Wanderlust has got a tight grip on The Towers of Rust right now – my wife and I have got ourselves a minibreak booked in Slovenia in May. It’s all thanks to one of those last minute holiday websites. The last trip we went on, which took in Prague, Vienna and Budapest was organised in just such a way, and it took us quickly, effortlessly and oh so cheaply by rail between those great cities. This time its different.
This time, our package includes a rental car.
Exactly what it will be remains something of a mystery – and I don’t really care. In Iceland I ended up with an Opel Corsa automatic, and the incredible roads more than made up for the lukewarm conveyance. I’m kind of hoping the same will happen again. To say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement. I’ve even gone as far as buying a road atlas of Slovenia.
Our trip centres on the small town of Bohinjska Bistrica, and we’re only there for four days. It’s only about 45 miles from the airport to the hotel, and we’re supposed to be spending our limited time hiking and enjoying the scenery. That really doesn’t leave a lot of time for driving. But Googling ‘Slovenia best road’ brings up a host of positive sounding results – one of them places the road into Bohinjska right at the top of a list of 24 great motorcycling roads of Slovenia.
And then there are the mountain passes. I’ve done the Stelvio and the San Bernardino pass and they’re a bit special, but every image of Slovenian alpine asphalt I encounter looks like it was designed for the sole purpose of delivering driving pleasure.
I love looking at maps. I love exploring my destination before I get there, trying to imagine what I’m going to find. Yet, it seems redundant to look for what seems, on paper, to be the perfect stretch of blacktop. Far better just to gleefully accept what’s handed to us – there’s a good chance we’ll be pleasantly surprised.
With only four days at our disposal, we want to hit the ground running when we get there. We already have a book that outlines the best hiking routes in the Julian Alps, we have The Internet and the pictured Lonely Planet guide to Slovenia.
The latter has an amusing back story to it. We wanted a copy, and having had positive results from Amazon’s used book sales partners, we went for a copy of the 2nd most recent release – the 2013 printing – which was for sale for a few pence plus postage. We eagerly awaited its arrival and I heard the thunk of parcel-on-doormat one morning a few weeks after ordering. It was my wife, though, who noticed the book’s provenance.
It turned out to be an ex library book. But not from the UK – it was withdrawn from Tigard Public Library, Tigard, Washington County, OR. This means there’s the possibility that this book has been borrowed from a Library in Oregon, taken on a trip to Slovenia, then returned to the USA, withdrawn from use, sold, shipped to the UK and will now be taken back to Slovenia. In fact, I really hope this is the case.
So, I do it with maps. What do you do to prolong the anticipation of a driving trip?
(All images Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2017)