(8th to 12th July)
It felt pretty good as we left the Prosecco hills having a different country set as our destination, especially one that was once part of the Social Federal Rep. of Yugoslavia. We choose our first Slovenian destination to be the border town Nova Gorcia – for some reason both Sharon and I find border towns fascinating as by taking a few steps you are suddenly changing language, culture, car reg. plates, food, drinks and prices:- the list is endless.
We parked the van up at the free stop over in Gorizia (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy) and then slowly walked through the Italian part of the town. It seemed quite lively and there was even a youth breakdancing festival happening in the main square and generally everything felt fairly Italian. About 1.5km from Gorizia’s main square, towards the railway station, lies the border line where the old ‘fences’ used to stand, separating Gorizia and Novo Gorcia. We felt quite excited and slightly ‘emotional’ as we approached the border, where lies a plaque sunk in the pavement showing the line between the two countries. The emotion was prompted by the small permanent exposition showing photos of different times: with the dividing fence up, the day it came down and then through to the celebration of the day that Slovenia joined the EU. There were images of Italian people holding banners welcoming the Slovenians and this was complimented by images of the Slovenians being proud to be part of the EU. This made me think of the recent Brexit and how it contrasts.
One foot in Italy the other in Slovenia. Please note, these are Sharon’s new flip flops.
To contemplate what we saw and felt a Slovenian beer was required so we ventured a little into Nova Gorcia. We did not need to go very far and soon we were sitting outside a very cool bar still with the Italian border in view. The beer was Lasko, a light medium strength Slovenian lager, and the price was 2 Euro for half a litre. In Italy, 200 metres away, this would be 4 Euro minimum – mad isn’t it?
At the very cool ‘Boarder Bar’ located at Novo Gorcia’s railway station.
After a while we ventured back, only to stop off at bar in Italian Gorizia which had a form of live music. An energetic singer was paired with a keyboard player (and we assumed that this also supplied the drums) and they marched through all sorts of music from Italian rock and ballads to 60’s American rock and roll. The local crowd were loving it, dancing and singing, and to be honest we it enjoyed the spectacle of people watching. I must admit though, there were some points when I too was found on the dance floor…………
The next destination was inland, Postojna, which is famous for it’s caves, but we were more interested in that town centre so that we could absorb some of Slovenia’s society. When we arrived in the town, we were surprised that is was quite small, but we did manage to find a pretty good restaurant selling typical Slovenian food. I had Zlikrofi (kind of like a twisted ravioli) as a starter and we both went for calves’ liver as a main, be it mine in a burger bun – I had expected that the liver would have been minced, like a beef burger, which would have been pretty original, but it wasn’t, as it came in thin fried slices. However, it was still very good, tasty and filling.
A liver burger, Štorja Pod Stopnicami Restaurant, Postojna. Slovenian red wine also comes recommended.
Luckily, the town was having a festival on the night time and here proved the perfect place to do some people watching as the town folk came out to see the local dancing and music performances. We stayed until the end and we felt that we had achieved a little bit of the Slovenian submersion we were hoping for.
Local traditional dancing at Postojna’s summer festival.
Next stop was the Slovenian coast and we choose Koper. The parking place is about 1km from the old town, which is pleasant, and the coastal promenade was busy of tourists and local people going for a stroll. We only had a couple of nights stay in Koper, but you could easily spend a week there on holiday as it has the old town, coast and a nice feel.
Historic centre, Koper.
We had randomly parked next to an English couple at the aire, Colin and Anne. In fact, it was Anne’s birthday on the Sunday so we spend the early evening chatting, sharing a splendid sausage and oven chips dinner, all topped off with the European cup football final at a local Kopen bar. Parabens Portugal!!! And ‘parabens’ Anne for that matter!
Seaside promenade at dusk, Koper.
The stay at Koper brought an end to our very short Slovenian 4 day taster and I think it would be really good in the future to dedicate a month or more touring the whole land. On the motorhoming front, we managed to fill up with LPG in Slovenia and the adapter is the same as the Italian one.
A totally mad camper from Serbia, complete with a fiberglass roof off a Volkswagen implanted in the roof. Koper.
As a slight twist to the tour, recently Sharon had received some bad news (RIP Maggie) and was heading back to the UK for a short spell. This meant we had to get within the vicinity of Venice airport choosing Treviso as a base.
Sharon has now been dropped off at the airport. At the drop off carpark we had some motorhome drama as there were not any height markers on the roofed entrance barrier, be it this one was easily over 4 metres high. Once we got into the car park though, the exit barrier had a 2.8 metre restriction on it! I was pretty baffled by how this could have been planned and obviously we could not get under as we are 3 metres high.
Obviously we did manage to get out of the car park as I am sitting in the van writing this at the Delta Po. I apologise to all of the people I obstructed whilst I sought help (note to Venice airport, if you are going to employ a Liaison officer, please employ one that speaks both English and Italian, having one that only speaks American is pretty useless I am afraid, leaving me to communicate with the airport Carabinieri with my, by now, very limited self taught Italian).
Typical Treviso (It) canal vista.
As a side note, what a spectacular town Treviso turned out to be? It is all encased by a wall and moat, has another mini canal system crisscrossing within the boundaries of the walls and has some classic grand piazzas. As mentioned above I have returned to the Delta Po for the week whilst Sharon is away. I plan to do some cycling around this tranquil area and generally chill out for a bit.
Happy times in Koper sitting in the big hand chair. (I must have smiled straight after the camera clicked!) Waiting for you to re-join the tour Xxx