I’d decided to go back to my old style of navigating – using ‘Komoot’ to work out the route and then hoping that half the map wouldn’t disappear off the screen with the wifi. I wanted to get into Slovenia to ensure meeting up with Nina in Ljubljana tomorrow. It was mostly OK but I immediately went wrong trying to start out, though – as I turned away from the Eurovelo 9 and, in retrospect, I should have followed it for at least the first few miles. As it was, I did a little bit of a loop into the hills.
Again, took me a while to extricate myself from the campsite. The campsite manager was impressed with my journey so far and my plans and, after pumping my hand vigorously in a firm, manly-style, handshake, kept telling other campers about me. I wasn’t used to such adulation! Still feeling achey, and taking advantage of wifi (had wifi in the TENT – always a luxury!) meant I didn’t leave AGAIN until getting on for midday. Plus it was pouring with rain for much of the morning.
It was a day for spotting woodpeckers – I saw three, same variety, mostly dark/black plumage with a red cap.
It was also a day for hills – the route was undulating but went fairly smoothly until I got close to the Austrian/Slovenia border when the map told me I was supposed to take a cycle path. I went up a few possible tracks but they were dead ends. In the end, I followed the road and got to the crossing over the River Mur late at night (not long before midnight)- the river looked black, oily and fast flowing deep down in a gorge in the dark. Welcome to country number 5: Slovenia! The most forested country in Europe! With bears! With wolves, even!
Ok. Enough of the exclamation marks.
AT this point, Komoot let me down badly. I was wanting to get to Sentilj, where there’s a railway station where I could catch a train to eventually take me to Ljubljana. So why would any route finder take me to some remote village in the hills in the middle of the Sentilj AREA instead of the town? It’s like directing me to Chudleigh Knighton when I want to go to Newton Abbot! I pushed the bicycle up hills then rode through several hamlets, expecting to come on the town at any moment. There were even some signposts to Sentilj up there.
I quite like cycling at night because it’s slightly cooler. There was a three quarters pregnant moon so it was light, bright with strange, stretched out clouds and lots of will o the wisps flitting about. However by 1am I was ready to kip anywhere – only trouble was, there didn’t seem to be anywhere suitable to stealth camp. The area seemed to have dense forests on steep hillsides or be inhabited. In the end, I came upon a bus shelter in a fairly remote spot and decided to get my ‘footprint’ out and sleep in there. I’ve had practise at Squibby’s in Spreyton at being a hobo, after all. It’s just as well I did decide to go to sleep at this point as I was still 8 miles from Sentilj as it turned out.