Up and Over: The Epic Vršič Pass
My favorite day of the trip so far had to be the day we drove through Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s one and only national park. Thanks to my new friend Rick Steves, we did a self-guided tour through the highest mountain roads in the nation. We were ready for the hairpin turns — 25 up and 25 down. Googlemaps helped a bit, but there was really only one road to follow, and it was well marked.
At first the roads were pretty flat. There were always guard rails, but in the beginning, the roads weren’t too narrow or curvy.
We saw a lot of farms with these iconic hay stands that we’ve seen all over Slovenia.
It didn’t take long to start seeing some remarkable views. We had to stop a lot for photos.
As we drove further uphill, the roads got narrower and the views got more about more impressive. This might have been our favorite pull off point:
Close to the top, we stopped for lunch. The food was ok, but the views were incredible. I decided to take a tiny walk to explore near the restaurant and ended up with this funny video:
We were close to the top then, so we just had a few more scary turns to go. Here’s a video that gives a sense of the driving as we arrived at the top:
We laughed when we saw sheep just chilling on the road, right at the top.
When we asked a shopkeeper why the sheep were huddled next to cars, she answered “sheep logic. They have all these beautiful trees and such, but they like tires.” Are sheep always this weird?
From this parking area, we decided to hike up a bit. We passed some old ruins, possibly from WWI, which was neat to explore.
Eventually we explored a little path, and arrived at my favorite little secret spot, where we sat to take it all in.
No panorama or video could do it justice, but I tried.
It was just beautiful up there. From the vast views to the little wildflowers. I loved it all.
We also got great views of the famous Adja face (like New Hampshire’s Old Man in the Mountain, except it’s a girl’s face). Can you see it?!
And then, of course, we had to go down the mountain. Slowly. We stayed at two different tourist farms and did a lot more driving, but some of this other stuff will have to wait for later entries. I do have to give thanks to my little VW polo rental car which was brand new and we offered it 700+ km on the road. It was an amazing little car, getting great gas mileage because it turned off instead of idling when stopped for a few seconds, and it automatically adjusted to lower gears as needed. I’m proud to say that I returned it safely to Ljubljana without a scratch.After only a week, I was sad to say goodbye to both our lovely little car, and even more so to Slovenia, a beautiful little country. It was much cooler weather than Venice, but the people were so warm and sweet.
Now, we are in Croatia! We were a bit worried about getting around without a car, but we successfully made it to Zagreb yesterday, and this morning we booked a bunch of buses and ferries. In fact, I’m currently writing this on a bus with wifi, traveling through Croatia. So, we keep moving onward, without our own wheels.