DAY 22 and DAY 23 and DAY 24

Ljubljana –> Lake Bled –> Trieste

29th September – 1st October

s-LOVE-nia

We departed from The White House in Ljubljana (barely) and went into the centre to grab a coffee at an edgy café that Amy had been recommended. After 10 minutes of awkwardly loitering, not really sure whether we could sit down or not, we took the plunge only to have a waitress shout at us not to push tables closer together – guess who wasn’t impressed?

Amy and James went ahead to Bled to put up their tent. Bharat and Rachel had jumped at the opportunity to stay anywhere but the tent, and so when their friends Abigail and Peter McNeile offered them a bunk bed they graciously (and ‘generously’) and gave up their ‘palatial tent’ for Amy and James.

Man’s not hot!

On arriving in Bled the McNeils had put on quite the spread for us and we were busy gorging ourselves on an immense Slovene picnic when it was decided we would be cycling round Lake Bled that afternoon. A few stitches and heartburns later we were busy peddling ill-fitted bikes to the nearest pontoon that rented rowing boats to the church in the middle of Lake Bled.
 

 

As we parked up our bike at the jetty, a leathered Slovene woman barked the rules and regulations of the boat hire  at us and informed us that even one minute over would result in a extraordinary fine. With one hour on the clock we set off for the Island. James in one row boat with Rachel and Abigail and the other with Peter on the oars and Bharat and Amy relaxing at either end of the boat. Within minutes James’ boat had collided with a fellow holiday maker and the yelps and screams coming from the ladies being rowed echoed across the Julian Alps. As we approached the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumptions of Maria we could hear a Slovene wedding and, after mooring, managed to capture a glimpse of the celebration before they headed off in their boats, trumpets blazing, into the distance. On the island with the church Rachel was stopped by a lovely gentleman who noticed her Tuk Tuk To Turkey sweatshirt – it turned out that his wife (who we later met) had arranged the translation of our press release into Slovenian – what a small world and it shows the power of being ‘on brand’ – something Amy needs to significantly improve on.

Slovenian bride has a quick swig of beer before entering the church

 

Boat done, we continued our cycle along the pedestrian pathways of Lake Bled until we reached the foot of Bled Castle. Having reached the castle after 20 minutes of climbing, Bharat was not impressed with the expensive entrance fee and was debating sending us down from whence we came, but Rachel signalled that she was about to keel over after the climb and that the only watering hole nearby was the café inside the castle. Inside we went. After waiting for the sunset that never came, we mooched round the castle before finally cycling* home (*obviously we walked the whole way up the hills) – Bharat making a few minor 2km detours up and down hills which put a few strains on his and Rachel’s relationship.

The sunset over Lake Bled from the castle that never materialised

 

After a good meal in Bled everyone headed to bed for a good night’s sleep. James and Amy went off to their campsite and all was well…except for the sub 2 degree temperatures and the incessantly loud owls that chatted away all night. Rachel and Bharat fresh, James and Amy puffy eyed, we set off with Abigail and Peter  the next day to the Vintgar Gorge. It was lovely but very busy with tour buses disgorging every nationality trying to get there before the “rush”. Put it this way – we don’t think you can ever go without there being a crowd! That said, it was very beautiful and we’ve got inspiration for a “50 shades of Blue” photo series.

Amy goes off-piste on the Vintgar Gorge boardwalk

 

Bharat had been faffing the whole morning and Amy and James had enough when he said he needed to go back to Bled for his swim trunks (which, FYI, he never wore). The two of them set off on their own and managed to take some sneaky drone footage of Lake Bled before moving on to Lake Bohinj and doing the same there. Slovenia is genuinely so picturesque that we found ourselves having to be ruthless on what we stopped to take a picture of and what we didn’t.

 

We had a picnic by Lake Bohnij before renting kayaks that we took to the far side of the lake and Amy, James, Rachel and Abigail all jumped into the water trying desperately not to squeal at how cold it was (all managed, except Amy who jumped in first!).

It’s icy!

After Rachel and Abigail found themselves, yet again, going round and round in circles in their canoe and James and Amy hearing them from over a kilometre away, we all arrived safely onshore and drove to the bottom of the 20 minutes (vertical) hike up to the Slap Savika (waterfalls).

Does she realise she is the only one putting in effort?

 

Takeaway pizzas were on the menu after Bharat couldn’t bear to take his frozen limbs anywhere else in Bled and Rachel managed to break the TV in Abigail and Peter’s rental by hanging the Tuk Tuk To Turkey team’s underwear to dry on it.

Top of the stunning Vršič Pass 

The next day, at the recommendation of Abigail, it was a scenic detour through the Julian Alps and down the Soča Valley. There are no words we can find to properly explain the beauty of that area of Slovenia. All we have to say is that you must go for yourselves. A particular highlight was the slightly less well known Tolmin Gorge which had a bridge  that provided excellent photographic opportunities but also gave every single one of us vertigo!

 

Vertigo over Tolmin Gorge

 

We arrived in Trieste at night, something Bharat would later grumble about given the Fiat still had one broken headlight (our solution now is to try and only drive in the day as nobody knows how to change the bulb!). We hadn’t appreciated how hilly and windy Trieste was until we went up and down, up and down, round and round trying to find our host’s (Giuila and Diego) apartment. Eventually we arrived due to James’ exceptional detective skills (i.e. walking up and down every street in Trieste) – it is a city that is planned only for locals; good luck to you if you visit.

 

Funniest moment:

  • Day 22: After seeing the church in the middle of Lake Bled, Rachel and Abigail tried to row James back to the shore and helplessly started to go round and round and round in circles. Bharat was getting very stressed about having to pay the fine for the 30 extra seconds that they were on the water and meanwhile the leathered Slovene woman was having heart palpitations and shouting after seeing the reason for the circling was due to Rachel and Abigail sitting side by side, trying to row with one oar each…
  • Day 23: Bharat and Peter had opted out of canoeing on Lake Bohinj and decided to walk ¾ of the way around the lake instead. Tired, they then opted out of the climb up to some spectacular waterfalls. Bored, sitting waiting for Amy, Rachel, Abigail and James to hike up and then back again, they decided to go home in the tuk tuk, only to realise they’d left the house keys in Abigail’s car. Bharat and Peter had to wait a painful 25 minutes in the freezing cold before the waterfall party arrived home to find Bharat, in shorts and t-shirt, bent double shivering with the bright orange blanket spread over his and Peter’s heads as they waited to be let in.
  • Day 24: Forgetting that we were in Italy, and being British, we shovelled down the snacks we were given by Giulia and Deago (our hosts in Trieste) thinking that it might be the only food we got that evening. However, much to our horrified amusement there was a never ending stream of culinary delights to come. After meats and cheeses, lasagne, asparagus pasta, a salad AND then a meat course, and then pudding it was game over, even for James. We all retired to our beds, jean buttons undone and clutching our bellies.

 

Memory of Emily: Across the Slovene gorges they have multiple rickety footbridges which reminded us of when we went to Tanzania on a family holiday and Emily, aged 5, had to cross a bridge, high above crocodile infested waters, that could only carry one person at a time. As she crossed the creaking wooden slats, Bharat instructed her to only step when she had moved her hand along the metal wire ‘railing’, as the bridge had totally open sides. 3 steps in and she was walking along, hands by her side, unable to hear Bharat & Rachel’s screams due to the force of the river below!

 

Dunce of the Day:

  • Day 22: Amy who chose an overly edgy café for breakfast where we waited an hour to be served, had to sit on separate tables, and were made to eat cold, “minimalist” eggs.
  • Day 23: Bharat who, without fail, comments on how he can’t possible eat a whole main course for dinner, and then, without fail, manages to very easily eat his entire meal and have some of everyone else’s plus an icecream.
  • Day 24: James for taking control over the route through the Tolmin Gorges only to tell the team at the bottom of the Gorge they had to climb 80% of the way up again because he’d missed the crucial turn on the map.

 

Tuk Tuk Trivia:

  • Number of fat Slovenians: 0
  • Number of floors climbed in one day: 107
  • Number of times Rachel hit Abigail on the head with her oar in the kayak: 10
  • Number of times we flew the drone in 2 days: 11
  • Number of times Amy almost crashed the drone: 2

 Countries Visited:  14 out of 21

Sponsor of Slovenia: Assured Bathing Solutions:

 Thank you to David Eatwell of Cotswold-based Assured Bathing Solutions Ltd for his support. They are bathroom contractors who are experts in bathrooms for people with mobility issues. If you would like a quote for any bathroom (with or without mobility needs) then tel: 01452 613009 or email: david@assuredmobilityltd.co.uk

Rest ASSURED no BATHING took place in this bath tub!

 

If you haven’t donated there is still time! Please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tuktuktoturkey

 

Vintgar Gorge

 

Perched!

Reflections at dusk over Lake Bohinj

 

It’s a long long long way down!

 

The view of the tuk tuk gnome from the back seat

 

5 layers, 2 hats, 1 scarf and still cold!

 

A vision in blue!

 

The wobbly bridge that reminded us of a scary few minutes with Emily in Tanzania

 

Soča Gorge, Slovenia

 

Tuk Tuk trundles over the Tolmin Gorge

 

Our picnic spot on Lake Bohinj with Peter and Abigail