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Slovenia Again Part 2

Wednesday 5th September
Today’s plan was to head to Tromeja,  the border of Slovenia, Austria and Italy. I had a few possible routes planned.  Route one was through Italy but not  on recognised paths. The other two routes stayed in Slovenia just north of  Rateče.
Not knowing how good the paths on the Italian side would be, I decided to stay in Slovenia. 
Tree management was taking place along the route and I concluded it would be easier to get past the workers on the wider track rather than the narrow path through the trees. Besides, I had taken the route through the woods last year, albeit in thick snow. 
Today was another lovely warm, sunny day and I was soon down to t-shirt and shorts. It was a pleasant, easy walk up to the peak.
At the top, it seemed a number of people had taken chair lift up from Austria and strolled to the border. Needless to say they were fully kitted up; “all the gear but no idea”. One of my gripes climbing Snowdon  is reaching the summit to find people swarming around after getting off the train, but I digress.
I managed to find a quiet spot off the footpaths. I dug out the lunch I acquired at breakfast and sat a while with a fantastic, endless view over Austria.

View over Austria

I  returned to the border, a place where, if you had three legs, you can stand in three different countries at the same time.  From there, I retraced my route for a while before taking a track to my right heading south.  I clambered over a stack of logs before heading south through a clearing in the trees. I hit another ‘fence of logs’ and carried on.
Hmmm, I seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. A quick check on my GPS and yes, I was heading down a dead end although, there are worse places to be ‘lost’. I was in a lovely dense pine forest. The smell was fantastic.

Beware of the bull
No translation required!

I went back to the log fence where I saw a group of English people sliding the top rows of logs across. Ah, so that’s how it works!
I pointed out to them that the track they were following was unlikely to be the one they wanted but they pressed on regardless. I do wonder what happened them.
The  actual path was hard to find. It is a track to the left  close to pylons. Once on the right route, I continued though a field of cows who were very reluctant to get out of my way!
The rest of the walk was far easier to follow and brought me out in the village of Podkoren. The path to Kranjska Gora is at the east side of the village, just before the main road and passing over a stream.
The path enters woodland just after passing a field containing ostriches. There are a few routes back to Kranjska Gora. One, lower walk, follows the river, I climbed to a higher path.
This route is available as a GPX file.

After dinner I took a stroll to the edge of town towards the petrol station for some bat spotting.

Thursday 6th September
I wanted an early start to day and woke at around 06.30. I got my bag packed and clothes ready and wandered down to breakfast which started at 7, it was already busy.
I filed myself with eggy bread,  bacon, omelette and croquettes.
After initially thinking, “tea and coffee making facilities, that’s a novelty”, I found myself getting peeved that my supplies hadn’t been replenished. I hid the last of the teabags in a drawer in the hope that would prompt housekeeping to leave me some more.

I decided I’d walk the first half of the route today. 21 miles should be do-able, I’d already proved that earlier in the week, besides, I didn’t want to try and pronounce Mojstrana to the bus driver!
Two hours twenty minutes later, I reached the start to get to start of walk, by  the Alpine Museum in Mojstrana.
The Triglavska Bistrica Trail runs along the Triglavska Bistrica River  along roads and paths to the Vrata Valley and the north face of Triglav.
Once again I passed the Peričnik Fall. Further along the route was the Galerije, an impressive collection of overhanging rocks.
After stopping at Aljažev dom to use their facilities, I continued on to the majestic north face of Triglav.

view of Trigav, highest peak in Slovenia

I decided that it was just a little too much to walk back so I took the bus back from Mojstrana to Kranjska Gora. The bus arrived at 15:30. I couldn’t decide if this was the bus I planned to get running very late or the next bus running early. Either way, it was a comfortable and quick way back to the hotel.
The website https://www.alpetour.si/en/public-transport/bus-schedule-browser great for finding the times of buses, length of journey and cost.


Lake Jasna Kranjska Gora

I was knackered, but resisted temptation to go to room, instead, went to Pri Jezersk, a little bar near the lake. 
It was well worth the 2 mile round trip. I sat with a nice drink and a beautiful view of lake.
I had timed my day perfectly, getting to my room just as the thunder and torrential rain started.  In the room, my coffee supply had been replenished but only decaff….must think I need calming down!

Fri 7th September
Just went for the cereal  for breakfast today, wasn’t planning strenuous day…but what’s the saying about best laid plans?
Again, it was a nice warm day, albeit a bit cloudier.  Took D2 as far as the Zelenci nature reserve.  After wandering around for a short while, I rejoined D2 and walked to Ratece before taking the road to Planica. Work was under way on a new  cycle and footpath from Ratece.
Ski jumping was taking place in Planica, nothing new there, however, there was no snow!   The centre also has an indoor real snow cross country course, complete with snowman!

B24 memorial near Planica Slovenia

Continuing south from Planica, I started a circular walk to the waterfall  Slap Nadiža. Passing the church and Tamar mountain hut, I went to see the memorial for a B24 bomber which had crashed in the area during World War 2.
I then headed towards the waterfall.

 

 

 

Waterfall near Planica, Kranjska Gora

The path soon became a more of a hands on scramble than a walk. 
I gained height quickly over the rocky terrain and the views back down to the valley below were lovely.
Personally, I think Mojstrana is the more impressive waterfall of the two but Nadiža is well worth a visit!

I took the other path back towards Planica to make this part of the walk circular.

After dinner I popped out to see Harley Davidson events.  Sporty bar had stage set up and Harley Village near the village centre. A great AC-DC tribute band were playing and the roads were filled with motorcycles.
A great way to spend the last night!!

Friday 8th September
My last day 😢
Chips on the menu at breakfast so had to have one for novelty value!
This was likely to be my only hot meal of the day so I filled my boots.  Pancake with lemon to start, bacon (which is fantastic), two types of sausage, hard boiled egg, veg and a cheesy bread roll.
For the large part of my holiday, the football team
NK Olimpija  were staying at my hotel. I noticed a signed shirt at breakfast. I suspect it’ll be auctioned off.
The team were busy doing touristy things today, some in cafes, a couple on the Vitranc cable car, saw some more on a coach trip.

It didn’t take long to pack then I wandered downstairs, paid my €15 for the week’s drinks, left my luggage in a cupboard near reception and went for a final walk.
The weather was glorious. Such a shame to be leaving. I circled Lake Jasna before zigzagging around the village and took the D2 cycle way to Zelenci.
Everywhere was quite busy today, especially with the Harley Davidson European Bike Week event which was taking place. The main venue seems to be in Austria but it makes sense to extend it across the border over some great mountain passes.
All too soon and 10 miles later it was pick up time.
We rook road over Karavanke mountains stopping at the same services we did coming out. Had my 50 cents ready for the toilet I was realising Austria is an expensive place especially compared to Slovenia!
I sat out on the grass outside, eating my breakfast banana and chatting to a couple who sat next to me on the minibus coming out . I think most of us could have done without the long wait at the services.
Salzburg airport terrace We arrived at the airport nice and early, before check in. While the others follows the rep, I glanced at the screen and made my way to the front of the check in queue.
After checking in, I went for a wander to the control tower and for a peek at the apron. As I walked back I noticed an open roof top terrace. That’ll do!
There’s definitely more to see and do in this airport before you pass through security. As the flight has been delayed 20 minutes and there was no queue at all for security, I hung around a while. Not that there was much going on on the tarmac. It is a very quiet airport.
Needless to say there are no screens on the terrace so, just in case the inbound flight made up some time, I wandered to security 20 minutes before we were due to board.
Straight through security, I wish all were so quick and easy.

Given the time of the flight (19.35) I thought I’d grab some food to take on the flight. Ideally I’d have got a nice, cheap sandwich from the Mercator but, a baguette can be a dangerous thing to take through airport security so I bought a salami and cheese baguette at the airport for the extortionate price of €7.
Top tip, of flying with Flybe, just buy a sandwich on board. Luckily I’d noticed that rather than pay silly prices for a drink in the cafe, I could get a water for a Euro
This ‘snack’ was getting close to what I’d spent all week in Slovenia!
It always amuses me that people rush to board when its obvious that there is a bus transfer to the aircraft and you have allocated seating. I hung back and charged my phone. Paying that much for a sandwich I was going to use some of their electricity!

And so after almost 150 miles of walking, fantastic views, lovely people and an unexpected concert, I was heading back to England……. thinking about my next and 10th trip to Slovenia.

 

 

 

Getting out in the countryside

Monday 4th

I started the day on the Subway, red line number 2 to Brooklyn.
It’s worth pointing out then when entering station, check it doesn’t specify which lines/directions it serves, some entrances are for just the one line and once you swipe your ticket you have to wait 10 mins or so before you can use it again.  I had a 7 day pass so it’s not an problem, however I suspect it may be an issue if you’ve paid for a single journey.  Incidentally the 7 day unlimited pass for around $32 (plus initial $1 for the new card) is well worth getting.
I’d already mastered finding my way around on the Subway, it’s easy to use and trains are frequent. Unfortunately, however, they can become very, very crowded and there are some ‘interesting’ people on board at times.
View from Brooklyn, New YorkI got off the train at Hoyt Street and wandered down the shopping street, on to Brooklyn Bridge road and Pearl Street towards the park on the water front. The path along the waters edge offers great views over to Manhattan’s distinctive sky line.
I continued to Pier 5 and decided I had to make a return trip one evening.
I moved inland and took a wander around Brooklyn, finding a couple of potential places for evening meals. Tonight though, dinner was taken at Da Gennaro in Little Italy. A real tourist trap, the restaurants here are not cheap! The carpaccio starter and lobster ravioli were extremely good though.


Tuesday 5th

After breakfast, walked towards the Yankee stadium and the Yankees-E. 153rd Street train station.
I paid the $5.50 train fare and waited on the platform along with a few others for the Croton Harmon train. It was due at the same time as a train going the other direction towards Grand Central so I didn’t think anything of it when a train came in. on the other platform. I then noticed other passengers running up the stairs.
I’ve no idea what became of the Grand Central train but the one to Croton had been moved onto the other platform. I quickly ran up the stairs and over the bridge. As I boarded the train a man in front of me shook his head, “they’re always doing this” he sighed.
The train journey was pleasant and I was surprised how quickly we left the city.
Getting off the train at Croton I wandered through the streets in the pleasant leafy suburb. I’d left behind the apartment blocks and was now walking past family homes with kid’s toys lying in well-kept gardens.
Leaving the road at Truesdale Drive, I dropped down to the Silver Lake beach on the Croton River and on through the woods. I felt a million miles away from New York City.
I crossed the river at the Quaker Bridge and, after taking a left, joined the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. This is a pleasant, easy to follow, wide trail through woodland, opening out at the New Croton Dam. The views went on for miles, it was very difficult to imagine this was so close to New York City.

New Croton Dam, New York
It was back on roads again for a short while before re-joining paths near Colabaugh Pond. It was here I met friendly chap collecting logs. He mentioned the local wildlife to look out for which included beavers and coyotes. The best I managed to spot was chipmunks.
I was now heading for the Briarcliff Peekskill Trailway, another well marked route through woodland. At least it was well marked until I reached Watch Hill Road.  After taking a left, the route disappeared. According to the map on Viewranger, I should head up Mountain Side Trail.
Looking at my GPS, I  was right on track but no path and no blue blobs. I cross checked with Google map, yes this was where the path should be but no sign of it, just over grown woodland and people’s back gardens.
Briarcliff Peekskill Trailway, New YorkI ended up passing between two houses and working my way up to where the path should be. I was very glad of my GPS at this point!
Once I found the path, it was, once again, easy to navigate, just following the now yellow blobs.
The route made its way around dense woodland. I eventually left the woods by Woodside Elementary school. From here it was a fairly straight walk along roads to Peekskill station.

Surprisingly, the return journey was $12.75, twice the cost of the train to Croton despite being only a stop or two down the line. I can’t complain though, it was a reasonable distance and provided me with one of my most enjoyable days of the holiday. The route can be downloaded as a GPX file.

Back in the city, dinner was taken at the Amsterdam Burger Co, unbeknownst to me, I was in the Jewish area and this small eatery only served kosher dishes. I only realised when I noticed one of the ingredients was written as “bacon” the quotes added as it was beef bacon.
I started with chilli loaded nachos then an Aussie burger, basically a beef burger with beetroot. Not sure if that is how they take their burgers in Australia but nice if a little on the expensive side, $18 for a burger with no sides.

Part 2, It’s time to light the lights

Manchester Runway Trail

Today’s walk was something a little different, rather than majestic mountain ranges and vast vistas, the views would be of aircraft….lots of aircraft.

At 9.30am, I parked up in the Styal country park/Quarry bank mill car park. According to the website the car parking charges are £5*, however, when I arrived the booth was unmanned and I parked for free.

After a quick scout round in case there was a Pay and Display machine hidden away, I left  the car park the same way I drove in then, taking  a road to my left, headed North, with the Quarry Bank Apprentice House to the left.
IMG_1861I spent a little bit of time looking around this part of Styal which was built  in the late 1700s by  Samuel Greg for those working at his mill.

After passing the two churches,  I headed in to Styal Woods and on to  the North Cheshire Way.
I later discovered the North Cheshire Way is a Long Distance Path (71 miles) starting near my home in Wirral, past the airport and on to Disley Station in the Peak District. Might be one to complete in the future!

This part of the route is a pleasant woodland walk following and occasionally crossing the River Bollin. There is a fairly steep climb up the steps to cross the river at Giant’s Castle Bridge.
Emerging from the trees, passing a field of cows, I could here the distinctive noise of a couple of jet engines powering up. Up until now, it was difficult to visualise a large, international airport was just the other side of the trees.

I must admit my aviation nerdyness got the better of me and I did leave the path, waking up a grassy embankment to take a look over  Runway 2 05R/23L.  Unfortunately all aircraft movement was on the far runway, Runway 1, 05L/23R but I still got some great views of the departing aircraft (unfortunately, arriving aircraft were just a bit too far away).
Virgin 747 take off

Returning to the North Cheshire Way, I continued until I reached a roundabout.
To the right is a dual carriage way passing underneath the runway, however, the route continues almost straight across this fairly busy road.

Manchester Airport
The raised grass section just off the road looks over towards the airport and is a good spot for photos.
Continuing along part of the walk allows you to  get right up close to the runway, albeit from the other side of a high metal fence.
The path passes around one of the airport’s fire station and follows along the entire length of the runway.

I left the North Cheshire Way at the end of the runway, taking a right to towards the landing lights. Manchester airport landing lights

The path swings round to the opposite side of the runway. There are no views of the runway on this part of the walk but you do have departing aircraft fying just a few feet over head at the location marked ‘1’ on my  route map

The path  joins a quiet road which continues in the direction of the runway before crossing the River Bollin. I took a  right,  following the river through the tunnel , beneath the runway.
This brought me out near the fire station and I retraced my steps back towards the roundabout on the main road, however, rather than return following the river  I stayed closer to the perimeter fence, climbing an embankment to look right across the airport.

 

The runway path stopped at Altrincham Road which I followed in to Styal, a picturesque village with thatched cottages and cosy pubs.
After taking a right on to Styal Road, I took the footpath at the end of Holts Lane back to Quarry Bank Mill.

The GPX file for this 9.5 mile/15km walk is available to download

 

* Prices August 2016

Alternate, solo Valentine’s

It’s Valentine’s Day. The cards, presents and flowers are nowhere to be seen so, rather than a candle lit dinner, I decided upon a slice of malt loaf up a hill.

Parking up in the upper Moel Famau/Bwlch Penbarra car park, I eventually tracked down the one working pay and display machine and headed up Foel Fenlli. I glanced over to Moel Famau behind me, watching the hordes of people strolling up to the Jubilee Tower like ill equipped sheep.  I concluded I’d made the right decision with this route….albeit not a well planned route. I had planned nothing other than head up and over Fenlli and just go where ever I fancied. Somewhere different would be preferable but, given the crisp sunny day it was just nice to be out, and away from the masses.

It’s quite a steep climb to the top of Fenlli (511 meters) but once at the peak there are some lovely views and  the remains of the Iron Age hill fort can clearly be seen.

View from Foel Fenlli
Foel Fenlli peak

From the peak,  I continued South down a steep scree path to join the Offa’s Dyke path to Bwlch Crug-glas and on to the junction of paths to the East.
It was at this junction I drew up a rough route plan. I had never ventured over to the East of the A494 so quickly devised a route towards Mount Pleasant.

The first step on this hastily arranged plan was a left, heading North East, passing through plenty of mud and a farm gate.
Where the path splits, I could take either, both led to the same location. For no particular reason I continued on the ‘top path’ before taking a right and dropping down to Plymog and crossing a A494.

River near LlanferresThe next path was almost directly over the road. Crossing over a river, I continued to where a spring joined the river and plonked myself down on a large piece of concrete jutting in to the water.
An ideal place for lunch.
Here, there was nobody about at all and I was far enough away from the main road for a peaceful break.

Crossing stream

I eventually made my way on to the path in to the woods, using stepping stones and a small wooden bridge to make my way over the water.
The trees became fewer as I walked towards what was presumably an old quarry at Bryn-yr-ardd.

As the path became more of a track, I took a left almost going back on myself, into the woods. As I passed old, derelict buildings, I crossed a stile to my right, deeper in to the woods towards the buidlings at Mount Pleasant where I took another right heading initially East and then turning to the North.
The original ‘plan’ was to take the next path to the West towards Llanferres, however, I spotted a cave marked on the map so continued North through the woods of Big Covert. Unfortunately, as this was a very haphazardly planned route,  I didn’t have the exact co-ordinates of the cave. After a short wander in the general vicinity proved unfruitful, I decided to return another day (with my head torch!) and rejoined the path.to the small village of Maeshafn.

Woods near MaeshafnTaking a left when I reached the road, I took the next footpath on the right, walking South West to the track. At the crossroads, I took a right towards the houses and continued West to the A494, crossing the road and taking the narrow road almost opposite through Llanferres.
At the end of Rectory Lane I took the path through the field heading North West, passing to the left of the farm at Fron Hen.

When reaching the road, I took a left and another left at the t-junction heading to the lower Moel Famau car park. From there I followed the path parallel to the road back to the top car park.

The gpx file for this 7 mile walk can be downloaded from the ViewRanger website

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