Maribor: a bit Maribored.

Saturday 25th July

We’re spending a week in Maribor, a pretty, mountainous region in the north of Slovenia. Eric was feeling quite burnt out and wanted a week doing nothing. As I am the person who sits on the back of the bike daydreaming while Eric steers and navigates, I had to say that he had earned some time off. So here we are.

In the night there was one huge thunderstorm – lighting every 10 seconds, enormous booms of thunder, howling wind and pounding rain. The continent seems to have such massive and frequent storms compared to the UK.

There is an out of season ski slope by our campsite, so the next morning we decided to walk up there to the peak, which was promisingly named Bellevue.

The hill didn’t look that big, but it turned out to be much longer and steeper than we had anticipated. Also, we were wearing flip flops. Why do we always wear flip flops?

We staggered up the steep, muddy, rocky paths, sweating buckets.

It was quite interesting to walk up a ski slope in summer. It made me realise how steep the slopes are. We could very much (longingly) imagine skiing down them.

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As we neared the top we saw some of the storm’s impressive work from the night before.

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After an hour we reached the top. We had gone from 300 to about 1100 metres in altitude, and the air was noticeably cooler up here. The belle view was pretty belle, but in the end I ran out of time to take some good pictures – here’s the best I got.

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Now that we were at the top we could finally say the magic word: lunch. We ate ham, mozzarella and tomato sandwiches and strudel bars on a bench overlooking the view.

Not ready to stop being lazy, we then got a drink at a bar and lay back in deck chairs. Eric read, I read for about 5 minutes and then had a nap.

I woke 40 minutes later to the near-ish rumble of thunder. I had a flashback to the flattened trees we’d seen on the way up.

‘Time to go,’ we said. Instead of walking back we took the gondola, seeing some dramatic flashes of lightening on the way down.

5 minutes after we reached the bottom they stopped the gondola. We congratulated ourselves on our astute storm-dodging reactions.

We hot-footed it back to the campsite, got the washing in as huge lightening bolts split the sky, and then sat under the awning and enjoyed the show. Three huge banks of purple clouds approached us from different sides. The lightening was pretty amazing.

An hour later it was all over and sunny again.


Sunday 26th July

The outing of the day was Maribor town centre – Sunday is a terrible day to go, but the weather forecast for the rest of the week was looking grim, so it was go now or be rained on.

It’s a small, pretty place with some nice views of the river.

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We also saw the world’s oldest grape vine (it has a plaque – it’s official!). It’s about 400 years old.

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Monday 27th July

Rain, rain, rain. I am trying to do useful things, but am quite bored.

Eric is perfectly happy doing nothing (damn him).

The rain cleared up at around 3 today, and I went for a walk by myself, which strikes me as a bit of an angsty teen thing to do… but going from hours of cycling per day to doing nothing physical has left me with a lot of energy to burn.

Soggy rainclouds.

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Tuesday 28th July

Today I cut Eric’s hair. It rained.


Wednesday 29th July

It had stopped raining by 2.30 (just assume that unless I say otherwise, it is raining) so we took the gondola up the mountain.

It took us above some low-lying clouds, so we got some interesting views.

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We then took a long and windy path back down through the trees, enjoying some fresh mountain air.

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It was actually the wrong path. We ended up on the wrong side of the mountain, and had to walk for an hour and a half to get back to the campsite.

On the way back we saw a very interesting front garden!

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And a dramatic view.

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It was nice to get out and have a walk in the not-raining air.


Thursday 30th July

The rain stopped at around midday. We used today to do lots of little jobs, sorting out student loan company stuff, insurance, online banking…

I will probably look back on this week with fond memories of fresh air, no mosquitoes, rest and relaxation… but for the record I will say THANK GOD we are back to cycling tomorrow!

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