Getting away, even if it’s only for a little while, that’s our personal luxury. Change of scenery and being as independent as possible is what we are longing for. That’s the goal of our overlanding trips, no matter if they are short or long.
This time we want to explore Slovenia, as neither of us have been there before. We are curious what this country between Italy and Croatia has to offer. So we’re ready for our overlanding short trip to Italy and Slovenia.
Unfortunately we have only a prolonged weekend, but that should be enough to give us a first impression. So we can decide if it’s worth going there another time, maybe for a longer trip. We pack up our Jeep, install the Roof Top Tent, load up the dogs and hit the road. All excited about the new and unknown places we get to explore along the way.
As the traffic is really heavy on the shortest route through the Swiss Alps, we decide to take another road. We drive direction Austria and take some smaller roads over the austrian mountains to Meran. On our way there, we take some smaller surrounding routes, because the main roads are boring…
Fortress of Nauders, a Jamboree and an Ouch
At the Fortress of Nauders we take a break. The fortress was built around 1840 and served as a barricade to the road that led to the town of Reschen. It’s an impressive relic of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, built in a steep rock wall. On the other side of the road, there’s the bunker construction, an old military barrack and several historical tanks.
On the other side of the parking space, we can watch some rock climbers, that climb up one of the 50 climbing paths of the climbing park Nauders.
The paths have funny names that translate something like “easy as pie”, “jamboree”, “ouch” and “1.60er ego”.
The Church Tower in the Lake of Reschen
We head on direction Meran. In Graun in Vinschgau we catch sight of a church tower. Coming closer, we see that the church under the tower ist completely under water. Reason is, after the second world war the lake of Reschen and the lake of Graun were dammed and the lake levels came up 20 meters higher. Many families lost their homes and farmland was flooded. The only silent witness of this era is the church tower from the 14th century, that rises proudly over the lake.
Cold Night in the Dolomite Alps
In Pedemonte, a small village in the Italian province of Venetia, we find a very quiet sleeping spot. Far away from civilization at the end of a dirt road, where the creek washed away the road, we settle for the night. We make ourselves comfortable, cook a warm delicious meal and prepare for the night.
Here at the southern edge of the dolomites around this time of the year (it was april when we were there…) the nights get pretty cold. The sounds of nature compensate for the chilling cold. It’s those sounds that keep us awake in the roof top tent, especially at the beginning of our trips. But at the same time, they can be very relaxing. On one side we hear the continuous flow of the creek on its path to the valley. On the other side drops fall from the cliffs on the rocks below them, making a constant sound of toc-toc-toc. In the trees, birds are singing and communicating in their specific languages.
In the next morning, unfortunately the sun can’t reach us yet, we pack up our tent with freezing fingers and wash our dishes in the icy cold creek. The seat heating system on full power, we’re on our way to warmer areas.
Venice, Caorle and a Pizza Marinara
We make a short detour to Venice and surround the parking lot at the train station, where a large group of tourists is eager to explore the beautiful city. After we see all those people, we decide to drive on and make a break in a calmer, less touristic place. We drive along the coast to a town called Caorle, where we go to the beach and let the dogs fool around. Rey and Mila run their laps, play around and take a big sip of water out of the big salty pond. They don’t look very happy afterwards…
We head to the town of Caorle and find a nice little Pizzeria. Of course the dogs are being served first and they get a big bowl of good water. We order a (vegan!) Pizza Marinara. By the way, the italian Pizza Marinara is always vegan, and if you wish, you can have it topped with all possible vegetables and mushrooms.
Through Trieste to Slovenia
We continue our overlanding trip through Trieste to Slovenia.
Right after the Slovenian border, we head to the first port town named Koper. There’s a huge parking lot with all new cars, ready to be distributed to their new owners. Behind the cars, we see the stacked freight containers and the gigantic cranes that load them to the ships.
With Squeaking Brakes Through Izola
As we drive through the little town of Izola with its comfy Cafés and Restaurants right at the sea, we hear a disturbing sound coming from our Jeep. Soon it’s clear that this squeaking sound comes from the breaks and it seems to be the signal, that the break pads are worn. We pass tourists that are enjoying the warm weather and this idyllic town of Izola, while we are annoyed by the squeaking sound of our breaks.
We stop on the side of the road at a quiet place, so Alex can check the Jeep if there’s any other surprises besides the breaks. He notices, that our stock springs are completely compressed under the weight of the car and its accessories (roof top tent, storage unit etc.). So we guess our next investment will be stronger springs and shock absorbers.
Sleeping Place With Ocean View and Visitors at Midnight
A little disappointed about the breaks and the springs, we decide to spend one night in Slovenia and head back home the next day. Because overlanding with no suspension and no working brakes is no fun. As a compensation for this disappointment, we find a perfect wild camping spot with ocean view (the Adriatic Sea). We cook a tasty meal, enjoy the view, the warmth as well as the peace and quiet.
Tired from the day and all the excitement, we go to sleep pretty early. About midnight, we hear a car coming our direction and see the headlights pointing at us. Our first thought is that some land owner is coming to chase us away. We peek through the windows of our RTT and see a french camper that found the same wonderful camping spot. So we go back to sleep, nothing to worry about.
Ljubljana and the Horses of Lipica
The next morning we wake up early, have us some breakfast, pack up our stuff and head back home. On the way we make a detour to Lipica, to the famous stud farm of the lipizzan horses. The surrounding paddocks are very extensive and sometimes we can spot herds of about 30 to 50 of those majestical horses.
Slovenia – We Will Be back!
Slovenia fascinated us. We loved the fact that everything is so close together. The Adriatic Sea with its idyllic port towns, the dense forests and wide-open fields. It’s not as overpopulated as other european countries, so it’s a perfect overlanding destination for us. We will surely be back, with new brake pads and a good suspension!
Wild Camping in Italy and Slovenia
We never had any troubles with wild camping in Italy and in Slovenia. The people we saw while camping, were all very friendly. Our code of conduct is to make no unnecessary noise, to leave no trash and to behave ourselves like guests.
Dogs in Italy and Slovenia
Dogs are very welcome in Italy and Slovenia. In Slovenia we saw many people walking their dogs, especially big ones. The barking of yard dogs accompanied us through the night in Slovenia. In Italian restaurants, dogs are usually served before the people.
Vegan in Italy and Slovenia
We didn’t have any problems finding vegan food in Italy and in Slovenia. They all have organic sectors in the stores, where you can find all the yummie vegan stuff other than fresh veggies and fruit. That you can buy anywhere, in market stalls at the roadside, on markets etc.