Monday, 4 March 2013

Roadtrip Bovec to Idrija

Lol, it's, like, SIX PM and I am so tired I can't make it to the restroom :D But I am in a travelGood mood and chillaxing with the hubs in the bar of a super hostel in - Ajdovščina if you can believe it. Where!?.. Exactly. It's FAR. And we didn't drive here in a beeline, either. (Hence ridiculously exhausted.) Since 14 hours ago, we've meandered and waved up and down ridges, mountain passes, valleys, river bends, bridges, through ten feet of snow and swivelling through bora winds. This part of the country is the most removed from our base and at times the most difficult to reach. But it's march and though these are mountains, the weather is so brilliant it couldn't be any more photogenic. 
           We drove to Bohinj first, a neat, ultra removed village surrounded by our most majestic mountains, the Julian Alps. I needed to find home made loafs of cheese. Asking directions from a local lady, I got to know about pretty much every resident of Bovec and all their relatives up to thrice removed. Found the cheese, too. Moving on, we followed several rivers and photographed all their bridges and meeting points. (My latest obsession?) till Kobarid. Kobarid is located in the nicest valley in the world, yet littered with ghosts of the WW1.0 and all the views are soiled by the memorials and reminders of the confused, ugly war that ruined the area's appeal. For all the rivers the colour of opals, all the mist veiled tops, all the snowy ridges crowning the skyline, for every nature beauty imaginable, the screams and chill of hearts stopping are too much for my little unforgiving Imagination. Most na Soči, too. Perfect rivers meeting, I took a hundred photos, but no thanks. We didn't stop for lunch until Idrija. 
           Now Idrija is another story entirely. That's the coolest place I've met in a long time. Not so much because of the river and the bridges, but because this is the positive example of a city spawned over a mine. Some time ago some dude noticed his water jugs are heavy when he filled them in the creek and soon mercury was discovered to be found in abundance around. In such abundance, in fact, that after a century of extraction andnlast 30 years of survey, this is still the location of the 10% of all mercury on the planet. This industry was so fierce, Idrija grew the biggest houses, the best schools and sports teams and the worst attention from the occupying forces during political clashes. One tunnel has been turned into a museum, but I haven't had the chance to dig in. I did spend almost three hours in the castle, though. The first floor is a mining, ore and mineral and fossil exhibition. The General, who was waiting for me in the car, watching Ripper Street, digesting, was cross with me for being so late, but it was totally worth it. Last floor, after all he ethnic local lessons, was that of the Idrija lace. Amazing lace. But it makes me feel neurotic. Not sure why. I'll leave it off my 'wanna know how to do that' list and leave it to the eager ladies of the dedicated variety. The peeps in the museum were super friendly and allowed me to photograph everything. I bought all their postcard (also love postcards) and tried to see the biggest mill wheel in the continent, but it was closed. Oh, beforehand, we had out 'vice food day' and ate yummy local food. The famous chow here are the žlinkrofi. They're kinda like dumplings. I had them with shroomies first time ever. Almost ate them all, too :D
          So now here we are. We crossed a helluva ridge and descended into the Vipava valley. The last time I was here, I was crawling through dirt armed to the teeth in a mock battle manoeuvre. Subconsciously I tried to avoid this regions, as all who trained here tend to do, but the hostel listed here was on the top of my list. I have to write a little bit about it, because it justifies my humongous fondness of hostels.. Not that I have anything against hotels, I just so very seldom want to pay their fees, I rather camp. Hostels though... I simply love. I love them for their innovative architecture, their youthful air, the staff, the activities rooms, the prices, the music, other travellers... Although beyond sleepy, even the General has endured though two coffees and an hour of my writing to end the day in a youth hostel lounge. I'll post the pickies when we get home, because out beds are science fiction :D Like on an astronaut academy!! Unless something really bad happens, this hostel is going to be my favourite time of today. Even better than the rivers. Even better than the scenery. Even better than food. Even even better than the museum. Which is saying a LOT.