Tuesday, 1 September 2015

SEPTEMBER 2015 : EASTERN EUROPEAN : European Peace Walk : Day 24 : Ociza, Slovenia - Trieste, Italy ( 18 kms - 4 1/2 hours)

Distance travelled : 624 kms


Excitement in the camp this morning with the impending completion of our 24 day and over 600 km journey. Very scenic walk with intermittent view of the port of Trieste leading us in. Hot today, over 30, so the sea and sky were sparkling. No problems with directions and a very smooth entry into the city and suddenly it was all over!

           Early morning sunrise as vivid as the sunset last night.


Jana prepared a wonderful breakfast early this morning as we wanted to leave as early as possible.

Useful Slovenian words that Jana had listed on her door. Bit late for us but it would have been so helpful in all the hostels.

Leaving Ociza on a country road.

Oak forests provide shade.

Sheep posing for passers-by.

Checking for red arrows.

Some steep and stony descents until we came to the Italian border.

Crossing into Italy.

Attractive stone farmhouses.

Immediately the path led us up a steep road.

Views of the limestone gorges and mountains, including this carefully placed church halfway up the mountainside.

Our first view of Trieste on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

Tunnels burrowed into the rocky mountainside.

9 kms of bike path.

Fresh figs at last.

Short break although we were unanimous in our decision to move towards Trieste without stopping.

Floodlit tunnel.

Civilisation at last.

Still moving high above the city on bridges and bike paths.

Finally we descended from the outskirts of the city.

Buildings and courtyard cafes catching our eye.

The main square of Trieste and the fountain in Palazzo del Governo,which was our destination.
Our moment of glory. 14th group to arrive.

Prosecco to celebrate.

Backpacks dispensed with.

Our excellent accommodation (yes, yet again) - a central hostel, Opera Figli Del Popolo.

Our ensuite room for four.

Trieste harbour.

Trieste at night.

Drinks on the pier.

So the journey ends. Not everyone's preferred holiday but it certainly has been for us.
Challenging and hot but so rewarding. We have memories of 3 distinct countries, proud hosts and the fun of sharing it all with such a friendly bunch of people in our group.
But that's not all, On the 12th September Mark and I are walking in the Alps Maritimes for a week, starting in La Brique, which is north of Nice and finishing in Menton.
Meanwhile we are off to the Amalfi Coast for a week.


Please excuse blue font and underlining, some inexplicable gremlin has taken over and I'm yet to find the settings to change it. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

AUGUST 2015 : EASTERN EUROPE : European Peace Walk : Day 23 : Gornja Kosana, Slovenia - Ociza, Slovenia (30 kms - 10 hours with stops)

Distance travelled : 606 kms

Hot weather forecast today so we had another early start. The directions were straightforward but there was some confusion over the time frame for today's adventure..and an adventure it was. Long and hot but with some very special sections.


 At breakfast today our host offered us schnapps - traditional morning pick-me-up for some. 
Jason and I took up the challenge. He was fired up and I had a more relaxed style today.


           Leaving Gornja Kosana.


           A donkey with distinctive markings greeted us in the early light.


             Gravel paths in the dappled light.


             Thistles masquerading as beautiful blue flowers.


We had been warned that being a Monday that many of the bars and restaurants would be closed.
A sports bar was open at 8.30am, so we were delighted to have our morning coffee.


                            The boule cupboard with each ball with an individual design.

               Road sign - but what does it mean? Should we be prepared? Martians landing?


 We walked into the forest towards the Skocjan Caves. The caves are enormous caused by the Reka River. It is part of a UNESCO program and known as the Karst Biosphere Reserve.


         Our notes mentioned a quiet walk by the Reka River.


          Suddenly we were on steep goat tracks grateful of guide ropes to aid our ascent.


         Then it was a hands and knees exercise to clamber to the top.


         A fascinating old ruin at the top. 


         Back on the safe forest path.


We had fabulous views of some of the caves and passages, linked by bridges and the Reka River flowing through the caves and then disappearing underground, resurfacing near Trieste.


          Lunch at the Caves' cafe. Good break before another hot four hours on exposed roads.


           Kiwi fruit covering a verandah.


           Soldiering on, following red arrows...


   A sink hole prevalent in this karst limestone area. They result from the collapse of subterranean cave roofs.


             Rest, regroup, drink and reassure ourselves of the directions.


            Skirting the highway.


          At last, signs of civilisation as we pass under a railway bridge.


           Beauty in an ageing building.


             Our accommodation tonight is a small village hostel.


           We have two dormitories.


     Simple meal of mushroom soup and spaghetti bolognese. A quiet, quick meal as we are all 
     tired and some a little battle-scarred.

     Hard to believe tomorrow will be our final day!