21.07.2017 - 21.07.2017 35 °C
Day 58 Friday July 21 2017 / Mladenovac to Ljubliana / 579 KM / Motorway most of the day.
Border Crossings: Serbia - Croatia - Slovenia
- Breakfast is not served at Motel Jezero until 9 a.m. With such a long drive ahead and hot, sunny weather forecast, this is too late to wait. We heat up our last remaining packets of camping food, make a brew of coffee and are on the road just after 8.
- it is a short drive to the motorway route E75 that heads to Belgrade and circumnavigates the worst of the city's rush hour traffic. We are soon on our way to the Croatian border, another access point into the EU.
- Our documentation, both personal & vehicle is given a cursory check by Border police.
- We are again grateful that we are headed back to Blighty (as AG has the habit of referring to our British shores ). Rather than somewhere on the European coast. There is a 3 km double lane queue to get into Serbia. Most vehicles will be passing through to other countries.
- Freedom of movement in Europe makes cash road tolls a very lucrative business. And yet the UK charges annual road tax only to its poor British residents.
- Some 20 kms into Croatia there is a further roadside check of vehicles. They ensure that number plates match the paperwork and that neither the vehicle nor driver is on any active police alert list. They have a direct link to their national security system.
- We are legal, have nothing to hide and do not mind at all about such 'stop & search ' procedures. Liberal lefties supporting our human rights in this respect, please note.
- Congratulations to Croatia for taking border control seriously. Shame on Greece.
- So past Zagreb and on towards the Slovenia border. Another EU country ( since 2004 ) and part of the euro and Schengen zone. It is also vignette country. A week is the minimum period - we are in Slovenia for 2 days & 1 night. We must pay 15 euros for the pleasure.
- According to Plan A, we should have been staying longer in Slovenia and exploring this beautiful country in greater detail. If Ljubliana is representative of what is on offer, we will definitely be back.
- The capital city is a revelation. It has the climate & sophistication of Italy but the grand architecture & scenery of Central Europe. English is widely spoken, levels of cleanliness & customer service are good. It's definitely a long weekend destination to add to your list.
- Easyjet have already identified its potential : its online brochure states: Slovenia's capital is one of the best kept secrets in Europe. Often described as Prague in miniature, minus the crowds compared to Salzburg for its setting and Vienna for its architecture...
- Actually we rate it higher than any of those cities. it is as yet probably not a common destination for hen parties and stag adventures. Please God may it stay that way.
- It goes without saying that Plan B does not allow us to do justice to Ljubiliana.
- Our hotel, B&B Slamic is located just outside the old part of town, but within a 5 minute walk. It offers parking. A precious commodity in many European cities.
- But there are many small hotels & AirBnB appartments within old Ljubiliana that may be of more interest if you fly rather than drive. For this is where the cultural action and many of the historic sights are concentrated.
- Ljubiliana has an extensive pedestrianised zone that leads along the river and around the castle which dominates this part of the city. In cooler temperatures and with more time on our hands we would have walked up. Instead we take the funicular up & down.
- There looks to be a good range of continental shopping in town and abundant choice of bars, cafes & restaurants, often with outdoor seating. We have a pre dinner drink at such a pavement cafe, then dine in the courtyard of the Spajze Restaurant.
- After our meal we meander back through the old town towards the river. We come across a couple of musicians playing live classical music - free. The mini illuminated stage and sound equipment indicate they are not buskers and that their performance is a scheduled event.
- Further on more noise - far from classical - no it's a beach volley ball match between Slovenia & Holland. Temporary scaffolding with seating has been erected around the sand filled pitch. Again it is free. We follow the crowds, find a couple of seats and spectate our first ever beach volleyball. We can see the appeal!
- Match over, victory to Slovenia and we continue our way back to our hotel. The city is packed with revellers. It's a fine summer's evening in a beautiful setting. Ljubiliana is certainly having fun.
- P.S. The city also has a Christmas market. ?