After a few days of adventure, we opted for a quieter day on Tuesday, and after a late start drove to Bled to see the famous lake, castle, and island. Unfortunately, Bled is on the other side of the Julian Alps, so it was an eventful drive, filled with hairpin bends and Slovenian drivers in the middle of the road (and having seen some of the road edges, I can understand why). Once we arrived we headed to the far end of the lake, away from the town, and rented a rowboat to spend a pleasant hour rowing around the lake, with a brief stop at the island. We followed that up with a swim and a gelato, and then continued our tour to Bohinjska. After a brief stop there we had the unusual experience of driving our car onto the train, which then took us back through (literally) the mountains to Tolmin. Sitting in a car on a rattling train in a pitch black tunnel was very strange.
Wednesday was our last full day in Slovenia so we got an early start and headed to Bovec to catch the cable car up to Kanin—we’d hoped to be caving, but as that hadn’t worked out, this was the next best thing—a whole mountain of limestone to explore! From the top of the cable car we hiked up to Prestrelenig Okno, a window in the rock with a lovely view out to the Italian side of the mountain, and a glacier far below.
After a short stop at the window we pressed on to the summit of Kanin along the base of a spectacular limestone rampart. The final climb was quite exposed in places and features the top of a brilliant looking via ferrata route coming up from the Italian side—something to try on a later visit!
We had our lunch at the summit, enjoying the views in all directions, and then headed down via a precipitous rocky chute and some cabled crags. On the way we met a large group of Chamois with their young—a fantastic sight on the top of a huge cliff.
From the base of the mountain we headed across the Kanin Karstic Basin, several square kilometres of limestone pavements, shake holes, cliffs and cave entrances, all covered in a blanket of alpine flowers. Judging by the size of some of the shake holes and the catchments they drain, there must be an awful lot of cave down there somewhere. After a couple of hours of walking we reached the edge of the basin and the long descent back to Bovec. This turned out to be a very nice walk too, with loads of wild raspberries and strawberries, a couple of frogs, and a pair of Ibex that plunged past us at full tilt down the mountain! We finally made it back to the car after eight and a half hours of walking, just in time to have cake and gelato!