To Novo Mesto - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

June 25, 2022

To Novo Mesto

Although cycling up, down, and through the various karst plateaus had left weary, I did not sleep well last night. Probably a combination of things - heat, a late night call with my sister, and pain in my thumb from the bee sting. Also, something Tino had mentioned about traveling around Slovenia by train. All of these coalesced this morning in my decision to take the train to Novo Mesto. It would give my body some needed rest and give me time to have my thumb checked out by medical staff.

I am not allegoric to bee stings, but my thumb was red, swollen, and itchy. Though seeing a doctor might be over-reacting, I once caught a bad case of cellulitis in my thigh by ignoring a bee sting incurred while cycling. I made my way over to the medical center and was directed to the urgent care waiting room – I was fifth in line. After the first three patients, the staff took a break. I finally got in to see the doctor and discovered that her English skills were fairly modest, both in terms of vocabulary and in her willingness to use English. So we proceeded with the winning combination of halted English and Google Translate. She diagnosed an allergic reaction and gave me antihistamines, but I was pretty insistent that I wanted antibiotics in case the redness spread. She was very understanding and prescribed three pills, on condition I use the antihistamine first and the antibiotics only as a necessary secondary measure. I walked over to the pharmacy and, after waiting in line at the call window, got my prescription filled and was on my way to the train station.

Rain was predicted for around mid-day and my goal had been to catch the train departing Črnomelj around eleven, arriving in Nova Mesto before noon. I vaguely recalled another train leaving Črnomelj sometime around noon, with the next departure not until mid-afternoon. It was about 11:45 am when I left the pharmacy under very threatening skies. Wanting to make a fast dash, I put on my easily accessible windbreaker, thinking that would be enough protection for the mile ride to the station. How wrong I was – the skies opened and I soon was drenched. I found a small overhang to wait a bit, but did not linger as I was hoping to get the 12ish train. I arrived at the station at 12:10, a very wet puppy but happy to learn that the next train was at 12:40. I traded my soaked windbreaker for a warm shirt and rain jacket and sat to wait.

The urgent care waiting room has finally cleared and I'm next in line
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After such a long wait, I was concerned that I had left Vivien George unlocked out front, so they let me bring her inside.
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Emergency nurse (left) and doctor (right) who took great care of me, free of charge. I really love the bright orange "scrubs" they all wear, just like the road crews
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Skies are threatening as I wait to fill my prescription
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Waiting at the Črnomelj train station
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The skies had cleared when I arrived in Novo Mesto and I made my way over to the Tourist Information Center, hoping to get maps of the local cycling routes. The office had just closed for the weekend, so I draped my windbreaker over Vivien George to dry and sat down to have lunch at the adjacent restaurant. I was enjoying my chicken salad when it started to drizzle – light at first but increasing in intensity. I kept moving my chair to find a protected spot under the umbrella and a little belatedly realized I needed to stow my windbreaker. It was while attending to Vivien George that I met Michaela, an Austrian touring through Slovenia with her husband Herbert.

Michaela invited me to join them at their dry table on the porch, and I gladly accepted. They’ve both done extensive touring and we had deep discussions about routes and route mapping. They use Wavy, a Czech based version that has much more information than Google on local roads in central and eastern Europe. We were heading in opposite directions and after a very enjoyable time departed with promises to share our routes and visit them in Linz should I ever want to cycle in Bohemia.

I headed over to my apartment, located across the Kirka River a short distance from the main area of Novo Mesto. I’d chosen Apartment Sobe Ravbar not only because of the good reviews but also because one reviewer noted the owner knew a lot about bicycles. And so he did – he had at least five bikes in his garage. Unfortunately, his wife had Covid and I was not able to talk with him – his son was handling all the guest duties. I found my room and promptly took a 2 hour nap, waking only long enough to walk down to a local bakery for a spinach pizza/quiche concoction that sufficed for dinner. I tried catching up on the journal, but didn’t have much luck and was soon fast asleep. 

All things told, the thumb, the rain, my fatigue – it was a great day off the bike.

The TI was closed for the weekend, so I hung my windbreaker out to dry while I lunched at the cafe next door
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Herbert and Michaela, two warm, generous, and veteran tourers from Linz
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Town hall of Novo mesto
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Looking toward central plaza of Novo Mesto from bridge over Kirka River
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Novo Mesto, a town on the Kirka River
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Today's ride: 5 miles (8 km)
Total: 1,543 miles (2,483 km)

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Rachael AndersonI’m glad to hear you took a day off and got your bee sting taken care off! I hope it heals fast!
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