While my parents don’t appreciate the fact that I’m being a cheapskate traveller and hitchhiking around, it’s a lot of fun and a common way to travel here. The next part of my time in Slovenia was more about hitchhiking than seeing new places and within four days I had been in about 18 different cars! Here’s how it went…
Friday: Koper to Zelezniki, northern Slovenia
Koper – Ljubljana €5 rideshare with a bleached blonde woman who drove much too fast.
Ljubljana – a roundabout in our direction Three guys picked us up and drove us about 10pm further along the road. They left us at a lonely bus stop while night set in and church bells tolled over the fields.
Roundabout – Skofja Loka Luckily a young woman stopped for us when she saw me jumping up and down with my torch next to the road. She spoke fluent Spanish which she had learnt from tele novellas.
SK – Zelezniki Our home for the next few days was with a cs couple in this little village in the mountains. By then it was 10pm and no one was stopping for us so we phoned our host and he came to pick us up.
Saturday: Zelezniki to Bohinj and Bled lakes
Zelezniki – Kranj Vesna, our host, dropped us off at the bus stop in the village and we caught a ride to Kranj, two towns further along the road. The couple didn’t speak English but their puppy didn’t mind and enjoyed being petted.
Kranj – Bohinj The sky was grey and rain was forecast, but we decided to get to Lake Bohinj anyway. At the petrol station leading out of Kranj things weren’t looking good and we were just getting ready to walk to the bus station when a woman stopped for us. She was heading past Bohinj and offered to take us all the way. We said yes, and then it started to pour. Slovenians say that the rain has its offspring in Bohinj because it is the rainiest place in the country.
Bohinj – Bled Once in Bohinj we found a bakery and ate a tasty pastry while it continued to pour. After much waiting we decided to pack it in because a walk around the lake in the downpour would have been no fun at all. We stood on the steps of the church where the bus normally stops and Manu – for the first time – stuck out his thumb. And wonders, a Dutch couple with their son stopped for us. Manu rode in the boot, but they took us to Bled.
Bled – Kranj The rain didn’t let up in Bled to we checked the bus schedule, had a coffee and walked to the bus stop to try our luck, and wait for the bus if no one picked us up. It was looking dire again, but a few minutes before the bus was due to arrive an old local guy stopped for us. He is a pilot of small aircraft and showed us some videos of flights in gliders high above the Julian Alps.
Kranj – SK The old dude left us at a bus stop along the road to Skofja Loka and within five seconds another guy stopped for us and drove us to the bus stop in SK. The rain eased up there and we had a walk around the Medieval town.
SK – Zelezniki The last ride was also hard to catch but a local living in a village further up the mountains stopped for us and I sat among his groceries in the backseat.
Sunday: same route
Zelezniki – ski slope in the mountains The weather was better the next day and we really wanted to see the lakes so we did again. Izi, our host, was an angel and drove us along the winding mountain road, past villages dotted along the hills and higher and higher into the mountains before letting us off at a ski slope about 10km from Bohinj.
Slope – Bohinj This is a winding road with no place to stop and we walked for a good while. Manu decided to walk faster and ahead of me so people would think I was alone and stop (I’ll get to the hitching tricks). Finally a family stopped and made space in the backseat for me so Manu could join when we found him. Since the area is a small place they knew our hosts and were happy to drive us right to the lake.
Lake Bohinj is a marvel. The water is clear and icy and is a summer oasis framed by green, forested slopes. Manu and I picked a trail and walked high up to Sak Sahue, a waterfall gushing over the cliff and down through the dappled forest.
Lake Bohinj – Bled A local lady stopped for us and was very interested in the concept of couchsurfing. Manu explained it while I enjoyed the passing scenery.
Lake Bled is another special sight. A clifftop castle overlooks the huge lake in which there is a church built on a tiny island. It is something straight out of a fairytale.
Bled – SK Manu caught the next ride in no time and the guy who runs a climbing camp at Bohinj drove out of his way to leave us in SK. Such amazing people!
SK – Zelezniki A local from Zelezniki gave us a ride to the village to catch the end of the day’s festival. There was much polka and folk dancing.
Monday: Zelezniki to Rijeka, Croatia
SK – Ljubljana A groovy guy took us to the city.
Ljubljana – Postonja We organised another rideshare and drive with a lovely lady. And when she dropped us off outside town she wouldn’t take any payment. Can you say wonderful!
Postonja – a small town somewhere else Our spot outside Postonja was bad but luckily another lovely lady stopped for us and took us to a small town about 10km along the way.
Small town – Rijeka, Croatia Our last ride left us at the train station and after some useless luck trying to get a ride, we opted for the train. It was only €6. We couldn’t pay at the station, but no one came to check our tickets the whole journey so we got a train ride for free. All in all, getting to Croatia cost me €0,60 and only because I bought a chocolate treat!
Who said you need a lot of money to travel around Europe!