Leaving Slovenia was hard.
Despite more rain than I’ve seen for the year to date, Slovenia is a stunningly beautiful country.
It’s small, heavily forested, lightly populated, and green, oh so green.
It feels ancient, and yet bang up to date.
A bar might be full of old boys in from a hard day in the fields, but they’ll have iPhones using high speed internet to check out whatever they need to know.
Although staying so long that roots might begin to grow was desperately tempting, we have to remember that this is but a short foray. We have already established that we live in the most beautiful place imaginable – St Just in the far west of Cornwall. But this place, on the edge of the Triglav National Park, gives home a hard run for its money.
Our route north was through the Loibl Pass where tunnelling under the mountain started in the 1500s, although we have the Nazis to thank for today’s easy route through the peaks.
It was the site of a German concentration camp, marked by a poignant memorial today that we glimpsed on our drive. It’s on the list to visit when time is on our side.
The Slovenian side is relatively easy, the Austrian, despite being wider, better made, is slippery, bendy, and a challenge as the Porsches and Beemers rush past on bends that have ArchieVan clinging on with every bit of grip he can muster.
Our route is determined by getting from one green lined (scenic) road to the next. We’re now using a mix of Google Maps and real map reading. Other than getting snarled up in Klagenfort which seemed one big traffic jam, the strategy has served us well.
Who cares about the rain? With scenery like this every day is a beautiful day.
I’m convinced that the rain has less of a depressing effect in the van, I guess it’s being above the worst of the spray.
We were headed for Judenburg, and somewhere around there we fired up the Park4night app which recommended the site at Spielberg, just outside of Knittelfeld.
What a gift!
After winding ArchieVan through residential streets avoiding kittens and rolling kids balls we cross a narrow concrete bridge to arrive at the wonderful Camping Murinsel, easily the best site of the trip so far.
What makes it so good?
Well, for a start the whole place is generously spread around a lake with huge fish, free swimming, and you can even catch the fish if you happen to have one of those pole and string affairs.
And then there’s the great restaurant where, over two nights, we ate good schnitzel, goulash, and pasta, washed down with fine beers at a reasonable price.
Then there were the facilities.
Camp sites usually have rudimental facilities, a loo, a shower of some sort. This place had better bathrooms than most friends’ houses I’ve stayed at en route. And no push button luke warm shower either.
Everything was included in the admittedly higher than usual price – so we stayed two nights. Ace.
A quick visit to a monastery for the Sunday service at Seckau Abbey (really) and then to a bakery cafe (the only thing open on Sundays) for the best cakes and coffee.
Gmunden on Traunsee.
More following of green lined routes took us to a car park on the edge of Gmunden, the main town on the Traunsee lake.
How romantic can a car park be?
Well, it offers free camper / motorhome parking. There are super clean public loos at 50 cents a visit, it’s on the lake side, and the town is pretty special too. So all in all a great base. Especially when….
Especially when you go to Spies restaurant for a couple of beers, and then book a table to go back for dinner.
This restaurant is a place that takes you back in time.
Low lighting. Secret booths. Smoking allowed!
And great wholesome food. We speculated on who was there with their wives, versus who was with their lovers. We tucked into fish fresh from the lake, and apparently reindeer sausage.
The slept like logs. In the car park!
18th September – Minty’s birthday!
Oh she’s a lucky girl. So many girls I know would love to wake in a car park.
And as we wander into town to the bakery for breakfast the sun finally puts in a show.
After Traunsee we travel more green en route for Germany’s Chiemsee, and then on to Bad Endorf where we check into the lovely Seeblick Hotel for a proper birthday feast and hopefully a bed that’s even better than ArchieVan’s.
Music: today’s standout track, among many beauties, had to be:
Anthem – Leonard Cohen. Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in