Slovenia: Crossing the border

A red moon led me through forests on the eastern frontier of Italy tonight. With some apprehension as to what lay ahead in Slovenia, I prepared for a long night ride by sitting down for a late pasta dinner and caffé longo before crossing the border.

Initial impressions of Slovenia:

  1. After not seeing a hill that extended higher than a highway overpass in all of northern Italy, I almost forgot these things existed. They do, and Slovenia has lots of them.
  2. The names of towns in Slovenia are far more badass than those in Italy. Consider the lovely hamlet of ‘Volčja Draga’ that I’m passing through right now, with its name that surely alludes to the volcano dragons who once called this place home. Now compare that to Italy’s ‘Belgioioso’, or to any town that begins with ‘Pizza’ and ends with a long combination of vowels, punctuated by some random consonant thrown in there for good measure. I think you’ll agree that the Slovenians are winning at this game.

Ljubljana tomorrow, then Varazdin…

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Slovenia: Green hills, fuchsia hair, yellow flowers

There have been some surreal moments on this trip so far, but last night’s ride into Slovenia may have topped this list. The road led through a series of hilly border towns and then pitched upwards into the wilderness, continuing to rise higher without any sign of topping out. Following an hour of climbing with only the moon lighting my way, I began to question whether I’d reach another town before the need for sleep overcame me. As the time approached 3:30am, it became clear I was nearing the top of the climb. I collapsed on a hillside a short ways off the road, having confirmed that breakfast would be a short ride (down a long steep descent) in the morning.

First glimpses of Slovenia in the daylight, where I awoke after a long night ride

Today my legs were completely fried from last night’s climbing. Multiple Slovenian women with fuchsia-dyed hair pedaled past me on cruisers. A tween on a mountain bike just overtook me as I muddled my way through a detour around a prohibited road I’d planned on riding out of Ljubljana. I’ve opted to take a break from the heat now with hopes of covering more mileage this evening to get a stone’s throw from the Croatian border.