Plan for the day
We had two destinations in our plan for the day. The first was Logar Valley and the second was Velika Planina. The entire journey would be about 127 km. To get to Logar Valley we would have to cross from Solvenia into Austria and then back into Slovenia again. Velika Planina was on a high plateau and we would be going up there by a cable car. I had booked a “hut” on the plateau for the night.
By the end of the Day
Enroute to Logar valley we made a couple of unplanned stops as we were so captivated by the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately we were pressed for time so our stops were short and quick. Logar valley was very stunning and regretfully we could not stay longer as we thought we had to be at the lower cable car station of Velika Planina for the 2 pm ride. The information on the website regarding the cable car frequency was inaccurate, it said that after the 2 pm ride the next ride (which was also the last ride for the day) would be at 4 pm. We found out upon arrival that the frequency of the cable rides was about every 10 minutes!
Velika Planina did not disappoint us, it was very unique and beautiful. Our only disappointment was our accommodation which had a “stale” smell throughout the hut and definitely not worth the expensive price we had paid.
Just 1 hour into our drive at about 60 km from Lake Bled and before crossing into Austria we came upon a town Obcina Jezersko. It was a very scenic place. The snow cape alps were absolutely stunning.
As we left the town the road took us uphill and immediately after a bend we came to a very scenic spot. Wow! The alps beyond was simply breathtaking. It was the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. This place could easily be mistaken as the Swiss Alps.
The route from Jezersko town to Logar valley was about 24 kilometer, it crossed the border between Slovenia and Austria at two points. We drove passed the borders with no issue and there was no custom check as Austria and Slovenia were EU countries.
The route was very hilly and curvy. It was also a very scenic drive as we had the Kamnik-Savinja Alps constantly in our view. Sometimes the alps looked far away, sometimes its looked near, at times it was so high up and yet at time it was about the same level as the road. It was an unexpected lovely drive to Logar Valley.
Finally at about 10.30 am we reached the start Logar Valley. We were still on time as per our plan. Logar Valley could be viewed from two routes. The first route, Road 927 was a very winding and hilly road and the second road was Road 428, this road would lead us to a turn off into the valley.
At the fork road that branched into Road 927 and Road 428, we took the left branch going onto Road 927. We were going to drive along Road 927 until we found a spot where we could have a top view into the valley. I had no definite idea where would that spot be so we were going to try our luck to find such a place. After that we would return to the fork and take Road 428 to go into the valley.
Road 927 was an unseal and curvy road with some very narrow sections and trees on both sides. We were focusing on the right side of the road, wondering when the trees would space out, searching for a place to park our car so that we could come out and view the Logar Valley below. About 2.5 km from the fork we were surprise when a widen space with sun bench, picnic table and benches came into view. It was a pity that we did not have a picnic basket! We could eat our lunch and enjoy the view of Logar Valley at the same time!!
The signboard told us that we were at view point 8. Apparently there were several view points along Road 927. We decided not to turn back but to go forward. At View Point 7 we stopped again. Logar Valley looked even bigger and more beautiful at this view point 7. The white Alps (Kamnik-Savinja Alps), the green valley, the blue sky and white clouds were awesome.
Though it was noon and the sunlight was very harsh the scenery was still beautiful. Looking at the valley how I wished I had planned to stay a night in this valley. It would be great to be here during sunrise and sunset.
We drove along Road 927 until we reached Cerkev Sv. Duh (Church) before we decided to turn back and go into Logar Valley via Road 428. The distance from Cerkev Sv Duh to the fork road that branch off to Road 428 was only 7 km
On Road 428 we had to make a right turn into a road that went into the valley. There was a ticketing booth just at the start of the road and the admission ticket for a car was €7. We parked our car just before the entrance and came down to explore. No charges for humans.
We did not intend to drive into the valley as firstly we did not allocated time to explore inland and secondly the best view was at the start of the road into the valley. The scenery of huge green meadow in a wide valley franked on both sides by green forested hills and high snow Alps beyond too very lovely beyond words.
Velika Planina was a high mountain plateau located in the foothills of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, where the best preserved herdsmen settlement in Europe was located. Not only were we visiting the plateau we would be staying a night on the plateau!
According to the accommodation website (agoda.com), it stated that we had to go up to Velika Planina via a cable car. The drive to the cable car station would take about an hour so at about 12.45 pm we left Logar Valley as we wanted to be in time for the 2 pm cable car ride up to Velika Planina.
From google map, I saw a road that led directly up to Velika Planina. Unfortunately, all the websites about Velika Planina mentioned either trekking up to the plateau or going up by cable car. I was so tempted to drive up to Velika Planina but was worry that midway the road may be blocked with no access to vehicle.
We reached the car park of the cable car station at 1.45 pm. Great! Parking overnight was free for cable car users.
We rushed out to buy the cable car tickets as time was running out. The ride consisted of two parts. We could buy one or both parts depending or how far up we intended to go. The first ticket was for a cable ride from the lower station to an upper station. At the upper station the 2nd ticket would allow us to take a chairlift further up for two more stations. We bought return tickets for two parts. It came up to €58 for four of us.
Though we were at the cable car entrance at 2 pm, there were too many people and we could not squeeze in. Just when I thought that we would had to wait till 4 pm for the next ride we found out that the frequency of the cable car rides was 10 minutes apart. What a relieve! I had somehow got some incorrect information from some websites.
We exited at the upper cable car station and met our host’s father who brought us to our stay for the night. It was a traditional herdsman’s cottage 200 metres from the cable car station. Wow, very unique very authentic. Unfortunately not a comfortable place at all.
After we dropped our overnight bags at our stay we were out. We took a short walk to the chairlift station 1. It was a double chairlift. The slope was not very steep and many people was actually walking rather than taking the chairlifts. During winter this whole place would be covered in snow and was one of the favourite places for skiing.
Our chairlift went past chairlift station 2 without stopping or slowing down, probably because we did not signal to the operator that we wanted to alight. Or were we supposed to just jump down once we reached station 2? Too late, too slow we zoomed past chairlift station 2 and was on the way to station 3.
The slope between chairlift stations 2 and 3 were much steeper. Chairlift station 3, the last station, was almost at the highest part of the plateau, from there we trekked up a slope and saw a herdsmen’s settlement on the other side, down a hill.
We decided not to trek down to the settlement because the down slope walk there and the up slope walk back would take a great deal of effort and time. We opted to take the chairlift back to station 2 for a good meal! This time we informed the chairlift operator that we wanted to stop at station 2 and off course he cheekily told me to jump off when I reached station 2.
Well, the chairlifts did slowed down at station 2, the cheeky operator on the upper station walkie talkie to the operator at the lower station and the chairlift slowed down enough for me to jump off safely!
From station 2 we walked about 100 m to a restaurant, Gostišče zeleni rob. Earlier on, this place was packed with people and the crowd overflowed onto its outdoor terrace. Now at 3.30 pm the place was less crowded. Though the restaurant closed at about 6 pm (in May), food was already running out long before closing time. There were only 5 items out of 7 on the menu that were still available. We ordered four of them.
The food were traditional food eaten by herdsmen. They were sausages in barley, sausage in stew, sausage in vege (sauerkraut?) and a curd (cheese) desert. Taste wise nothing fantastic, pretty okay, just something different from the standard stuffs we had been eating so far. The entire bill of the meals and drink came up to €34.4, not cheap.
After dinner we decided to walk around the area around the restaurant. There were many paths so we just followed a path that seem more popular. We came to a cluster of herdsmen’s cottages. Some looked pretty new as the wood looked fresh and light brown in color. Some had solar panels. Most of them looked like they were rent out the visitors.
We walked on and on and somehow our walk took us to the herdsmen’s settlement. That was the same settlement we saw when we were at chairlift station 3. This route which was longer and and on a gentler slope was an alternative route to the herdsmen’s settlement!
The herdsmen’s settlement was the largest herdsmen settlement in Europe. On the pasture were some 140 cottages with traditional spruce shingles that reach almost to the ground. Every June the plateau would come alive with the arrival of the herdsmen and their cows. The herdsmen would stay in these cottages to tend to their grazing herds until September.
During our walk we saw two cars!!! So the road that I saw on the google map was passable to cars after all! Though driving up could be tedious as the roads were unsealed and were mainly narrow dirt road, it saved cost and we could come up with all our stuffs (food and tidbits). On the other hand, I must also acknowledge that if everybody was to drive up here, then this place would not be as nice as now when the place was practically car-less.
It was after 6 pm when we started our walk back to where we came from. Upon reaching restaurant Gostišče zeleni rob we found that it had closed for the day. Even all the chairlift operation had also stopped. So we had to trek all the way down to chairlift station 1 where our herdsman cottage was located. Luckily for us the slope was not particularly steep and we had a very pleasant and cool walk.
Our Accommodation for the night
We rented a cottage – Vevška koča Velika Planina, through agoda.com for a night. It costed an outrageous €135 (SGD$202) a night. We booked this rather late, a week prior to our travel date, so there were no other options. Staying overnight at Velika Planina gave us up to sun down (7pm to 8pm) to explore the the plateau. If we did not, we would have to leave by 4 pm which was the time the last cable car left Velika Planina.
Paying €135 was not an issue if the owner had kept the cottage tidier and cleaner. The owner had turned this traditional herdman’s cottage into a accommodation for tourists which basically meant daily income for him. Unfortunately, unlike the other cottages that we had seen, the interior of this cottage felt very stale! The linens, blankets and bed felt damp and dirty.
Though there was electricity there was no hot shower or hot water. The television on the first level was out of order. The warmer in the toilet was also not working well.
The cottage door opened into a living room cum kitchen. It had a huge table on one side of the room and a high bed on the other side. Why was there a high bed cluttering this room? It looked like something the owner intended to throw out but did not manage to get it done. The bed took up a huge portion of the living room.
When I opened the cabinets to look for cups and cooking utensils, I found many boxes of half finished food, biscuits etc. It looked like leftovers from previous lodgers that the owner did not bother to clear out!
On the upper level of the cottage was a bigger room with two beds and one abandoned dirty mattress left at the side of the wall. The room felt stale and murky.
The cottage had no electric warmer so the only way to keep warm was to constantly feed chopped wood into the kitchen stove on an hourly basis!! This ancient stove was an interesting concoction. The heat from the stove fed into three areas, a water boiler, a hot plate for cooking and and a air warmer.
We stayed in the living room till very late into the night as it was the only place where we could stay warm. We passed the night listening to the radio that was provided by the owner and surfing the web on our own data plans. The owner did not provide wifi!