Friday, 9 September 2016

THAT'S A BIT STEEP...HELLO SLOVENIA

9th September 2016

I had assumed that after Kotschach, it would be an easy run to Lake Bled,but we all know what assumptions do. The problem was we were in a great long valley with great high mountains either side and I thought there was a road on the map which followed the motorway. ...which we can't use without buying an Austrian Go Box and giving them permission to charge a credit card whenever they wanted with whatever they wanted. However, the Tomtom said this road no longer existed and we would have to take the Wurzen Pass. As this road was so busy, the Tomtom had to be right as no one would use it if there was an easier alternative. I looked it up in the Caravan Club book on mountain passes.....prohibited to caravans all year,minimum width 4m (we are 2.4m,mirrors folded)and constant gradient 20% or 1in5. With sinking heart I Youtubed it (there's always a biker video of every dodgy road somewhere )and it didn't look too bad. No apparent tunnels or hairpin; the gradient wasn't really apparent but the road surface circa 2013 was horrendous. In reality, the surface on the Austrian side had got worse (up) and narrower on the Slovenian side (down)
The gradient had to be seen to be believed and the automatic couldn't handle it, even in Hill Mode. Fortunately the gear box has a semi - auto mode which I've never used until today as 2 nd gear was needed most of the time up and down. The good thing was that it was only 3.6km up and 3.8km down and we didn't meet anything except cars and bikers (hundreds)although we passed several big motorhomes and a lorry or 2 after the descent which I'm very glad we hadn't met earlier. Border post at the top but the only activity was on the other side of the road checking entry into Austria.  From there a straightforward and pleasant run through a valley to Lake Bled which is berserk with holidaymakers but every bit as scenic as we hoped. Stopping at Camping Lake Bled just 2.5kms outside on Lake and cycle path.  Site seemed to be heaving but it was the last of the 12 o'clock checkouts at reception. No problem to find nice pitch and settle in for a week.....with excellent free WiFi.

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