To Vipava - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

June 19, 2022

To Vipava

Another sunny day with increasing temperatures. It’s not as hot as Paris, but definitely warm enough. Thankfully, today’s plan was a short and relatively easy ride into the Vipava Valley, a long narrow valley that lies between the Trnovo Plateau to the north and the Karst Plateau to the south. It is one of the top wine growing areas in Slovenia, with small wineries peppered along back roads throughout the many villages that dot the valley. As fine as the wine might be, however, it was the valley’s reputation as a cycling area that motivated my visit.

Before heading to the Vipava Valley, I made a brief excursion into Gorizia, Italy, a charming town on the Italian/Slovenian border. A short ride through the streets of Solkan and Nova Gorica took me over the train tracks that marked the border and I was in Italy, cycling through a wide tunnel that brought me into the expansive Piazza Della Vittoria. There, I was befriended by Luka, a local man out for a Sunday stroll who waxed poetic about his city and encouraged me to wander the side streets off the Piazza. I followed his advice but kept my visit short, allowing for only an indulgence of Italian espresso and a small pastry. Then it was back through the tunnel to Slovenia and on to Vipava.

A brief sneak into Italy during my tour of Slovenia
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Through the tunnel
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Piazza Della Vittoria
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Church of Sant’Ignazio
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Luka, pointing out some of the "don't miss" sights of his home town
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In Gorizia
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In Gorizia
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In Gorizia
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Vivien George in Piazza Della Vittoria
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Back to Slovenia
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There are few roads traversing through the Vipava Valley, which serves as an important corridor connection Central Europe and Northern Italy. Fortunately, most traffic is found on the H4 autoroute rather than the regional highway 444. In addition, small roads meander up and down the hillsides through vineyards and small villages that lay beneath the Trnovo Forest Plateau. My planned route used a mix of small roads and, where they meandered too much, the regional highway. However, the combination of heat, no shade, and repeated short steep ascents was causing me to reconsider my plan – not only was it energy sapping, I was going too slow for any “biking breeze” to have an effect. I found a shady spot at a small monument to Mary, Mother of God where I fortified myself with half a sandwich and plenty of water.  During the rest, I decided to stick to the highway for the remainder of the ride – the road was flatter, the traffic was pretty light, and the increase in my speed brought a little cooling breeze. The soundness of that decision was reinforced when I followed a man into an open bar where I got my water bottle refilled - it was the only such establishment I'd seen since leaving Nova Gorcia. I was soon in the Ajdovščina, the largest town in the valley, where I stopped for ice cream and a coke. Refreshed, I cruised into Vipava – hot, sweaty, and thankful for the welcoming smiles and pitcher of juice.

The Lower Vipava Valley has hayfields and corn as well as vines
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Up and down through the vineyards of the Vipava Valley
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Mary, Mother of God showed me mercy - shade from the hot sun
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I was following a man into this establishment, thinking it might be an annex to the grocery store next door. A woman came out to clear tables and I followed her into what seemed to be a bar, or some type of club - there were several tables filled with people playing cards. The barmaid was unsmiling, but filled my empty water bottle.
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In the Vipava Valley
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One of the many villages in the Vipava Valley
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André was on his way back to Italy nearing the end of a five week tour that took him to Montenegro
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Scott AndersonI don’t think he’s carrying enough stuff with him. I see a few spots where he could hang another cup or pair of shoes.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonOr the kitchen sink!
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1 month ago
Lucy MartinNow that’s a loaded bike.
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1 month ago
It's always a good time for ice cream
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In the Vipava Valley, between Ajdovščina and Vipava
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Paraglider coming in for a landing
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Church of the Mother of God, located between Ajdovščina and Vipaca
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Perhaps the most dominant feature of the Vipava Valley is the Trnovo Forest Plateau, which looms high above the central valley. As I cycled along, I kept thinking about my visit Idrija in two days, which would require me to climb to the top of the plateau. I’d mapped the route and knew it would be a challenge, so I discussed the plan with Nevenka and Anya, the hosts at my lodging. They were both quite adamant that it would be a very difficult and dangerous journey, on a steep, curvy road with no shoulder and lots of traffic, including trucks. I’ve found it is usually good to listen to local advice, so with some reluctance I canceled my reservation in Idrija and booked a third night here in Vipava. Nevenka made a dinner reservation for me at a lovely little restaurant along the Vipava River where I listened to the rushing water and enjoyed another great Slovenian dining experience. Idrija isn’t going anyplace and I think an extra day in Vipava will suit me just fine.

A relaxing meal overlooking the Vipava River
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The Vipava River
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Gostilna Podfarovž, a wonderful little restaurant on the Vipava River
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Today's ride: 27 miles (43 km)
Total: 1,398 miles (2,250 km)

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