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TDST2017 – Day5: Northern Slovenia to Styria -> Wow!

After having slept fitfully and longer than the last days, we head down to our hotel’s breakfast room since today we’re only covering 200km to get to our family meeting in southern Styria and have some time to spare.

A very nice choice of food is to be expected with the type of hotel we’ve chosen – however, the coffee machine was one of the automatic and horrible kind – just have a look at the user interface!

All of them are a bad choice

All of them are a bad choice


 
Our day starts cold, humid and very gray … and with a full battery – always a nice feeling to know that we could drive up to 460km on this charge πŸ™‚

Same as yesterday...200 shades of grey

Same as yesterday…200 shades of grey


 
After just 90 minutes, the fog makes way for another beautiful deep-blue sky and warm sun as we drive into rural northern Slovenia.

Crossing under a medieval castle

Crossing under a medieval castle


 
Quickly after leaving urban Ljubljana, rural Slovenia greets us with perfect roads (thanks to EU subsidies, which are prominently displayed beside each new stretch of road), well-kept and renovated houses and an overall cuteness which is difficult to put into words. It’s like Switzerland with less rules and more smiles.

More cute little villages

More cute little villages


 
Northern Slovenia also means many, many hills … and we’re looking forward to them. One of the best parts of driving from hill to hill are surprising and unexpected views.

This road will take us over these hills

This road will take us over these hills


 
Let’s start climbing! Our single lane road snakes its way up the hill and takes us through small farm villages before rewarding us with beautiful views.

Climbing even further!

Climbing even further!


 
Having not really had any proper coffee for breakfast, I decide to stop at a local petrol station (aptly called PETROL) to get myself a local energy drink – all parking spots were taken, so I had to park TW560 beside a pump. What a strange image!

We're happy we've kicked the habit :)

We’re happy we’ve kicked the habit πŸ™‚


 
We head further northwards into the hills, still sticking to our very small single lane roads – no traffic, just one beautiful hill after another for us.

Perfect TWIKEing conditions

Perfect TWIKEing conditions


 
TW560’s first trans-European trip this year took us across eastern Slovenia to Hungary. We learned that Slovenia has much more still to be discovered. πŸ™‚

Austrian alps in the background

Austrian alps in the background


 
With an open canopy, the sun shining on our faces we push on, quietly and relaxed. The levels of relaxation we’re reaching are hard to describe.

No, it's not Switzerland

No, it’s not Switzerland


 
Northern Slovenia

Northern Slovenia


 
We climb higher and higher, our views getting better by the minute. Uncanny similarities to certain places in the Swiss Alps are everywhere…except that there are no 2000m+ mountains to be seen, even with 150+km visibility.

Perfect views - all the way to Croatia

Perfect views – all the way to Croatia


 

 
Our climb continues. We reach the end of European subsidy money…and with the money gone, the tarmac is gone, too.

We’re already at 1300m altitude and we’re still climbing. Our highest point for today will be a well-known Slovenian ski resort called Rogla.

Our trip up to Rogla at 1500m

Our trip up to Rogla at 1500m


 
Our arrival in Rogla is somewhat underwhelming. No peak as we’re used to coming from Switzerland. The mountain top is completely flat! A few lone ski-lifts line what must be very flat pistes in winter. We don’t stay for lunch or a drink, even if a few places are open.

The drive down the hill and 1300m lower was the worst stretch of road we encountered on all our trip – even marked as an official B-road – it had no tarmac and was heavily washboarded. 13km of this hell, never faster than 15km/h – lasted a lifetime. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an alternate road we could have taken – we had ventured too far out and this was the only road going towards where we wanted to go. Backtracking and taking another route would have meant a 2-3 hour detour.

We made it…eventually and crossed into Austria at a place called Sveti Duh, which made us chuckle.

Back to Austria & Styria

Back to Austria & Styria


 
From here we’re going to get a lot of energy back into our batteries – 1000m -> 200m …and some extremely nice views of Southern Styria – see for yourself:

 
Our last kilometres are a symphony of colours and light. If you’ve never been to Styria in autumn, you definitely should consider adding this beautiful region of Austria to your bucket list.

Beautiful colors in Styria

Beautiful colors in Styria


 
As in northern Slovenia, Southern Styria is predominantly hilly. Most of the hills are covered in vineyards – wineries beckon every few kilometres. As mentioned before on this blog, Styrian whites are very drinkable…coupled with Buschenschank-culture this is part of the reason my family has continued coming back here for the last 12 years.

Last few metres...

Last few metres…


 
Our place is surrounded by vineyards and the owners have their own winery. Wine quality has risen continuously throughout the region since the 1985 glycol scandal as quality over quantity was the only way to survive. 30 years later, even small wineries produce very high quality wines which are destined for local and national consumption and are rarely available anywhere else – even if these wines could easily stand up against international wines. (Another reason you should come here soon)

Our house - for the last 12 years

Our house – for the last 12 years


 
We park, take our stuff inside and say hello the winery owners before just heading out and taking in the views. Incredibly vivid colours and warm sunlight.

A hour later my wife and eldest daughter arrive. My youngest flew to Austria on her own a week ago and will be arriving tomorrow. (Ah. How time flies – my youngest daughter flies on her own to Austria after deciding for herself that she wanted to spend more time there as she really loves Austria and even completely switches over to the local Upper-Austrian dialect when she’s with my uncle and their friends.)

Wine...lots of it!

Wine…lots of it!


 
Grape leaves & sun

Grape leaves & sun


 
We decide to start this year’s Austrian week by walking up to a very small place all the way up the next hill with very nice views and have a few drinks called Sturm. (Wine still fermenting with suspended yeast)

My daughters & Sturm

My daughters & Sturm


 
We sit at our Buschenschank and enjoy the exceptional view with a few glasses of Sturm.

View from our welcome drink location

View from our welcome drink location


 
Our next days will consist of us driving from winery to winery, Buschenschnank to Buschenschank and to some special events we organized as a group in advance. TW560 usually ferries one of our younger Austrian family members for them to experience electric mobility as it should be: light, nimble and sustainable. Besides TW560 our extended family already has one more EV to boast about: A R90 Zoe which is being used for daily commutes after talking about electric mobility for about 3 years, finally this part of our family has taken the plunge…and they are very happy with their Zoe!

TDST2017 - Day 5

TDST2017 – Day 5