Welcome back to our adventure! Today we’re going to drive rather far to reach Balaton lake. Whilst doing so, we will cross most of Slovenia and cross in and out of Croatia before entering Hungary and reaching our destination.
After a night of heavy rain and high winds – which we got to feel directly with the rain beating against the windows of our hotel room. Being kept awake because of this was only a minor inconvenience, since rain falling though the night is not rain falling the next day.
As we emerge from the cozy warmth of the parking garage, our day starts grey, cold and humid – the streets of Ljubljana still wet from the night before.
We drive along our MyMaps-route consisting of single lane roads and with every km along roads winding along valleys and over hills, the fog slowly clears, giving way to a brilliant day.
Geographically, we will be leaving the higher hills of western Slovenia and eventually reach the completely flat eastern border with Hungary, from where on it will remain more or less flat until Budapest.
From time to time we drive through a village or smaller city. All shops are closed, village centres are deserted, only restaurants show some signs of life – no surprise here: it’s easter monday.
What really gets me is the choice of destinations when I’m far away – sitting in my TWIKE I can choose to drive to Zagreb…because there is a road sign pointing me there! 🙂
With our small roads, rolling hills and sunshine, we really get into the TWIKE-tour-mood, chatting and pointing out how nice and beautiful everything looks.
Ah – and a TWIKE works really well in rural settings: see for yourself!
It’s hard to convey how beautiful this part of the planet is. The picture below sums up what we saw very nicely.
Silently, we continue our drive through forests and over hills until we…
totally unexpectedly, stumble across a horse benediction ceremony and since we own a horse, decide to take part in the proceedings.
A priest leads the prayers and with a small band playing along when everybody sings, we mumble to the tune and check out the horses.
With the benediction completed, we get back on the road, happy to have taken the time.
As elsewhere, the realisation that we’ve left the hills behind us comes after the fact – where did they go and why is the road before us so straight?
Quickly crossing into Croatia for a few km, my Canadian passport gets stamped, my daughter’s doesn’t – we left Schengen and as a non-European citizen, my departure must be recorded.
Getting back into Europe, however, proved to be a rather tedious affair – it took us over three-quarters of an hour to clear the border – leading an ad-hoc change to our original route which would have seen us crossing into Croatia again.
Our focus for the rest of the day is to get to the Balaton lake and enjoy the view, indoor pool and spa the hotel offers.
With this new focus, for the rest of the trip I push our average speed up to about 75 kph. We arrive at our hotel with a pack voltage with out load at 333V… we need a charge 🙂
We check in and get a charge set up for our TWIKE. If there were something I would change either in pack design or inverter parameters would be the fact that if the pack is below 335V, I have to ‘jump-start’ the charge itself with the help of one of my additional chargers as the inverter will only charge at a very low rate under that voltage. With pack sizes steadily growing, this phase can potentially be days. Anyway – since I know this, 5 minutes are all that it needs to get over 335V and with this, the inverter starts working as designed.
My daughter enjoys a massage whilst I soothe my muscles with a sauna. What a treat after such a long day!
Our hotel is a weird affair – having been to such hotels during the communist era I had a very interesting nostalgic feeling coming up. You can feel the former elites enjoying their stay in this concrete dream and the satisfied architect having designed a building with more standardized parts than ever before. Everything is slightly used and old – well-kept up but nevertheless in dire need of an upgrade.
My daughter and me lower the average age of this place dramatically – this explains also why the WiFi (only available limited areas of the lobby) was very acceptable: Although the lobby is full of people, we’re the only ones with a laptop/smart phone. Playing cards are everywhere…again, it felt like a time capsule.
We drove over 300km today. Although I’ve already done more in a day (512km & 460km) this stage of our trip felt really long and we head back to our room very tired and fall asleep quickly – with our balcony window wide open, listening to the soothing sound of lake Balaton lapping against the shoreline just 30 metres away from our room.
Tomorrow: Budapest – here we come!