Day 315 – Bohinjska Bistrica to Rasen-Antholz

We were late getting up, so while I packed Clare and the boys went to the site’s bar for tea and hot chocolate. Our first stop of the day was at the bakery just over the river for a selection of cakes.

And then we headed east, away from our destination, and towards Lake Bled, not out of choice, but because there was no pass over the mountains to the west. Seeing Bled we were pleased that we stayed where we did, Bled is very touristy.

We then stopped at a small Spar shop for lunch items, and while Clare was shopping I checked my phone. Someone following our blog suggested the Vršič Pass. It was a bit of a detour but close enough to our route.

The Vršič Pass is the highest pass in Slovenia, and the road was built by about ten thousand Russian prisoners of war in 1915. There is a Russian Orthodox chapel commemorating the many POW’s killed during the road’s construction. The surface on each of the road’s hairpin bends is cobbles.

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We stopped briefly at the top of the pass to throw snowballs and to walk Meg before descending to the Italian border only to find the border post abandoned due to it being lunch time. Slithering through an empty border post made a refreshing change after the stringent checks we faced at the Greek/Bulgarian, Bulgarian/Romanian, Romanian/Hungarian, Hungarian/Croatian and Croatian/Slovenian borders. Our passports can now be tucked away until we reach Calais.

Nothing much changed from one side of the border to the other, that is until we passed into South Tyrol when everything became Germanic.

We have explored Italy as comprehensively as any country on our trip. We entered Italy on 20 November 2017, and ignoring our forays into San Marino and The Vatican City, left the country 78 days later on 6 February. We zig-zagged down the country, crossing it five times. The mountains of rubbish in Naples and Sicily have been the biggest detractor, the generosity of the people the greatest attractor. Here it is different. The streets are clean and the people aloof. We arrived late at our campsite and decided to have a pizza in the local town. The waitress showed us to a table, but continually chided Ben and Jack for touching things on the table or the shelf behind. She then tried to move us to a smaller table, then when we were about to move told us not to bother moving. The two pizzas arrived promptly, but without the ordered salad. We arrived, we ate, we left. Beautiful, clean and well ordered, but not the generosity we experienced further south.

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