After my night on the harbour front in Trieste I moved back to the free Sosta in town for one final night. I was getting itchy feet to move on and had decided the following day I would cross into Slovenia.
At the border I bought a vignette for a week which cost €15.00 and would allow me to use Slovenia’s motorways. The monthly vignette costs €40.00 and I will most likely have to buy one of these in August as I have guests coming over to hike in the Julian Alps and then afterwards if I visit Croatia I will need to re-enter Slovenia to get back to Northern Italy for mid September.
As I had come from Trieste the first signs I came across were for Lipica which is where the world famous Lipizzaner horses are bred. I did not stop to see them but hope to at a later date. Next I drove through Postojna which is famous for its amazing caves. Since I will be visiting them in August with friends I decided not to stop for them but I did stop to check out a Motorhome Aires I had heard about. I was a little surprised to see it cost €15.00! This came as shock after so many nights free in Italy. Such places charge by the vehicle and not by the person so even those that do charge can still be economical if you are a large party but since I was alone I decided to drive on to Bled where I knew I could get a 5 star campsite for the same money including electricity and wifi which proved to be pathetically slow as to be almost unusable.
Since Slovenia is such a small country it was not long before I had arrived at Camping Bled. Being high season they did not have a numbered pitch for me but they advised I could park anywhere in one of the un-numbered areas where generally the tents seem to pitch. I found somewhere suitable as luck would have it I happened to be pitched next to a couple of lads from Harrogate with their tent and an Australian couple who were doing a European tour in a hired Wicked Campers van complete with Nightmare on Elm Street paint job. I got chatting to them and it seems they had been living in London for 2 years and were doing this tour, then visiting Africa before returning to Melbourne. Then later in the day a Scottish guy called Kev who lived in Devon who came to say hello after seeing the Scottish flags on my motorhome. After explaining that the previous owner was Scottish I got to meet his wife Jo and kids Isabel, Katy and Gus, had a brief tour of their CI 656 and sat drinking their Ouzo whilst swapping stories about our respective tours and life in general. They had been touring since February and had largely loved the experience with the possible exception of being broken into just outside Seville. If you want to read more about their adventure why not visit their blog, http://kevnicholson.wordpress.com/ which I can thoroughly recommend. Around midnight I went to bed thinking how enjoyable it had been to chat to other English speakers. I normally have no problem being on my own but it had been days since I had spoken to anyone and I realised how much we all need basic human interaction. It also made me realise how trying to get a permanent touring partner was the right decision and how I was looking forward to Joy joining me.
On Thursday morning I met a couple from the north of Belgium who were camping next to me. They were both teachers, he a physical education teacher and she a theology teacher and they were taking advantage of the long school holidays, having driven through Germany before arriving in Slovenia. I decided to check my emails using the free wifi and Joy had sent a message indicating she would most likely be flying into London Gatwick on either the 28th or 29th August. I replied with some possible onward flights to Croatia that she could look at that also left Gatwick and then I went for a walk around Lake Bled, taking some photographs of the famous island. I also found a Geocache at the castle on the far side of the lake where I met a couple from North Wales who were also looking for it. They mentioned that the following evening there would be a fireworks display at the lake and that on Saturday they would be releasing thousands of candles onto the lake. It seems both events are highlights here and so I might stick around a little longer to witness them. Having found the Geocache I was a little dirty and sweaty and returned to the campsite for lunch and my 2nd shower of the day.
In the late afternoon as the sun was getting low I went for another walk up a local hill to get an aerial view of the island. The ascent was hard work in the heat and by the time I returned I needed my third shower of the day!