I was selected to be a part of an amazing experience put together by the Slovenian Tourist Board to highlight the diversity of Slovenia. Six cycling enthusiasts from six different countries (Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, UK and Australia) have been joined together to share this unforgettable journey to feel, taste, smell, hear and truly see Slovenia.
After a restful night at the Snovik Thermal Spa hotel, we were transferred to Postojnska cave. This is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Slovenia. It is well organised and it has easy access for all. Nearby is Predjama Castle, which is a spectacular castle set back in a cave. Two of us had to visit the castle instead of the cave so fellow ambassador Danielle and I opted to go. From a distance it looks impressive as it is perched up in the middle of a vertical cliff. It sits above a cave and it has underground tunnels which used to offer a refuge to a number of inhabitants.
In the afternoon, Petra and I visited the Slovenian coastline. Slovenia only has 46.6km of coast which meets the Adriatic sea, but it is really worth a visit. We met with our guide Grega from Hike & Bike, and he equipped us with mountain bikes. Our route started from just outside Koper and we followed an old train track, made into cycle path, all the way to Piran. We cycled through vineyards, orchards and old train tunnels which were a welcome cool down from the afternoon sun. We also took a dip in the sea where Petra used her thermometer to discover the sea was 26°C, it was like a bath!
The morning I had been so excited for… white water rafting on the Soča river! We met with our raft guide from Positive Sport and he kitted us up with wetsuit, jacket, helmet and buoyancy aid then transferred us to the river side. We jumped in our boat and spent the first half of the journey practicing paddling together and jumping into the emerald river. It was pretty cold, around 8°C. Your body starts to get used to the temperature and the raft guides set up an crazy raft slide to jump into the water. The second half of the raft adventure had some awesome, slightly scary rapids that were really exciting. At one point we crashed directly into a rock and actually got wedged on top of one! I don’t think our raft guide was too impressed at that as he to get out and push us off!
We had a lovely BBQ lunch at Kamp Koren then were transferred to Kranjska Gora. This is a cool little town in the mountains, which hosts the Red Bull Goni Pony event. We had no idea what we were actually doing but on arrival we were given brand new goni pony bikes and sent off to cycle up the Vršič Pass which has an elevation of 1611m with 24 hairpin bends to the top! I didn’t want to give up too easily and I made it to the fifth hairpin then I had to get off to walk as my leg muscles were burning. I finished it with a mixture of walking and cycling in 1 hour 43 minutes. I was pretty proud of myself as I’d never done any major passes before, never mind on a goni pony. I just wished I had my road bike with me!
Our final day of being a team of cycling ambassadors for Slovenia took us to the beautiful area of the Bohinj valley. We met Grega again from Hike & Bike, and he kitted us up with Specialized mountain bikes. We took the cycle path from Bohinjsko jezero to Lake Bohinj which was a gentle track through wild meadows and gorgeous mountainous landscapes. This was our last stop and Adam, Mariah and I decided to take a dip in lake before we went to Bled castle for lunch. This was a special experience as the head chef is a judge from Slovenian Masterchef! I had a gorgeous starter of pea puree, topped with raw sliced asparagus and sliced pear. It was a refreshing change from heavy polenta dishes I had been eating. For main, I had a delicious barley risotto with asparagus, pumpkin oil, black sesame seeds and a Parmesan crisp. For dessert we had the traditional Bled kremšnita cream cake.
It was a great end to an excellent week of cycling, falling off bikes, full bellies, laughter, eating local foods, making new friendships and travelling around the stunning country of Slovenia. You can follow all my story here.
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