For my first trip on the motorcycle longer than a day, I saw BIG and went on a two-week drive with a friend of mine through Slovenian, Italian and Austrian Alps. This time off the screens and outside of my everyday life was very much needed. As you'll see, we've been very lucky with the weather, with only the last day and half greeting us back to Austria with pouring rain and hail, though we also had our share of (mis)adventures. We rarely planned where to sleep the same day, allowing us to stop almost wherever and whenever we wanted to spend the night.
Day 1 - Vienna to Slovenia
17 June 2022
Most of the first day was spent rallying Slovenia via the Austrian highway since we've driven most of this part of Austria already. This was already a surprising drive since it was mostly gravel roads in Slovenia. However, arriving slightly before sunset gifted us a spectacular view over Kamnik–Savinja Alps. We had in mind to stop at Camper Stop Logarska Valley but they didn't accept motorbikes (yet), which was rather unfortunate since it was already 9pm and we didn't have a backup plan. They suggested we drive to Camp Šmica which was just 10 minutes away. It's at that moment that my helmet visor decided to break (but it could stay fully open or closed, so that wasn't too bad).
Day 2 - Obel Kamen and Logarska Dolina
18 June 2022
On Day 2, we treated ourselves with a long hike from Tourist Farm Rogar to Obel Kamen, at the border between Austria and Slovenia. The hike was long and tiring, the weather great albeit a bit too warm but it was an excellent day! We then decided to spend the night in the touristy but oh-so-beautiful Logarska Dolina. Even though it was a week-end day, it was outside local school holidays so we were surprised by how difficult it was to find accommodation for the night. We ended up sleeping in a wood house next to a hotel, where hay was drying in child beds while music was playing "to make the hay more nutritious to animals". The stuff of nightmares, feeding from my obsession with horror/mystery books and movies.
Day 3 - Twisty roads to Bled
19 June 2022
The goal was to join the touristy Bled by the end of the day, driving on nice and twisty roads. I ended up dropping my bike in a hairpin curve while going uphill because I put it in neutral instead of first gear. A slightly bent mirror and some scratches on a borrowed top-case later, I'm glad I put those crashbars to protect the rest of the bike. Also happy to not have been alone since the bike was quite difficult to put back on its two wheels while loaded. We stopped for late lunch next to Sveti Jošt church, located at the top of a hill next to Kranjem. We then arrived in Bled to find that the camping site we were targeting was full (again, outside of school holidays, on a Sunday evening?). We ended up renting something from Booking dot com and went to the city center for dinner, which was also not that easy to find. That's the day we decided we should book something in the morning or at lunch break so we can avoid the stress of finding a place to stay while on-site. All in all, we didn't find Bled really appealing, way too busy for us.
Day 4 - Vintgar gorge
20 June 2022
Having seen enough of the busy Bled, we went for a stroll at the renown Vintgar gorge. The road to the entrance was actually very hard to find due to construction work. I was pretty happy to be driving a motorcycle and not a car because some of the taken roads were barely wide enough for a car to pass, and they were two-way roads. The gorge in itself was very pretty and not too busy outside of weekends and summer break (it is apparently extremely crowded during holidays/summer). The hike back from the gorge to the parking lot was a bit long especially in motorcycle gear in this end-of-Spring weather.
Then it was time to go to our next destination Bohinjsko lake, but obviously not through the boring roads... No, the country gravel-and-rocks-rarely-taken roads, as suggested by our host in Bled. The roads were rough, a bit too much for my tires it seems as I discovered a flat tire right after we the end of the section. In the middle of the forest with very little traffic and no cell service, it was the perfect location to stop. After driving my friend's bike for 5min to find some cell coverage, I spent about an hour and a half on the phone trying to organize a tow truck pick-up with my insurance going through the hoops. I had noted neither the insurance phone number, my insurance policy number nor my GPS coordinates. I shall now prepare for next trip better. After organizing the pick-up, I went back to my bike to find it fixed by my friend and a good Samaritan who happened to go through the forest too. Then, I tried to find a workshop where to fix my tire more permanently so we could continue the trip without stressing over it the whole time. Monday evening at 6.30pm... in the middle of Slovenian country side... that's pushing our luck. I eventually found a car tire shop mechanics who nicely reopened his workshop for me. After looking at the tire, he told me my tire was too slick for him to do a nicer repair than I already had but offered to change the tire the next days, which I accepted. Now time to go to our camping ground for the night and take some rest after this eventful day.
Day 5 - Seven Lakes Valley hike
21 June 2022
While the Bohinjsko lake looks really nice, my road trip companion and I prefer mountains, so we went hiking on the Seven Lakes Valley hike in Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. We had to drive on some dirt roads and pass a 15€/day toll gate to reach the beginning of the trail, Planina Blato. There's a parking just before the toll gate but it took us a good 10 minutes of driving to the start of the trail so it was probably worth it in the end. We hiked first to Planina Pri Jezeru, then Planina Dedno Polje, through Planina Ovcarija to reach Triglavskih Jezerih Hut. The hike up was nice though I expected more scenery, but I really enjoyed the hike back to Planina Blato through different trails. It felt like going through a peaceful jungle. All in all, the hike was around 6-7 hours and I'm really glad we went for it, it allowed me to think about something else than my freshly-repaired tire :)
New surprise half-an-hour on the way back to our camping ground, my friend discovers he had forgotten his credit card in the toll booth card reader by the trail. We had just enough time to panic before a woman said she had found my friend's card and caught up to us to give it back to him. Pfew!
Day 6 - Bohinjsko lake
22 June 2022
I went back to the tire shop mechanics to get my tire changed early in the morning so I don't have to stress myself out on the rest of the trip (still 3 quarters of it remains, so the tire better has to last that long!). The mechanics swapped it for a new one, I went back on the road and my brakes gave up on me on the first brake attempt. Back to the tire shop mechanic to get it checked out. Turns out he didn't fasten the calipers well enough, they rotated with the wheel and snapped the brake hose in half. So I'm without a rear brake now... He ended up finding a replacement hand-made hose 24h later. That was quite the adventure! I went back to the lake for a deserving break and swimming session, to relax before taking the road again the next day.
Day 7 - Small riding day to Postojna
Time to get back on the saddle and continue the trip. Our stay at Camp Bohinj for a few nights was really nice, I can highly recommend it. We took my bike back from the workshop and drove in the direction of Postojna in preparation of Day 8 where we'll visit some caves! We ended up staying at the Guesthouse Mirjam for the night.
Day 8 - Postojna cave and Italy
24 June 2022
We packed up a bit late that morning and arrived 10min before the visit we expected to take tickets for started, so we were only allowed to take tickets for the one an hour later. After that time had passed, we entered the guided tour of the Postojna cave. I only got one decent shot in there because it was so dark for the camera (and camera flash were forbidden of course). While still outside of peak season, it was already crowded. The ~30€ fee makes you think twice but I'm glad we did it (won't do it again though :) ). We then decided to go check out the other (less renown) Slovenian caves nearby, Škocjan Caves. Since we were on a tight schedule that day, we didn't take the time to visit but just took picture from a small trail.
Then it was time to reach the Mediterranean sea and continue our journey. We wanted to see the sea in Trieste so we had to go through the city and we kind of forgot it was Friday evening, so there was a lot of traffic and people on the "beach". We ended up not having much time except for a few pictures and had to hurry to reach our hotel, Hotel Caneo in Gardo, Italy. Just as we arrived, 15m before they closed check-in, it started to pour rain. Once the sky had cleared up, we were surprised by a five-masted ship on the horizon we believe is the Golden Horizon. After dinner, we went on a small stroll next to the hotel, to check out the sea and the end of the Isonzo river.
Day 9 - Dolomites
25 June 2022
Next stop is the Dolomites. This was probably the longest and more tiresome drive of the trip. It was about 300km but we were on the road for about 8 hours, because of the nice little twisty roads and the occasional slow car in front of us, as well as long traffic lights where construction work was forcing roads in alternating one-way car traffic. It was also especially stressful because the camping ground we were planning to stay at would not let us reserve an area and they kept saying they didn't know if they would have some free space by the time we arrive, so we knew we had to be "quick". Which made me even more stressed the moment we realized I put the wrong address in the GPS and we were still 30min away from the camping ground while a load of cars and motorbikes were on the roads with us. Except the roads where construction was going on and the hour of highway to get to the interesting part of the day, it was a really nice day albeit exhausting. We were happy and relieved to find a free camping spot where we intended to stop for the week-end, at Camping Marmolada. Upon arrival, we understood why the person we had on the phone wouldn't confirm anything, there was a mountain bike competition during the whole week-end in the very center of the village and most spots were taken by competitors.
Day 10 - Piz Boè
26 June 2022
It's been a few days since last hike so we decided to drive around Piz Boè, and do a small hike in Passo Pordoi. We reached Fredarola refuge, then Viel Dal Pan refuge where we went up again to find the nearest top of the mountain. It wasn't really a beaten path but it really was worth it! The landscape was spectacular and the weather was awfully nice.
Day 11 - Stelvio Pass
27 June 2022
Since we weren't that far from the Stelvio Pass, we decided to cross this one item on most biker bucket lists. This was again a really long day on the bike. I might have hyped myself up too much because I honestly didn't think it was worth the detour. I think I'd have rather stayed in the Dolomites a day or two instead of driving there. Well, at least it's crossed off the bucket list :) We stayed at Camping Badlerhof for the night. It was a quite interesting location since a church with a bell was 50m away and train rails were separating us.
Day 12 - Innsbruck
Since we wanted to stop in Kufstein to visit my sister, we decided to stop at Innsbruck too, to visit an hour or two before reaching her place. The moment we reached the Tiroler Landesmuseen museum, to admire the view from its panoramic patio, we were greeted by hail and pouring rain. So we waited a bit for it to stop and decided to rally Kufstein as quickly as possible to dry and rest.
Day 13 - Glass blowing and Mittelstätersee
We went to the workshop where my sister worked to see how people make glasses and even got the opportunity to blow our own wine glass! It was fascinating to see how it's made, the whole process looking like people playing in an orchestra. We had planned to go to Großglockener, the highest mountain in Austria, on the way back to Vienna, but the bad weather convinced us of not doing it. Not worth the time and money if it was just about driving in a cloud or in poor conditions. We'll have to schedule this for a next trip :) Instead, we drove to Millstätersee where we spent the night and decided to go back to Vienna the next day.
Day 14 - Back to Vienna
Staying in Mittstätersee proved to be a wise move, as landslides occurred North of this location overnight and we had a really difficult time to go on the East side of it without taking the highway.
This concludes our 14-day 2700km trip throughout Slovenia, Italy and Austria. We were extremely lucky with the weather and I really enjoyed the adventure. Here's to the next road trip!