It’s been a bit of a soggy week as the snow has begun to give way to the rain as the air temperature gradually warms up. I hope it’s a first sign of spring though I very much doubt that we’ve seen the end of the snow completely. Fortunately last weekend was sunny, or at least up above 1500 metres it was anyway. Having heard on the weather forecast that this was going to be the case, it was time to head for higher ground in search of the sun and once again I was rewarded for the effort. I was beginning to doubt it, leaving Radovljica and making the journey through Bled up to the Pokljuka plateau, it was damp and cloudy the whole way up. Even when parking the car and starting to walk higher it was still cloudy but then, as if in a wonderland, the sun appeared way up above the clouds – what a magical feeling.
Pokljuka is the largest forest plateau in the Julian Alps and spans almost 20km both in length and width. Being such a large area, its borders fall within the municipalities of both Bled and Bohinj whilst parts of it lie within Triglav National Park. Its height varies from 1000 – 1400ms in the flat plateau areas and with the surrounding mountains to over 2000ms. The highest point is the peak of Debela Peč.
There’s always something going on on Pokljuka, whether summer or winter, it’s a haven for outdoor lovers and fortunately for me, it’s easily accessible from Radovljica. Reaching Pokljuka by public transport is somewhat more difficult as buses do not run there during the winter months but during the summer there are buses from Bled.
In addition to skiing, downhill and cross-country, there are numerous walking routes of varying lengths and difficulties. As you can see from this photo, taken at Planina Lipanca, there is a very wide choice of directions to walk – and this is just one of the options, there are many, many more.
In a previous blog (A mixed bag – December 2012), I wrote about how I always have 2 pairs of crampons with me when walking in the winter, just in case one pair should break. How fortunate then that I was prepared when this happened last week. Here you see me preparing to take a seat in the snow to put them on ready to make my descent. They come in so useful not only when it’s icy but also in the morning, if the temperatures have been very low overnight, the snow can become very hard and slippery in places, especially where others have walked, and wearing these can facilitate the descent although they aren’t meant for serious alpinism. I mention this because I was pleasantly surprised by the customer service received when visiting the Veriga Factory in Lesce, near Radovljica, where they make these crampons as well as snow chains for cars. In addition to purchasing a new pair of crampons, to make up for the breakage, I was given me some spare links and replacement rubber, in order to be able to repair the broken pair, a snazzy bag to keep them in and even a hat too – not to be sniffed at! So should you find yourself walking in Slovenia in the winter, my advice would be to have a pair of these with you, just in case, they are light and easy to carry and you just never know when they might come in handy – http://en.veriga-lesce.si/crampons-for-shoes/
After the disappointment of not being able to go away with my parents during the school winter holidays – the snow hampered my travel plans – I managed to squeeze in a (very) flying visit back to the UK. I met up with my parents and a couple of friends and just about had time to fill up my suitcase with lots of shopping too! The support my parents have given me since my move here has been phenomenal and therefore the little time we get to spend together these days is precious – Happy Mother’s Day Mum!
I’ll be making my once a month visit to Ljubljana next week – I work there once a month – and I’ll be going with a renewed perspective having come across this new video. So for anyone else who might be thinking about visiting Slovenia – this might help to convince you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SBV3UJuJKao