To Maribor - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

July 3, 2022

To Maribor

My final day of cycling in Slovenia was splendid - I really could not have wished for a better day. It started with perhaps the most amazing assortment breakfast items, each delivered to my table by Kora. In addition to the typical Slovenian breakfast items of breads/pastries/cereals/yogurts/meat/cheese and grilled vegetables, there was a caprese salad, an avocado salad, and pancakes if I wanted. To top it all off, Kora made me two sandwiches to go. 

Well-fed and provisioned for the day, I set off for Maribor under deep blue skies and moderate temperatures. The first ten miles were easy and relaxed, cruising through the small towns and settlements of Mura River basin. Once again, there was little traffic in this sparsely populated region, even more so on this quiet Sunday morning. 

Kora and Bruno, our hosts extraordinaire
Heart 2 Comment 0
The colorful town hall of Tišina (I think)
Heart 0 Comment 0
I was admiring the intricate patterns on the side of this house when I detected movement in the window on the right
Heart 1 Comment 0
An elderly woman peered out at me - curious, friendly, and excited to talk to a passerby
Heart 3 Comment 0
Crossing the Mura River
Heart 1 Comment 0

The terrain became more varied after I crossed the Mura River and passed into the traditional region of Styria. It was pretty much perfect cycling - a rolling landscape under an azure sky decorated with show-stopping clouds. A large, three-towered church off in the distance inspired a detour into the town of Sveta Trojica v Slov. Goricah; however, access to the church was blocked and the town showed little signs of life. I had nearly the same experience when I reached the much larger town of Lenart, where the empty streets were more concerning as I was needing to refill my water bottles. I ventured off-course and followed a couple of day riders before stopping at what appeared to be a bar – a house with a porch where a group of men were sitting at tables drinking beer. Although such places had proved to be bars in other small towns, this was just some guys hanging out and enjoying a Sunday afternoon with adult beverages. However, one fellow spoke English and told me I would find something at the bus station. Faced with my quizzical stare, he directed me back to the main rotary and through a small alley where I indeed found not only the bus station but an assortment of cafés and food stands, including an ice cream shop. Not one to pass on an opportunity for ice cream on a hot afternoon, I enjoyed two scoops before embarking on the final stretch to Maribor.

I was flying, in most every sense of the word. It was cycling nirvana
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
I spotted my first pumpkin, wishing I could be here when the fields were full of orange orbs
Heart 3 Comment 0
I found a shady spot in the woods near Komarnica to enjoy of Kora’s sandwiches
Heart 4 Comment 0
A three-towered church beckons
Heart 4 Comment 0
Church of the Holy Trinity and monastery in Sveta Trojica
Heart 4 Comment 0
Access to the Church and monastery was blocked
Heart 0 Comment 0
Despite the presence of an imposing church and monastery that might attract tourist dollars, Sveta Trojica v Slov. Goricah was a small settlement in need of a little sprucing up
Heart 3 Comment 0
The main intersection in Lenart, a city of over 11,000 inhabitants, on an unusually warm Sunday afternoon in July
Heart 1 Comment 0
I found happiness at an ice cream stand at the bus station
Heart 2 Comment 0

The final run to Maribor began with a five mile stretch to Pernica along Hwy 449, a regional highway that runs closely alongside the A5 autoroute. This theoretically should divert most of the traffic off Hwy 449, and indeed traffic was not too bad today, a Sunday. However, there were enough cars and trucks to suggest it might not be the best route on a normal weekday. After Pernica, I was once again on my favored local roads for the final climb before Maribor. Partway up the hill I stopped to look around and savor what Slovenia had offered me these last three weeks – a wonderful mix of green and yellow fields, hills, and mountainsides punctuated with spired churches and red-tiled roofs. As I was about to continue upward, a dad and his two daughters went whizzing down the hill, he offering a little cautionary advice to avoid the pile of horse manure – but nothing strong enough to slow them down. I watched them go, wishing that all young girls could have a parent to guide them down life's perilous roads, giving them the know-how and confidence to take calculated risks, and sharing in their success and the thrill of the ride.

The final five miles into Maribor were fantastic – first on a small road that wound up and down through the woods, weaving beside and under the autoroute. At Malečnik, I joined a spur of the Drava Velo Route, a dedicated cycle path that took me into my hotel in the heart of Maribor. The cycling part of my Slovenian adventure had come to a close. 

On the way to Maribor
Heart 4 Comment 0
On the way to Maribor
Heart 3 Comment 0
I Feel Slovenia
Heart 2 Comment 0
Training the next generation of Slovenian cycling champions - or just dad and the girls out having a rollicking good time. A win-win either way
Heart 3 Comment 0

After checking in and freshening up, I walked over to the Maribor train station to see about getting me and Vivien George to Ljubljana – the online website was a bit confusing and I was hoping to get a direct ticket. No problem – the ticket counter was open and we booked two tickets on the 11:45 train, one for me and one for Vivien George.

I had read great things about Maribor on CycleBlaze and was looking forward to seeing a bit of the town. I headed toward the central part of the city thinking I might grab an early dinner, but the unusually high temperatures dampened my enthusiasm for a meal outdoors. Instead, I strolled slowly through the sparsely populated tourist section and watched with a bit of envy as young girls frolicked joyfully in the fountains. I eventually made my way over to a Jack and Joe’s, a popular restaurant specializing in American style steak, burgers and barbecue. I must admit that the pulled pork sandwich was quite tasty, maybe not up to Carolina barbecue but a fair approximation. After dinner I crossed to the shaded side of the Drava River and joined  the many folks out for an early evening stroll or bike ride along the Drava Cycle Route. It seemed the perfect way to close out a wonderful day and an extraordinary tour.

At the Maribor train station
Heart 5 Comment 0
A lone cyclist rides past the Plague Column and Maribor town Hall in Glavni trg, the main square of Maribor
Heart 5 Comment 0
In Giavni trg, the main square of Maribor
Heart 5 Comment 0
A cool place on a hot afternoon
Heart 6 Comment 0
Oh to be young and uninhibited
Heart 4 Comment 0
Ice cream seemed to be a popular choice on this warm evening
Heart 1 Comment 0
A family of swans cruising the Drava River
Heart 2 Comment 0
Enjoying an early evening ride along the Drava Cycle Route
Heart 3 Comment 0
Along the Drava Cycle Route
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 1,769 miles (2,847 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Rachael AndersonA beautiful last ride!
Reply to this comment
4 weeks ago