Ljubljana – Dubrovnik Expedition / Part 1: Slovenia
Last October 02nd I started the Ljubljana – Dubrovnik Expedition that was a cycling trip from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, to Dubrovnik, “The Pearl of the Adriatic”, in Croatia.
Last October 02nd I started the Ljubljana – Dubrovnik Expedition that was a cycling trip from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, to Dubrovnik, “The Pearl of the Adriatic” in Croatia. I departed from Rio on September 29th, and from Vienna International Airport I took a transfer to Ljubljana. Due to my travel agency Larbtur, I had a meeting on October 01st at Happy Tours Slovenia with my friends and partners Rok Bulc, Nando Cabral, and Aleksandra Jezersek to talk about the expedition itself and other business we have together.
After our meeting, Nando drove us to Bled, a beautiful and peaceful town on the shore of the gorgeous Lake Bled. There is an island in the middle of the lake, and the impressive Bled Castle (first castle in Slovenia) lies on the top of a cliff overlooking the lake. At night I had a walk around the cool Ljubljana old town.
Starting the Journey
On the next morning, I met with Rok at the hotel. It was time to start the journey. We went to a gas station to pump up the bike tires and then hit the road! But less than 6km away from starting, my back wheel tube burst, forcing us to stop to change it. Tube replaced, let’s pump it… Pow! We broke the valve!!! “Well… it’s gonna be a quite adventure”, I thought. Rok went back and bought four more spare tubes. Tube replaced and pumped. Let’s go!!! We headed to Postojna on secondary roads, the temperature was perfect for cycling, and the view was lovely. There were some not easy climbs on the way, but we had a pleasant ride.
We went straight to visit the Postojna Cave, the best-known cave in the world and it is the most significant tourist attraction in Slovenia. It is amazing what nature can do! An electric train carries surprised visitors in subterranean passages and incredible rocks formation. After the cave, we went to the Predjama Castle. Wow!!! It’s amazing what men can build! Of course, it is a not to miss attraction. My favorite in Slovenia so far. Nine kilometers away from the caves, the castle is perched in a vertical cliff, and it was first mentioned in the year of 1274. In the Middle Age, safety was above all. For that reason, in spite being cold, humid, and not cozy, the castle was safe for its inhabitants. It had many owners along the centuries.
The most famous one was the Knight Erazem Lueger in the 15th century, a renowned robber baron, which was besieged in his fortress for a year and a day due to an order from Austrian Emperor Fredrick III to capture and kill him. After visiting the castle, Rok took a train back to Ljubljana and me overnight in Postojna. We rode a total of 78km and had a cumulative elevation gain of 1227m.
When I woke up next day, I knew that this second stage would be tough. I was by myself. Also, when I left Postojna, it was cold and raining. I knew as well, however, that while I was cycling, I wouldn’t feel too cold. And that was it all the way to the border with Croatia, surrounded by woods and forest in Javornik Hills. After passing passport control, I headed south to Rijeka on D8 state road that has not much traffic as runs parallel to A7 motorway. After a while, a far away view of an island and the sea got me even more motivated.
Finally, after a long downhill, I was there in front of the Adriatic Sea! Before going to Rijeka, I couldn’t miss a visit to Opatija, a trendy destination where former Austrian Imperial Family used to expend several months during winter. After lunch, I went to Rijeka where the stage was concluded, with a total of 76,4km long and 771m of cumulative elevation gain. From Rijeka, I had transport to take the ferry to the Island of Pag where I would start the next stage.