I send postcards. Handwritten. Probably illegible. I might forget to post them until weeks after I’ve been to wherever it is I’ve been, but I still send postcards. And I was dead chuffed to receive one from one of my nephews from Singapore – perhaps there’ll be two of us now, keeping the tradition alive. Anyway, on my last batch, I wrote from Slovenia and reckoned that God must have had Alaska on His mind when He was making that part of the world. It truly is spectacular. Granted, it has churches that Alaska doesn’t have and the mountains only look snow-covered (that damn karst had me fooled at every corner), and the lakes are very swimmable, but Alaska is certainly what comes to mind.
Bledded out, we moved further up the Bohinj valley in in the Julian Alps to Lake Bohinj. It’s part of Triglav National Park and the much-touted Slap Savica – (slap is Slovenian for waterfall I think). But first, the town or village which sits on the edge of the lake. Like nearby Lake Bled, it’s chocolate-box stuff. The arched bridge frames the lake and the 700-year-old Church of St John the Baptist with its beautiful frescoes. The church is open and entrance is free. What a novelty.
I wondered about the fresco of St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. He appears on the outside walls of many churches in Slovenia but this one is different in that three layers are visible: the first dates back to c.1300, the second to c. 1400 and the third to c. 1530. Apparently, seeing St Christopher is supposed to bring you good luck on your travels for the rest of the day. I had heard that St Christopher was no longer a saint or the patron saint of travellers but apparently this isn’t so. Yes, his feast day has been removed from the Church calendar but he hasn’t been defrocked. He was one of 93 saints demoted in 1969 by the Vatican. As the story goes, he carried a child across a river – and the child got heavier and heavier as he was carrying the weight of God. But in the absence of historical evidence that St Chris every actually existed in the flesh and blood, he was dropped. But he’s alive and well and keeping travellers safe in Slovenia.
We drove the narrow, windy road up to Triglav National Park passing the cops as they doled out parking tickets to cars abandoned on the sides of the road. They made a fortune that day. We were headed towards Slap Savica. At the end of the road, there’s a parking fee to park your car as you can take it no farther. Then you hike up some to the entrance of the trail where you pay another €3 to walk it. Slovenia knows how to charge. Never massive amounts but irritating dribs and drabs … I’d prefer to pay a heftier park entrance fee than to be hit as I go along. Anyway, I huffed up the 521 steps to the waterfall, enjoying the view along the way and taking a breather ever 100 steps or so. There’s quite a bit of walking in between batches of steps so the glutes got a workout. But man, was I ever underwhelmed. One thing Alaska has in spades is waterfalls. Majestic, impressive beasts that do the term justice. Slap Savica wasn’t worth the workout. Not for me. But what do I know? Apparently, it’s ‘unique among world waterfalls – its watercourse is divided into two parts in the hidden undergrounds. The famous A-shaped waterfall normally comes into sight at an altitude of 836 m and is 78 m high.’ Am still not convinced. Perhaps it was the time of year.
Still, it’s a lovely part of the world. A picnic by the lake on the way back and a quick swim in the cool, clear, fish-inhabited waters, was a perfect end to a lovely afternoon. If I wasn’t otherwise occupied on 14 September, I’d be tempted to go back to the Cows’ Ball. Maybe next year.