Cycle road trip: Kozjansko and Bizeljsko

»Why are you cycling in this weather?« I wasn't sure but the policeman on the Croatia-Slovenia border Nova vas-Draše near Bizeljsko (Slovenia) seemed quite suspicious. Did we look like drug smugglers in a bit unusual outfit? It was gloomy all right and it drizzled a little but – why should we care? Well, the policeman obviously thought we should but then he decided we were just weird. And we were back in Slovenia ...

It's not that we were looking for some more wine regions (and some more superb home made wine – although it's hard to resist when it's being offered!) but Slovenia is a wine region itself so it's quite hard to avoid the vineyards. This time we headed South-east. Oh, and there was another similarity: hilly terrain. But that's also almost impossible to avoid when cycling in Slovenia.

We started a weekend tour in Šentjur, a small town in the vicinity of bigger Celje and headed to Podčetrtek and Olimje. Once a poor region on the edge of Kozjansko park it's nowadays a well know for its modern spa center (Terme Olimia) and cute village Olimje with a picturesque monastery with the herbal garden and old apotheca, for the chocolate fans there's a chocolate house (it's a chocolate paradise or hell!), there's a witch land in the woods, a small private brewery, winery, golf playground, a farm with deer ...

And .. Away we go! (Have you seen the movie? A nice one :-)!) Uphill, into the woods, through the vineyards and fields, just the two of us, almost no cars, here and there a nice hello from the locals. Heading to the boarder with Croatia and hop on the other side to visit Kumrovec, the birth village of a famous (or infamous, depends from the point of view) ex-Yugoslav president Tito. Now it's a well visited ethno village with mostly restored houses. Mostly: on one hand the village seems like a museum but on the other you see old rotten farmer mansions with even more rotten cars in front.

After Kumrovec we took the road back to Slovenia through the deep and nice valley. Bizeljsko castle welcomed us when we returned to our homeland and in a while we reached our tourist farm in the wine region of Bizeljsko. Sure we had to show we were tough enough to get there – why does the day always have to end uphill?

But we got a warm welcome, a glass of home made wine and a private tour with the owner to his »repnica«, a famous sandy underground wine cellar you can find only in this part of Slovenia.

Next day we rushed onto the lonesome roads that slide vineyards. It was beautiful. But one must love serenity and solitude to enjoy. And the meadows ... All the way from Bizeljsko back to Kozjansko (we also passed the famous caste of Podsreda) there were wide green meadows with spring flowers in blossom. If somebody asks when to go there I'll say in the Spring! Although the Autumn must be beautiful with its rich colors too.

It was again one of those weekend you put into your memory to get in the mood when something pisses you off during the week. Superb!

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