Lockdown Week 11: Places we’ve been (Part 4: Poland to Slovenia)

We’re still in lockdown. Rules are being relaxed but, we still can’t camp overnight. The weather has continued to be nice and sunny and Reg continues to grow and get more adventurous.

We’re continuing on our review of places we’ve been, remembering happy times travelling and waiting for the time we can continue.

Poland

  • Ryn – our first stop in Poland. The campsite here, although the Campercontact App, stated it was closed, was very much open, and it was an absolute gem of a site. We can’t recommend Camping Mazury enough. We were even shown to a big fenced field next to the woods, where Albi was allowed to roam free.
  • Warsaw – the roads into the city were very busy so we chose to stay on the outskirts at Camping 222 in Kaputy. It was here we bumped into our fellow Bloggers and friends, Karen and Colin – Rewind the Gap.
  • Auschwitz – we made the decision, if we were going through Poland, we had to go to Auschwitz. We stopped for the night in the Motorhome stop in the car park opposite and explored the site the following day.

Slovakia

  • Námestovo – after a drive from Poland, up into the hills / mountains and over the border we found a campsite on the edge of the Reservoir. Another lovely small site – ATC Jumi.
  • Kremnické Bane – The geographical central point of Europe. A plaque is mounted on a stone outside the church of St John. We arrived at the same time as a coach of school children, in the rain. Be careful when looking for the sign posts, as it was on a steep bend!
  • Čilistov – we stopped at a small Stellplatz on the edge of the village, near the river Danube. We had been looking for a campsite, but they were all closed, and stumbled on this site, complete with honesty box for payment. It is also close to a Hotel – the Hotel Kormorán and the X-Bionic Sphere Sports Resort, with it’s wonderful Sculpture – Colossus, the largest Equine Statue in the World.
  • Bratislava – we stopped at the Motorhome Parking on the edge of the River Danube and wandered around the town, stopping for lunch. The Parking is a free car park, with no time limit.

Czech Repuplic

We stopped in the Czech Republic, after having a difficulty crossing the border into Austria – all part of the adventure!

  • Lednice – we stopped at the campsite ATC Apollo. It was a little stuck in the 1950’s and not somewhere we would chose to go back to.

Austria

We sorted out our little issue (what vignette we needed, and whether we did need one) and headed over the border.

  • Tulln – another town on the Danube. The campsite, Donaupark, had the potential to be lovely, but due to a Rally on site, we were placed at the edge of the site.
  • Burgau – the town was a lovely place with a castle, and the Camping Schloss Burgau was located behind it.

Slovenia

One of our favourite places to visit. We can not get enough of this country.

  • Ptuj – crossing the border into Slovenia, felt relaxing. We headed into an area we hadn’t been before and the town of Ptuj. Located on the river Drava, the campsite is a short walk into the main town with its historic old town and castle.
  • Reccica ob Savinji – A small town out in the Upper Savinja Valley, this Camping Menina is one of the most relaxed but lively campsites we’ve stayed at. It is on the river, with activities available in high season and a restaurant on site.
  • Ankaran – on our return from Croatia, we stopped off here on the Adriatic Coast. Despite the weather (it rained all the time we were there). The Adria Camping and Resort, is between Croatia and Italy and looked like a very lively place in the right weather!
  • Bled – Camping Bled and the town are possibly our favourite places. There is so much to do and see around here. We cycled round the lake, climbed up the hills, picked up a Chinese takeaway. We will happily return here over and over again!

Thank you for reading. We continue to be safe and well (if a little bored) and hope you are safe and well too.

Week 14: Croatia to…. And a surprise for someone!

Nortia at Lake Bled, Slovenia

We awoke at our campsite in Ičići  and got ready to meet up with my (Sarah’s) mum in Opatija. It has been exactly three months since we said our goodbyes over breakfast in Chichester Marina. We walked along the promenade (as much as we could) up to the hotel and there she was, sitting on the terrace waiting for us.

We popped along the road to a lovely cafe/bistro/taverna (I don’t know what they would be called in Croatia) and were shown to a table. The food was amazing and cooked so well. If you’re in Opatija I can’t recommend it enough http://www.roko-opatija.com/

After a long lunch, and a lot of catching up and story telling, we walked back to the Campsite still talking and reminiscing. We said our goodbyes and planned our journey onwards.

The next morning we set off to Pula, along the coast road and up over the hills. The campsite was fairly big but not overcrowded – We chose an ACSI camping pitch for 20 euros – you don’t get to be on the water’s edge or the beach but with so few people you can see them without paying double. The site also has a restaurant and you can sit down and eat or take away – we chose the latter. As you can probably tell, we’ve made up for the lack of going out this week! We then needed to choose whether to stay another night or move on. Looking at the weather that night (and again in the morning) we chose to move on; the forecast was for heavy rain and thunderstorms.

We set off for Slovenia and crossed the border near on the coast before heading through Koper to Ancarano. Koper is a massive freight port where (I read) that a lot of the cargo is taken to the southern Mediterranean ports. There were so many cars all waiting to be shipped. The campsite at Ancarano, is part of a hotel complex and on the beach – again you pay more if you want a sea view. However, as it was raining and we’d already had one mishap in the rain on a grass pitch we chose a hard-standing.

We left Ancarano and headed north to Bled. We followed the lovely Ditsy Daisy sat nav, until I found a road which bypassed Ljubljana and went up over the hills / mountains. All the signage indicated that it was suitable for vehicles under 7.5 tonnes, and we were following an artic – who we are sure was over 7.5 tonnes. Still there were no mishaps and the scenery was lovely.

Before we reached Bled, we stopped at the vets in Lesce, Albi needed some more medicine for an ailment he has, they were so helpful (we had been there before when we first came to Bled, for his worming treatment back to the UK – those were the days were planning was key and we knew exactly where we would be and how far we needed to travel each day)!

On arrival at Bled, everything was familiar. This was the first overseas place we had come with our Bilbo’s VW. That time we planned to the letter – two stops on the way 12 nights in Bled and 2 nights to get home. This didn’t work though, as we got bored sitting in the same place and left after 11 nights and headed to Venice! This time Bled was calling us back.

We arrived at the campsite and checked in for two nights – again using the ACSI card. We dusted off the bikes and took a little tour around the town. To our surprise the short spurt around we’d clocked 6 miles – not a massive amount but we hadn’t been on a bike for a while! We headed to the onsite Restaurant for a meal.

The next morning we wanted to do a longer cycle – we borrowed the cycle folder from Reception and found a circuit – the Reception staff copied the route for us and with the aid of Gloria Google Maps we were able to continue our little trip – taking in the villages of Bled – Breg – Zironica – Smokuc – Rodine – Hrase and Lesce before returning to Bled. This time we’d clocked up 19 miles, and it felt like it! The villages were great to see and the roads weren’t bad to cycle on – we even came across a bridge we’d driven over in the VW and were astonished how small it looked with the two bikes let alone a Transporter – we are not going to attempt to get a photo with the lovely Nortia though. The trail does have some steep hills and switchbacks. On our return to the campsite we had a well earned sit down before a lovely warm shower. Then we remembered there was a chinese in town, so back on the bikes and we picked up a takeaway. A quick cycle home – another 5 miles clocked (24 in total for the day!).

We decided to stay another day! We went off on a trail, we’d done the last time we were here and then we met possibly one or two other people, this time it was packed at the top. We’d gone to Ojstrica at only 611 metres it wasn’t the biggest we’d ever done but we haven’t climbed anything for a while. The start of the climb is incredibly steep and on loose rock. When we got to the top the view is great but the number of people, just annoying! We ate our lunch and headed back down to the campsite.

After a lovely takeaway meal from the restaurant – there was a 60th Birthday Party in full swing in the restaurant, we decided to move on the following day. We were heading to Italy.

We set Ditsy Daisy to non-motorways or tolls and set off on our travels towards Lake Garda (we knew we weren’t going there straight away, but needed to head in a direction!). We passed through Kranjska Gora and over the border to the mountains of Italy, where we travelled over the Mauria Pass – with a maximum elevation of 1300 metres above sea level and four switchbacks up and five down.

We chose a Stellplatz at a restaurant in a little town of Belluno, in the Dolomites. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed as it was Sunday. We had a quick wonder around as there were a number of fishing lakes – full of fish in various sizes. The view wasn’t great when we arrived but was worth it the following morning….

As always, thank you for reading and apologies this week for the lateness of the post – we have been in the mountains and the mobile data and WiFi connections have been slow at best and non-existent at worst. There’ll be next week’s post soon (a bit like a London Bus!)