Sometimes Things Just Work Out

By Jane Mountain | May 4, 2013

1352 km so far.

Not every day is full of surprises like yesterday was. Sometimes, things just go according to plan.

This morning we got up bright and early and availed ourselves of the included breakfast at Hotel Kovac. It was a continental buffet, with tasty tiny turnovers, yogurt, fruit, good coffee, and even pancakes. We had a quick look around the adventure park out back – which had a zip line, an obstacle course about 50 ft off the ground, and a large ramp with a human-sized ball, which we could only guess was for climbing inside and rolling down. Yikes. We were glad it wasn’t on our agenda.

Much more our speed was the spa, completely unlike the Croatian spa we visited the other day. This one was very modern and it looked like a lovely place to spend the day.

guest house in slovenia

The Apartmani Janes. Of course we stayed there.

Tempted though we were, we’d already spent more than enough money at Simoni’s place, so we opted for the bikes once again.

Our newfound friends from yesterday had recommended that we take the Croatian route to Postojna, and after mapping the elevation we heartily agreed. The Slovene route would have treated us to a 700 m climb in one go, a 2,400 m climb for the day. By going back through Croatia, it would only be a 600 m climb in one go, 1500 m for the whole ride.

Only. Ha.

The Hill That Keeps On Giving

After a little twisting along the Kolpa river, we crossed back into Croatia at a small border crossing.

This is not the border crossing we used.

This is not the border crossing we used.

We get the feeling people go back and forth a lot here, and we saw lots of Croatian cars on the Slovenia side and vice versa. Before long, we were at the base of our climb for the day. Knowing that it was coming, we stopped and plugged in our headphones for the upward push.

old billboards used as roofing material slovenia

This Croatian town found all sorts of smart uses for old billboards.

This is the second biggest hill we’ve done on the trip, the biggest having been the unexpected hill yesterday. The sad thing is, even if you know something is going to be hard, it will still be hard.

So we climbed. And we rested. And then we climbed some more. Switchback after switchback came and went and still we were climbing. More than once, just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep going, a new song gave me the power to keep climbing.

Today’s big heroes in my ears were The Blow and The Beastie Boys.

Finally, we were at the top. But only of the first big hill. There was one more to come.

At the real top, there is a plateau of sorts, where some small villages line the roads. We rode up and down past these villages and finally we were on the descent. Just before the border crossing back into Slovenia, at the bottom of the hill, there is one last village.

A tough-looking guy in his mid 20s raised his fist to me in a sign of power and respect as we passed. He knew there was only one way to get here, and he was offering me a little salute.

Searching For Krishna

After the border crossing we discussed where to get lunch. Markets seem to be few and far between in Slovenia so far, so we were a little worried, since our food supplies had all but run out. We hoped to see a market soon, and in no time a small market appeared.

Sometimes things just go right.

We stocked up on bread, a can of beans, a tomato, and some drinks and then cycled on to search for a good roadside eating area. About 500m down the road, we spotted a picnic table in the shadow of the church.

Perfect picnic spot.

Perfect picnic spot.

Sometimes things just go right.

Ever since we figured out that vegan sandwiches are delicious with a bean paté, we’ve been buying canned beans before each lunch stop. We mash them and add whatever we have with us – onion, leek, salt, oil, walnuts… it might sound weird, but it’s actually delicious. We plan to popularise the bean pate sandwich around the world.

After lunch, we had yet another climb out of the pleasant valley we’d been enjoying. On my map, we could see that we were approaching Krizna Jama, which we took to mean Krishna’s Cave. Stephen was particularly intrigued, and though it was getting late and thunder was starting to boom in the distance, we decided to go have a look.

beer tree in slovenia

A beer tree!

We pushed off the main road and twisted down a dirt track for a couple of kilometres. There were a few people milling about, but no sign of anyone working there, or any hope of actually getting inside the cave.

Well, you can’t expect everything to go right.

When we discovered that Krizna Jama means Cross Cave, and has nothing to do with Krishna, Stephen lost interest. So we pedalled back up to the main road and continued on our way.

Gourmet Vegan Camp Food

About 20 km outside of Postonja, our destination for the night, we spotted a hypermarket and decided this might be our last best chance for dinner food. This is the first big market we’ve seen in Slovenia and we were in heaven. They have a full assortment of vegan foods: seitan, tofu, veggie burgers, soy milk, and, most importantly, vegan ice cream bars. We stocked up on all of these. We also bought the ingredients to make our own muesli: oats, walnuts, apricots, and raisins.

Sometimes things just go right.

Our food bag was as full as it could get (and as heavy) as we rode the last 20 km. But it was all worth it. We had vegan burgers for dinner, on olive ciabatta, with a side of grain mustard mashed potatoes. Well done Stephen. Our best camp meal yet!

Soundtrack: Wilco, Summerteeth | Bob Marley and the Wailers, Kaya | Wilco, Kicking Television | Billy Idol, Greatest Hits  

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  1. Comment by Graeme Kirby

    Graeme Kirby May 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Your blogs are delightful.

    Susan and I have seldom done free biking tours, (we did several in Switzerland), but our country visits, even though by car, have usually been completely open, and entailed finding accommodation wherever we were and staying as long as it was interesting.

    I envy you both for doing what you are doing and at the age at which you are doing it.

    Good luck, have interesting adventures, very minor setbacks and thoroughly enjoy every day. What memories! My best wishes to you both.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane May 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks Graeme. I try to remember on the bad days just how lucky we are. And every day when we can have an extra coffee, treat ourselves to pastry, or book into a hotel when it’s raining, I truly appreciate the little extra money we have that allows us to do these things. The comfort level is so much higher than when we were broke students backpacking around Europe – and the enjoyment level is greater because of it!

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