BootsnAll Travel Network

Bohinj: Wet

Bohinjsko Jezero, or Lake Bohinj, is a 5 kilometer long lake, situated at the foot of a valley in the Julian Alps. A couple of small villages rest on the shores of the lake, not doing much, just staring out at the water, contemplating life. It was to here that Bec and I travelled after Bled, just 25km down the road, and spent the next three days giving our legs an almighty workout.

Things started out well when we got a private room with an ensuite in the village of Ribcev Laz at the Eastern end of the lake, for just 11 Euros each per night, about the cheapeast accomodation we’ve had on the trip so far. Our room also had a private balcony with views of snowcapped Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the Julian Alps. Afternoons sitting out on the balcony staring at the mountain, with a cheap bottle of red shared bweteen us, were hard to argue with. The village was surrounded by peaks, which on this day were mostly covered by cloud save for the odd peak sticking out; the mountains pulling the clouds up like a blanket to their chin.

In Slovenia, I’ve pretty much gotten by with just a couple of words; ‘dobra dan’, for hello, and ‘hvala’ for thank you. But whilst in Bohinj, I picked up another. The word for waterfall, here in Slovenia, is slap. So on our first afternoon in town, just as the heavy morning rain began to clear, Bec and I set out to see the Savica waterfall, Slap Savica, situated up in the mountains, about 4km from the Western end of the lake (a good 9 or 10 km from our room). Slap Savice – it made seeing the waterfall sound like some horrible paticipatory strip show.

A bus was kind enough to drive us the length of the lake and drop us in Ukanc, the little village at the Western end, and we began hiking through the forest along a stony path just wide enough for a car. There was a sign pointing the way to Slap Savica back where we got off the bus, which led us up a bitumen road before coming to a fork – a bitumen road continuing round to the left, or a gravelly road going straight ahead into the forest. We took a punt, and went bush, after which there were no more signs. A little worrying, but what’s the worst that could happen. After ten or so minutes of giving each other sideways glances, and wondering if we were headed the right way, we saw a signpost up ahead. Ah, this will tell us if we’re headed the right way. And you know what, it was one of the absolutely hilarious sort of signposts that pointed to Athens 900km, Frankfurt 1200km, and Melbourne a long bloody way. Note to signpost makers – this is never funny.

Feeling carefree, we continued on the path, and before long heard the sound of running water not far away, a sure sign we were on the right track. We followed the water, and found the information booth for the waterfall telling us that we now had 533 steps to climb to reach the thing. So, up we went. The waterfall wasn’t too bad, but was nothing compared with what we saw back at the Plitvice Lakes. It was, however, great to be up in the fresh mountain air. In the 15 minutes we spent at the top of the steps watching the waterfall, you could see the clouds rolling in, and feel the air turning moist.

The steps led us back down to our gravelly path, and we walked the 4km back to the bus stop near the lake. As it was our first real chance to get near the water, we left the bus stop behind to walk over to the water’s edge, a few hundred metres away.

“Do you wanna just walk back to town along the lake” I asked.

“Yeah, sure.”

1 kilometer into the 5 kilometer walk, and the afternoon rain started tumbling down. Absolutely pissing down, it was. With no option but to keep walking, we put our jackets on, heads down, and powered back to Ribcev Laz, getting drenched along the way. We stopped at a littel cafe/bar as soon as we could to dry off and have ourselves a couple of well-earned beers. The odd flash of lightning and roar of thunder washed past us as we sat, making it 5 thunderstorms in only a month since leaving the UK. Back home in Melbourne, I reckon one or two a year is about all we get.

Day one down, 13 km travelled, and a soaking to boot.

Also at the Western end of the lake, near the village of Ukanc, was a cable car that took passengers 1000 meters up to the winter ski fields of Mount Vogel. On our first full day in the area, Bec and I planned on catching the cable car up to the foot of Mount Vogel, and then hiking the couple of hours to the top, at 1922 metres.

Upon arriving at the cable car though, a lack of cash, and credit card facilities that had packed it in during the storm the day before, meant we couldn’t go up. The nearest atm was 5km back in Ribcev Laz, and it was getting close to 11am, not really leaving us as much time as we would have liked to get to the top and back down, so we decided to postpone our trip up, and instead hike back around the other side of the lake along the foot of the mountains.

The cable car was scheduled to go at 11am, and as the departure time came around, we stopped our walk and looked back hoping to see the little car whisked up into the mountains, excited that we’d be doing it the next day. But there was no little car being whisked up into the mountains. All there was was smoke – drifting up from the base of the mountain, from right where the cable car was leaving. This didn’t look good. Over the next hour or two, as we followed the edge of the lake, we continued to check behind us, but there were no cable cars running at all, just smoke.

Our trip up into the mountains the next day was starting to look a little shaky.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply