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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bovec, Slovenia – Aug. 14-20, 2012

More pictures here!

It was simply too hot to enjoy, but we will be back.  Slovenia, as I tweeted before, is the Colorado of Europe:  A rugged and mountainous space with happy, healthy people outside all the time.  Prior to our arrival in England, we had never heard of the country but on three separate occasions, when we asked a European where their favorite place was, they mentioned Slovenia and thus the tiny country made it to our list.  (The Aventura, if I haven’t mentioned it before, is all about visiting towns [and now countries] that we ordinarily wouldn’t have picked out as vacation spots from the comfort of a non-rolling home.)

Fortunately the snow was off the peaks as we drove through the valleys leading from Udine, Italy  through Kobarid and up to Bovec, otherwise we may have driven off the road the beauty was so intense.  If you can peel your eyes from the road, you will glimpse the aqua waters of the Soca River far below, the color of which cannot be believed; even my pictures look unreal to me now. 

However, we quickly learned that it is not a country built for caravanning:  Small, windy roads whose unprotected edges drop precipitously down the mountainside and ne’er a full-service (comfort) pitch to be found.  Indeed, most campgrounds we checked out, including the one that found room for us, Kamping Polovnek, had the smallest pitches imaginable (or, worse, no defined pitches at all) with matching small roads leading into them.  Salt and Pepper could barely fit down the access paths let alone park in most of the spaces. 

The campgrounds are filled with small RV’s (motorhomes) and tent-campers.  Multi-colored tents popped up side by side across the fields in Kamping Polovnek transforming the fields into psychedelic mushroom farms, no pun intended.  Being one of the largest outfits around, we crammed Salt between two trees and tried our best to enjoy the four feet directly in front of our door; the only “private” space we could garner.

In an effort to escape the stifling heat at camp we sought out higher elevation (yet another gondola ride although at half the price of Switzerland) and hiked to a point where, clinging to the sides of rock, you area able to gaze through a giant hole into Italy.  It was definitely cooler up there but still hot and the gondola ride back down was almost more than we could bear; with the sunshine streaming into the glass-enclosed bucket and only a small window to be opened it quickly became an oven. 

Despite three competitive tennis matches (SP is consistently winning now, but not without a fight) by far our best experience was the day we did the Bryant Soca River Tour and stopped at two of the pull-out spots on the (ahem) highway, walking down to the river.  It was deathly cold in the water, but it felt so good we all jumped in multiple times.

Between the heat and the lack of an in-pitch dumping site, we simply had to leave.  We couldn’t leave our tanks with anything in them for more than three days without Salt starting to smell (it was over 90 every day) and pulling in and out of the pitch to access the dump area was a nightmare.  As a friend of ours wrote we “need[ed] a vacation from our vacation.”  (Incidentally, we could have used the clean and functional facilities at the campground—and I did most of the time—but with the campground full to over-loading, that was not a pleasant experience either.)

SP had the great idea to go directly to the closest full-service pitch available but try as we might, we could not locate one in Slovenia.  The closest we found was in Austria, a short 100 KM drive, and thus Austria made it onto the Aventura list (although, unlike Slovenia, prior to this we may have been able to place Austria on a map.)  We landed at Camping Brunner in Dobriach, a small town on a gorgeous lake with temperatures in the low 80’s and a nice fresh breeze.  It was time to find some tonic, open the Mt. Gay Rum and start pouring those T&C’s! 

Nothing says vacation like a full-service pitch.