Thursday, 14 June – Today’s walk would be with Luka again. We drove to Lake Bohinj (bo-hinge) for the walk along the impressive Mostnica gorge, through the meadows of the Voje valley and up to the beautiful Slap Voje (or Voje waterfall).
The area has been permanently settled since the early Iron Age (8th century BC) because of its iron ore deposits. The iron-making tradition in Bohinj lasted from the Iron Age through Roman times and to the end of the Middle Ages in the 16th century.
From the parking area, we walked along a path, across a meadow, and soon came to the single-arched, stone Hudičev most or “Devil’s Bridge”. Here, 20 m (65 ft) down below us, between very narrow vertical walls, rushes the crystal-clear turquoise water of the Alpine Mostnica River. It is a mountain stream, that originates at the end of the glacial, Alpine Voje valley in Triglavskem narodnem parku or the Triglav National Park. Over the millennia, the water has carved extraordinary rock shapes, pools and gorges, over the 2 k (1.25 mi) route through the sandstone.
In places, the path diverges from the river, though the murmurings of the flowing waters are never far away. In other places, where the Mostnica Glacier cut terraces, the river widens slightly and becomes a bit shallow.
As we entered the idyllic Voje valley the river moved away from our path. The flat valley was surrounded by steep mountains, and was filled with flowered meadows and a few traditionally-styled holiday houses. We were amazed at the varieties of beautiful flowers, butterflies, and other insects.
After viewing the 21 m (69 ft) Slap Voje or Voje waterfall, we worked our way back for a picnic at a nearby Alpine hut. The return hike to the trailhead appeared easier but our legs begged to differ. It felt good to get back in the van and sit for a spell.
We made a brief stop to admire Lake Bohinj, Slovenia’s largest lake. An old Bohinj legend goes that the lake holds enough water to fill a bucket, if the bucket is large enough. After a short stroll, we got back in the van and settled in for the return to Pri Lenart
On our return, we had to begin packing for our departure tomorrow afternoon. The unhappy thought of leaving this place was tempered by another great evening of dinner and conversation with our hiking companions and hosts.
Friday, 15 June – After breakfast we made our final photos of Luka and Zana at their beautiful Pri Lenart. While Luka loaded our bags, we said goodbye to Zana, and then he drove us down to where we would begin the walk with Urska as our guide.
The first hour of walking was all uphill (of course), through beech woods and open meadows to the scenic mountain-top church at Bukov Vrh, with its panoramic 360% views. Through the day we would see this church in the distance from several perspectives as this was a circular route. We stopped for lunch at a local farm where Janet bought some locally-famous moisturizing cream made by the owner from beeswax and honey produced there.
The rest of the route was equally beautiful and gradual as it led downhill all the way back to the trailhead. Back at the bottom, we met Luka who transferred our luggage to Urska’s car and we said our fond farewells to Janet and Paul who would be returning to Pri Lenart for one more night.
It had been arranged that Urska would then drive us to our B&B in Ljubljana. The coordination on this entire week’s adventure was excellent. They all truly love what they are doing and it made for a fantastic walking holiday.
We experienced some traffic driving back into Ljubljana, but it wasn’t bad. The B&B owner was waiting for us at our lodgings, and guided us up the two flights of stairs with our luggage. Our room was small, but pleasant. It had a tiny kitchenette with all of the basics for breakfast. We briefly settled things in then went out for a last night in this lovely city.
The temperature was rather warm, though not unexpected for mid-June. We were getting hungry as we walked through the “Odprta kuhna” or Open Kitchen, but we decided we didn’t want to sit in the heat eating street food. So we wandered further, finally stopping at a small restaurant where we sat inside at a table with an open window to the pedestrian street. There we could observe the outside diners and the tourists walking by on the cobbled street yet we still had a quiet spot to enjoy our delicious dinners.
As we strolled about after dinner, we came across a stage being set up for various shows, we only caught the very end of a musical group, but next was to be a poetry reading in the original Slovene language that we didn’t wait for. We wandered about some more along the medieval streets, then made our way back to our B&B to turn in for the evening.
Saturday, June 16 – The early sunrise was all that was needed to wake us up to get packed. We had time before meeting our shuttle, so we went out to a café for a ham and cheese toastie, and coffee. On returning to our room we took our luggage out to wait for our GoOpti ( an excellent Slovene shuttle service) pick-up. The van arrived on time with two others travelers already in the van. We loaded our luggage, and on request, he let Jeannie sit in the front seat (think he has dealt with people who can have motion sickness). As we drove out of Ljubljana we picked up other passengers.
By the time all of the other passengers had been dropped off at their destinations, we were the last passengers on board. As we made our way the last 4km to the border crossing into Croatia, all traffic came to a slow crawl. Our passports were stamped as we exited Slovenia and then again as we entered Croatia. Yay, 2 more stamps in the passports!
Once in the Croatian port town of Poreč, our taxi driver made his way down to the docks, and dropped us near where our ship, the 49 m (160 ft) MS Stella Maris was moored. The next leg of our adventure would again be on the water. We rolled our luggage up to the gangway where a young crew member took it into the ship. We provided our name, signed in, were given our cabin number and were taken to cabin #4 as they brought our luggage in. Excited to wander this ancient Roman port town of Poreč, we dropped our backpacks and left the ship to explore the town.