Yes, folks, Team Sebo successfully negotiated The Vršič Pass, also known as the Ruska Cesta (Russian Road) on Sunday afternoon after decamping from our pitch at Camping Bled. This time, we avoided all motorways and drove through THE most awesome mountain scenery until we reached the beginning of The Pass – a 14% gradient was a good start, if a little scary! We had great weather for the drive, warm but overcast so no glaring sunshine to deal with, and, apart from a multitude of two-wheeled thrillseekers, we’d managed to pick a pretty quiet day to tackle it – thank goodness! As a drive, it’s certainly right up there as one of the best we’d done so far. Here’s the pics though, as always, photos don’t do the awesome scenery that we enjoyed the justice they deserve…..
Our destination for Sunday night was a town called Bovec, not far from the Italian border. We had two options here – a dedicated camperstop, with electricity, showers etc, which was up at the cable car station or an ACSI campsite a few minutes walk from the town. We thought the camperstop might be a good bet as it had fab views of the mountains but, once there, we discovered it was €20 for 24 hours parking, with electricity being charged as an extra! A couple of years ago, apparently, it was €9 plus €3 for electricity but it’s no longer a private enterprise, having been taken over by the local council and they’ve hiked up the charges! Naturally, Team Sebo took exception to this blatant rip-off, since it’s really no more than a car park and there was no-one on Reception until 7pm so we wouldn’t have been able to hook up to the electricity until then anyhow and we intended leaving earlyish the next morning. We headed for the campsite, where, for €17 we got a nice pitch with electricity, WiFi and great shower facilities etc. Harley was delighted to find we were parked alongside a German van with a Golden Retriever pup on board – needless to say, the pair of them had a good run in the adjoining field until they could run no more! Happy dogs, happy owners – no walk required, which was just as well since we had yet another thunderstorm and heavy rain just as darkness fell.
Monday’s journey took us back into Italy and down to Villesse, a town just to the west of Trieste, to the “fridge doctor” at So.Im.Ex.caravan , a motorhome dealer and repair shop. Our plan was to pitch up before they closed on Monday evening and try scab a night’s free parking on site so that we’d be there for our 9am appointment on Tuesday thus negating the need for an exceptionally early start. No problem at all – they gave us a spot on their secure car park (we were, essentially, locked-in for the night!) and plugged us into their electricity for a few hours to keep batteries charged and freezer contents frozen. In fact, had we arrived a little earlier in the day, they probably would’ve fixed it there and then but, we didn’t so they couldn’t. No worries – Sebo was taken into hospital at 9am and returned to us when they reopened after lunch at 3pm, with a fully working fridge – on gas AND 12v (a luxury we’ve never had before!) plus they fixed the thermostat on our blown air heating system (not that we need it at the moment but handy to have it done!). Cost? A pretty reasonable €242. A small price to pay for the freedom of Wild Camping! We even managed to fight the urge to purchase too much from their incredibly well-stocked accessories shop, escaping with just two small folding stools and a 12v plug connector!
Needless to say, the first thing we did on leaving Villesse was to find a Lidl and restock both fridge and freezer. We now have enough food on board to last us to infinity and, quite possibly, beyond…..
Tuesday evening was spent on a quiet car park in Latisana – a pretty wee town though we didn’t see much of it until we left on Wednesday morning! We were too busy trying to fit all our new food and drink purchases into Sebo’s fridge to bother even going for a walk when we arrived! Plus, whilst Sebo was under the knife, we’d all walked the 3km to the local shopping mall and back and Harley was still traumatised after being not only taken into said huge mall but having his first ever experience of an escalator AND a travelator! He was most certainly NOT amused by either!
On Wednesday, we drove down to Ravenna, not that it was particularly on our “places to visit” list, more that it was about halfway to Florence and had a multitude of free overnight parking places within an easy walk of the town. We like those kinda towns! Turns out that it’s got several UNESCO World Heritage sites, a pretty old town and was a popular haunt for a number of illustrious poets, including the exiled Dante and Lord Byron. Parking was plentiful and, more importantly, free so we picked a spot and had a meander around the town. Unfortunately, when they pedestrianised the old town, they didn’t ban bicycles and the place was full of folk cycling in pretty much the same manner that Italians drive cars…..badly, and with no thought for the safety of pedestrians. We called it quits when I nearly got mown down by one of said crazy dudes and, rather than slake our thirst with a hugely overpriced aperitif at a local hostelry (€6 for 400ml beer and €7 for an Aperol Spritz!!!), we came home and enjoyed a much cheaper (and perfectly chilled!) pre-dinner drink at home.
Florence beckons for tomorrow – another long (for us!) drive of 136km and CoPilot tells us it’ll take us 3.5 hours so this should be interesting……