Monday, September 18, 2006

On the road in Slovenia

We rented a Corsa, an Opel I think, the symbol is a Z. It is very cute and quite nice actually even though it is one of the cheaper cars, C level to be exact, they go up to about J. Every car in Slovenia has to have emergency road lights and those red triangles the truckers all have in the US. We checked out and hit the road. Since we had a car we decided to go through Triglev national park, said to be very beautiful, but only accessible if you have a car. It made the drive a bit longer, maybe an hour or so. It is a mountain park and the drive goes over a high pass, about 5000 feet. It is interesting to be in high mountains but to still be fairly low in absolute altitude. In NM we start at 5000 feet. So there were lots of deciduous trees and other vegetation, even at the pass.

On the way up we stopped at a lovely little Russian chapel. This is a shrine for 300 Russian POWs who died in an avalanche building this road during WW I. It is not clear they were worse off than ones who were worked to death, starved to death, or froze to death building the road but the chapel was very nice. It was rainy and gloomy but the pictures turned out very well. It does not seem that anyone treats the Russians POWs very well. I just reread All Quiet on the Western Front and there is a scene in that were he gives food to the Russian POWs who are all starving to death.

It rained the whole day and was cloudy in the mountains but we actually saw a fair amount. It was only cloudy in places. It was beautiful but maybe not so beautiful or amazing as Colorado. We had and excellent lunch in a little ski town at the beginning of the park. It is great having the Rough Guide to Slovenia because the rough guides cover just about every town in a country. It had recommendations for this little ski town for example. Very handy if you are driving.

Driving was very cool because you see parts of the country you would not see on public transportation. The little towns in Slovenia are very similar to the little towns in Italy. You drive through and the main street, the only street, is lined with two story building that come right up to the road. Lots of narrow places. They do a clever thing with these narrow places. They decide which side has the right of way and puts a sign on each side. There is a bigger black arrow for the side with the right of way and a smaller red arrow for the side that does not. Very clear, we figured it out right away. On the freeway they have rain speed limits, a speed limit sign with a dark cloud with rain lines coming down from it.

These little towns were all so pretty. There is usually a town every couple of miles along these little roads. We also passed lots of wine cellars which are like microwineries. They are frequent in the wine areas. We were going into the Karst which has iron heavy soil and makes a very dark red wine called Teran. We have had this twice so far and it is very good.

It was a long day but we finally got to where we were going, the agricultural tourist farm. More on that next time.


Anonymous Henry Shapiro said...

Based on our many years of travelling around Europe, Charlie and Wynette made the right decision to rent a car. Train travel in Europe works well if you only want to visit major cities -- fast, comfortable, they drop you in the center of town and you don't have to try to find a place to park a car (an impossible task; or you pay extra for a parking space at your hotel). But if you want to get out into the countryside, a car works much better than trying to take the train and the busses and a car gives you the freedom to come and go whenever you please. Driving in western Europe is just like driving in America.

I wouldn't want to rent a car in places like India or Thailand, however, where the signs aren't readable, the laws aren't like ours (and nobody follows them anyway), the drivers are reckless, and fines can be severe, especially if you get into an accident.

11/06/2006 12:00 PM  
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