We are progressing well with 320 miles under our belts. Having cycle through Austria, Hungary and a small section in eastern Croatia, we are now well into picturesque Slovenia.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a short ride of circa 35 miles from Varazdin on the Croatian section of the Drava river to Ptuj, upstream in Slovenia. Leaving Varazdin on busy roads, and past a gypsy camp with rubbish strewn around the road, was not much fun. Once into open countryside, through a border control at Ormoz, into Slovenia more than compensated. Largely following a section of Euro Velo 8, The Drava River Route, the run into Ptuj, which claims to be the oldest inhabited town in the country, was particularly pleasant along the north bank.
Today (Thursday) was a 56 miler to Lasko, home to Slovenia’s most famous beer, and reason for the hop fields we cycled past on our way. The first half of the ride was a wonderful, following the Dravija river, up its delightfully quiet valley, on smooth roads with a helpful tailwind.
There are no hedges here making views completely open as we cycle along. It is curious to see the different crops side by side, maize, pumpkins, vines, grass and strips newly cultivated in readiness for planting. As there are no field boundaries cattle are zero grazed, the smell of freshly mown grass overpowered in places by that noxious invader Himalayan Balsam.
The scenery, and gradients became much more Tyrolean as the day progressed, truly breathtaking both in terms of the views and climbing up some steep, switch-back hills. Sore legs this evening. Now in the valley of the Savinja river, tomorrow, we will follow it downstream for a short way before tracking it’s tributary, the Sava upstream into Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city.