areas, which are filled with amenities and, well, other people. To camp solo, one must either hike to one of the several
sanctioned cabins strategically located throughout Triglav
National Park (and hope that it is not already occupied) or
approach the owner of a stretch of farmland and request
permission to stay the night. This all sounded fairly time-consuming, so when we finally located Lake Bohinj, we
pitched our tent at Camp Zlatorog.
The sunset found me waist-deep in Bohinj’s calm, algid
waters, a sigh of sincere serenity hanging in the dusky air
and the taste of Laško — Slovenia’s ale of choice — lingering on my lips. Zlatorog’s camp restaurant provided ample
picnic tables and a basic but welcome menu of food and
drink, along with a wholesome family vibe reminiscent of
Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing — animated card games supplemented by laughter and a soundtrack of ’80s pop.
What Zlatorog lacked in privacy was made up for by
locale, with tents positioned in a wooded area bordering the
lake. Down the road, arduous trails slithered upward toward
a number of sister pools, laid out like lily pads in the Julian
Alps’ higher perches. A hike was definitely in order.
As the Wind Blows
If this trip had a theme, spontaneity was certainly it. The
planning I had attempted prior to flying over — 11 hours
from SFO to Munich followed by two hours to Slovenia on
the ever-so-accommodating Lufthansa — had been discarded after the rental car indulgence and subsequent Bled
debacle, and instead we (a “we” that included an i Phone,
Wi-Fi and TripAdvisor) took each day as it came. This sort
of adventure is liberating as long as you remain thoughtful
in regard to impromptu decisions, which, on our first official
morning in Bohinj, we did not.
With nothing but bread rolls in our bellies and packaged
apple strudel in our day packs, we began what camp staffers
assured was an easy-to-moderate hike to a waterfall followed by the series of alpine lakes. Seasoned hikers both, we
confidently strode toward the sky ward trails, saying hello
to fellow hikers (none American, all English speakers) while
smugly snickering at their inappropriate footwear. These
friendly hikers were clearly not in it for the long haul.
As it turns out, neither were we. The requisite hour and a
half brought no lakes, only a steep and steadily rising forest
Slovenia’s 29-mile stretch of Adriatic coastline is reminiscent of
neighboring Croatia: Slavic and Italian influences intermingle while
locals enjoy an unhurried, Old World approach to life.
This page, from top:
The seaside city of
Piran; a storybook
stairway in the
Tolmin Gorges; the
of Predjama Castle.