Vipava Valley: vineyards and big walls. And somewhere in between.

It doesn't matter if it's a road trip or MTB – I'm sure I'd never discover some hidden parts of Slovenia if I didn't ride a bike. I can definitely say that for one of the trips I made some days ago ...

»Almost no cars! And the only one that had driven-by has made me feel like we were in the museum!« Primož perfectly summed up the feeling of the day after an hour or two on the bicycle. (By the way: the car he was talking about was a very stylish old-timer.)

We started our half-day trip in Vipava, a nice town in the Vipava Valley in the western Slovenia, well known for its vineyards and wine production and cute old villages as Goče, Vipavski Križ, Šmarje ... on the top of the hills that surround the valley. My perfect viewpoint to see most of Vipava Valley and its surroundings has always been the top of the rock walls that raise nearby Vipava – hanging on the climbing rope after finishing the route and enjoying the view was almost equally enjoyable as climbing itself. Vipava's verticals are one of the biggest Slovenian spots for sport climbing. Lots of routes of different difficulties and lengths. This time I wasn't about to go there to climb. The path that leads to different climbing sectors supposed to be the final cut of this day's journey.

Strong bora embraced us as soon as we got out of the car. Fortunately it was warm enough that the wind wasn't a problem – well, it did try to slow us down occasionally, but we fought well!). Just a couple of minutes after leaving a parking lot we reached a nice field path and we were successfully avoiding the traffic all the way to Razdrto, our return point. This is one more thing I love about Slovenia: somehow you can always escape the traffic roads and find isolated ones. And that's how you get to know the landscapes and villages you'd never visit by car nor by foot.

We were sliding through colorful meadows, passing the herd of sheep, admiring charming but tired old houses we should buy and move here from Ljubljana (when we're older), meeting nice people gardening around their houses; we saw the mint plant just beside the road and the thought of stealing some blushing cherries was really tempting.

It's never just about doings sports; it's mostly about experience.

And it's also about having fun! Although there's one thing that can erase your smile while mountain biking in Slovenia immediately – the fact that our legislation puts all kind of limits for mountain bikers. I'm sharing the situation regarding MTB in Slovenia from the website Let's open the trails: »Existing Slovenian legislation is not in favour of MTB. Legislators and those that decide about laws would like to see cyclists on the roads along with cars and other motorized vehicles. We think that nature trails (single tracks, forest paths, field paths ...) are the essence of mountain biking.«

Though civil initiative for legislative changes is very active and is getting more and more attention. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! 

Back to our trip! I've almost forget to mention Podnanos, a lovely village known as a scene of a very popular Slovenian film Tistega lepega dne (One Fine Day, 1962). I love it! After we reached Razdrto (we had to put some extra effort up hill) we followed the signs for Nanos, a long plateau above us that's just taken its big cloudy hat off. Numerous trails are leading up to Nanos and Razdrto is one of the most popular starting points for reaching the plateau. We left the trail quickly to find the fantastic single track that's sliding the forestry slopes almost all the way back to Vipava. We didn't meet a soul (well, at least we didn't see any), although this is the part of Slovenian El Camino de Santiago with a lovely church of St. Nikolaj.

Lots of biking, some steps on foot (no, thank you, too steep!), and there was a perfect hint for ending the trip bellow the climbing sectors: a nice campsite to relax and chill.

Cheers :-)!

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