one to direct vehicles onto the train, drivers lifted the side ramps up once everyone was on, and all done with a minimum of fuss. This achieved, we began to move forward with a little trepidation as we noticed that the vehicles were not tied down.😳😳
The reason for using the train as it takes over an hour by road and half an hour on the train, as it goes through the mountain via a number of tunnels, the longest being 6.5 kms long. It was a strange feeling, rehydrating, sitting in a van, on a train going through a mountain. Not an experience we will forget.
Arrived at Bohinjska Bistrica, drove off the train and headed to the largest lake in Slovenia, Lake Bohnij and stopped at Ribcev Laz at the eastern end, where we recorded some great sunset photos. Prominent near the water was the church of John the Baptist.
Leaving the lake we headed back to Bled, arriving at 8.00 pm, after a thoroughly enjoyable day. Driver dropped us off at camp, deposited our bits and headed to the restaurant for a well deserved dinner after which we retired to Myrtle.