In 2014, I climbed the imposing Mount Triglav in Slovenia.
If you want to know about dislocated arms, helicopter rescues, homeless French explorers, being considered dead and once in a lifetime Italian festivals then read on.
The hike was a step-up from the Welsh and Scottish routes I was used to but one step below full-on mountaineering. If I had to describe the experience, I would say it is similar to Via Ferrata with a lot of exposure and some risk but quite safe. Kind of. I did it solo as I have never been a fan of guides.
If you are planning to attempt it, I hope this post has some use. At the very least, it might make an interesting story.
Personally, I wasn’t roped in as I wanted to move quickly but several other ascenders were which made me a little wary each time I passed a red spot of paint on the route. The spots marked where hikers had fallen to their death.
There were a lot of red spots.
- UK Train to London
- Eurostar Train from London to Paris
- Overnight sleeper train from Paris to Munich (now decommissioned)
- Train from Munich to Villach, Austria
- Trans-Alp train from Villach to Jeseniche, Slovenia
- Train from Jenseniche to Ribcev Laz (Lake Bohinj)
- Hike from Ribcev Laz to Vodnikov Hut, Triglav
- Summit Triglav
- Return to Ribcev Laz
- Train from Ribcev Laz to Gorizia (Slovenia)
- Train from Gorizia (Italy) to Venice
- Overnight in Venice
- Fly back to UK
September is considered a great month to be outdoors in the Julian Alps. The daylight is long, the temperatures are warm and the weather is, for the most part dry.
I wanted to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital who had been looking after my daughter’s friend Sebbie when he was diagnosed with leukemia and Triglav seemed like a great challenge.
The mountain stands an impressive 9396 feet (2864m) and is a source of immense Slovenian pride. It has been said that you are not a true Slovenian until you have stood atop the craggy surface, you even get your bum whipped with birch branches to celebrate. It is not a technical climb in summer but it can be dangerous if underestimated.
My partner was to be a close friend whom I had hiked the Pembrokeshire Coastal Trail with two years before. However, he had to pull out so I looked at my now-spare Eurostar ticket and told my 57 year old Dad to pack a bag. We were off to Slovenia.
His only question was what is the beer like in Slovenian?
UK to Slovenia
We took the Eurostar to Paris and then an overnight sleeper train to Munich where we were housed with two American college girls backpacking across Europe and the loudest Hungarian snorer I think I will ever encounter. I don’t think his snoring was the result of his national heritage, but then, I have never been to Hungary so I cannot be sure.
When we boarded the the now-decommissioned Night Jet to Munich my Dad promptly ambled off to find the buffet cart where he preceded to buy the only crate of Pilsner they had remaining. He sat outside our couchette and offered passers-by one of his prized bottles of beer. I think Dad met more people on this trip than I did.
Note to self: offering free beer is a great way to meet literally everyone.
I made do with the couchette, the two beaming co-eds and our Hungarian human bellow.
We rolled into Munich at 7am the next morning. My Dad had not slept and staggered into the German sunlight after his dozen bottles.
Munich? Looks nice.
In the morning, after a train station breakfast, we hitched a long train through the Alps to Villach in Austria where I marvelled at the scenery and my Dad’s resilience to his clear hangover. Then we took a beautiful train ride over the Alps and into Jesenice. As we rumbled past deep cut gorges, icy mountain rivers and snow capped peaks he was definitely feeling worse for wear and I enjoyed a little schadenfreude at his condition and my sobriety.
We disembarked at Jesenice in Slovenia and stretched our legs at the most desolate, empty and eerie train station I have ever seen. It was like stepping into an apocalypse movie. Everything was clean, concrete and…empty.
The station was empty. The road was empty. The ticket booths were also empty and our lack of Slovenian made reading the timetable a little tricky. I knew we had to get to Ribcev Laz and I knew this station had a connecting train in the next 2 hours so we threw our rucksacks down and went for a little walk. I mean, who would steal them? No one was even alive.
A few hundred metres away we could see some sort of bierkeller, or the Slovenian word for bierkeller. I remember a single blinking neon sign and we shrugged and headed inside to enjoy a cold beer and a bowl of soup.
The bartender spoke a little English and told us the train to Ribcev Laz would be along shortly so we finished the meal, gratefully received, and headed back. Apart from the bartender, we did not see a single other person in all of Jesenice.
If pressed I would guess that he is still there today, serving beer to the survivors of whatever apocalypse befell the town. He could have been an NPC in Fallout: New Jesenice for all I know.
We jumped onto a four-carriage train from the 1950s, the only passengers, and enjoyed the scenery.
If Jesenice was an apocalypse movie then Ribcev Laz was a spaghetti Western. The train stopped on the tracks and the doors opened. I am certain I heard banjo announcing our arrival.
It was like stepping into a frontier town. The Dodge City of Slovenia. In the distance, we could see the shimmering Lake Bohinj and a cluster of holiday homes where I had arranged to rent the top floor of a small house.
We hailed a cab outside the (obviously) empty station which took us to our accommodation where we were welcomed by the host.
I planned to set off for the summit immediately the next morning which did not give me much time to appreciate the town. So, that evening I took a little walk down to the lake’s edge and found Stojan Batič’s statue and to ask it for good luck.
It commemorates the four men from Bohinj who were the first to climb to the summit of Mount Triglav as early as on 26 August 1778. The party included Lovrenc Willomitzer (a doctor from Stara Fužina), hunter Štefan Rožič, miner Matija Kos from Jereka, and Luka Korošec from Koprivnik.
If you want to find it then it is located in the park facing the Hotel Jezero near the Church of St. John. One of the first ascenders is pointing to the summit of Mount Triglav.
I tapped the statue and asked for some good fortune.
Later, Dad and I went looking for a meal and found a hotel with an all-you-can eat buffet for 15 euros. We gorged on unpronounceable Slovenian dishes and I loaded up on bread as fuel for the next day.
That hotel was to play a critical part in all of the drama that was about to unfold.
Over the last month I had mapped my route in detail but I didn’t have much of a timing plan other than to leave at first light and ensure I made one of the mountain huts by dark. I had forgotten to bring a head torch which was a rookie mistake and was also to play a critical part in all of the drama that was about to unfold.
Ribcev Laz to the base of Triglav
I woke up to fantastic weather, grabbed my pack and told my Dad I was off. Inside I had packed a loaf of bread, some cold meat, some honey, some nutella, 2 bananas, some chocolate and four litres of water. A real pilgrims diet. I like to travel Hobbit-like and don’t really favour freeze-dried food on the trail.
Dad I will be back in 2 days. 1 day to get close then I will summit on Day 2 and walk back. If I am not back, don’t worry. There are plenty of mountain huts. Give me an extra day before you worry. Got it?Me to him…
He nodded and but he had that look of worry parents get. I gave him a teddy bear belonging to my 1 year old son and told him to take pictures with it around the town. It was for his nursery back home. That Busy Bees Bear was well travelled.
He took the bear and promised to show it a good time.
I headed straight past St. John’s Church and up to Stara Furzina. From there I handrailed the gorgeous Mostnica Gorge and just kept heading up.
If you have read this far and want the specific route I will put the map and detailed directions at the bottom of the post. Feel free to skip to that but the route descriptions below you might find useful.
The lower forests and metalled roads quickly give way to a large expanse of gentle farmland within a bowl valley, known as Voje Valley. The scenery is beautiful and, being honest, familiar. You could easily mistake yourself for being in the continental United States, Last of the Mohicans or in Assassin’s Creed 3.
From the end of the Stara Furzina road/track, the ascent begins in earnest. The path is steep as you cut away out of the Voje valley and into the Triglav National Park.
The route is not well marked, Slovenians have a really liberal view of personal risk, but as long as you trust your map you will be fine even as the forest switchbacks make you feel like you are turned around. Stay on the track, stay the course and eventually the valley narrows into a steep gorge with huge flora, akin to temperate rain forest. You will see the difference noticeably.
I kept ascending even as I began to doubt my map-reading skills and the light was failing with no end to the path in sight. I sat down and rubber-ducked myself. If you are unfamiliar with the technique, it means to talk out loud to an inanimate object as if it is a person. It lets you outline your problem and find a solution. I talked to my map.
Hey map, are you wrong? Probably not. Has the land changed? Probably not. Am I tired? Yes. Am I reading this map correctly? Prob not. Should I double check? Yes. What is more likely, the geology of a national park has shifted 130 degrees North or I am just doubting myself? Prob I am doubting myself. Can I walk back down safely at this point? No.
Decision: Let’s press on.
Just as the golden hour of photography was cast I hit a well trodden trail, brushed aside some foliage and saw Dom Vodnikov, one of the half dozen mountain huts used for a summit attempt.
In the distance, shrouded in light cloud cover was Mount Triglav, the rocky top obscured in shadow. Further up the range and very close to the summit was Dom Plenika, another hut.
I knew I would never make Plenika before dark. It was too far and the distance was not a straight line so I headed into Vodnikov for some goulash (the best I have ever tasted (but doesn’t every hiker say that about every meal on the trail?)) and a well-deserved sleep on a super comfy 1 inch mattress on a wooden platform.
I slept like a baby.
The early dawn woke me up for day 2. It was summit day.
It started oh so well…
After a light breakfast I set off as part of a throng of other hikers. Within minutes we had all shaken off the stiff muscles of the day before and hit our natural stride.
The racing snakes quickly disappeared in front of me and occasionally I would see them in the distance rounding another corner at the base of the cliffs of the Tosc and Vernar mountains which jutted up to the right. Behind me other groups took a more leisurely pace and some of them cut off at different angles. Heading for another hut perhaps? This area was extremely popular for all levels of walking activity.
From Vodnikov you can keep your next target in sight the whole time. Dom Planika is the highest hut in the Julian Alps and the last place to purchase any water and supplies. Keep your eyes fixed on it and just keep walking.
To reach it you criss-cross a lattice of trails heading all over the Triglav National Park but sign-posts also mark the route nicely.
By mid-morning I had arrived and I joined the rapidly expanding group of potential summiteers. It was a motely crew indeed.
I saw a swarthy man in his 50’s wearing leather shoes and thick black leather jacket. He was swaying dangerously and sipping from a water bottle. I saw families with pre-teen children double checking harnesses and Petz helmets. I saw couples resting and chatting quietly and a group of Americans wearing bandanas. One confidently dumped his pack at Planika saying he would be back in a couple of hours.
From the hut I could see straight up onto the ridgeline that would lead us to the peak but there did not appear to be a route. Hikers were just simply walking straight at the chalky white wall of rock and beginning to ascend. I bought some more water, shrugged and began to head up.
For the first time in the ascent I was forced to scramble and use my hands. At times, the angle was 70-80 degrees but handholds were plenty.
Occasionally you would see a series of iron pitons or a small iron cable hammered into the rock which provided a welcome boost.
It wasn’t long before I could stop and have an early lunch overlooking Planika where I watched more and more hikers making their way across the dozen or so mountain trails. The photo of my feet with the bread is at Triglavski Vrata at 2581m.
I didn’t linger too long as I wanted to be on the summit for midday. The arete begins to narrow considerably at this stage and a fall would definitely be fatal. More and more steel cables appeared and hikers began to clip into their harnesses. I saw the Americans from Planika ahead, and like me, they were not using safety gear and we would skip round the slower hikers warily eyeing the 1000 foot drop to the valleys below.
The red plaques reminded us not to be too complacent.
The ridge leads to Mali Triglav (Little Triglav) at 2739m and crowds were beginning to form as a long snake of hikers shuffled forward heading for the top. Sharp drops of exposure either side kept everyone moving slowly and overtaking became more perilous.
When stuck behind behind people I would marvel at the views extending in every direction. It is a spectacular national park and I could see why Julius Kugy wrote in his book Aus dem Leben eines Bergsteiger (From the Life of the Mountaineer).
Triglav is not just a mountain, Triglav is kingdomJulius Kugy
Before long I found myself making the final scramble to the summit and then, in brilliant sunshine, I crested the last outcrop and stood at the top of the Julian Alps, on the peak that the Germans refer to as Konig Triglav.
I threw down my company flag, took a photo and then basked in the beautiful weather.
At the top a hiker had carried up 36 cans of soda and was handing them out to anyone who wanted one. He was Slovenian and especially congratulating foreigners who had made the trip. They really are super proud. I gratefully accepted a cold Coca Cola and he asked where I was from.
Scotland I said and he smiled wide and gave me the thumbs up.
I looked at his pack of jostling cans and thought better him than me. It must have weighed a ton.
Looking around the summit I saw some of the characters from Planika including the family of Via Ferrata climbers teaching their 12 year old son good habits.
As a bucket list experiences go, this was one of the finest. I sat on my pack and took it all in. I had made good time and with a little push I would be back in Ribcev Laz that evening. I didn’t mind the darkness arriving because I knew from the farmland it was all metalled roads and I still had my phone. Everything was going to plan.
Then I heard the scream.
A female hiker had slipped on the summit and dislocated her arm. It was hanging at an atrocious angle and her group were looking worried.
They were asking in various languages if anyone was a medic. I hesitated and looked for someone to step forward but everyone was looking at everyone else.
I had had completed my basic Team Medic course in the Army and I always carried my aide-memoire with me on hikes so I took a deep breath and volunteered. I am not a Medic but I have a little experience. How can I help?
I talked to the injured woman who spoke English and managed to loop a sling around her arm to ease the pressure. She sat with the arm resting on her knees. The pain was obvious. One of her party tried to give her food and I stopped him. She might need anesthetic at hospital. No food. Just keep her warm with extra jackets.
Another hiker translated and they agreed to give her water only. I had a small first aid kit with Ibuprofen and other painkillers so I handed them over. We all looked at the descent. It was impossible. There was no conceivable way for a person to descend with one arm. It would be suicide
Another hiker produced a working mobile phone and soon the rescue helicopter was called. For some reason, unknown to me, the helicopter approached and initially landed at Dom Krederica mountain hut to our East. We watched it rise then it flew over Mali Triglav and then hovered above us.
With nothing further they could do, two of her party had begun the descent but I and one other agreed to stay with the woman until she was rescued.
I kept one eye on my watch and another on the weather which was still looking clear, but, I was about to receive a lesson in how quickly mountain conditions can change.
The woman was hoisted to safety after a brief triage and then the helicopter was gone. I hope she made a full recovery. I remember one hiker saying I hope she has insurance. I think the cost of a rescue is high.
I began my descent now concerned about making it back in time and in my head I worked through my alternative plans. Other than staying at Vodnikov another night, there was not much else.
As I raced down a mountain mist began to move in and coat everything. I could barely see the iron pitons in front of me. The image below is not at a dutch angle, this is the real descent.
In the fog I missed one of the trails and headed in completely the wrong direction. Instead of heading South I had somehow taken a trail to the Eastern plateau. Nightmare.
My options were now to try and re-ascend in the obscured conditions or keep heading down.
I ended up at Dom Krederica, the same hut where the heli had made a pitstop. I was now 4-5 hours off my plan at least. Resigned to the fact and it being late afternoon, I headed inside to see if they had any sleeping space.
They didn’t. Drat.
However, I had a stroke of good fortune. Someone at the bar recognised me as the good samaritan and offered to buy me a beer. His group were doing another ascent tomorrow and were staying the night. One of his climbing pals was from Leicester which is less than an hour from my hometown. We got chatting and I explained I was due back tonight but I had forgotten my head torch and due to the injury at the top I was now totally off my schedule. Another member of their party, an American, produced a spare and told me to head off because darkness was coming soon. I will be forever grateful for that kindness. The camaraderie amongst outdoor enthusiasts never ceases to surprise me.
So, I stayed for another half pint, bid them good luck and set off into the fog to try and find Dom Vodnikov and my route home but it was slow going. The sheer number of trails made map reading nearly impossible and the mountains were just grey-black masses with few identifiable points. I could only set a compass bearing and keep following it, judging my distance as best I could through steps.
I zig zagged around the base of the ridge, occasionally having to use more of the Via Ferrata apparatus but darkness descended rapidly and it was becoming more dangerous. The metal cables were slick with moisture from the fog and each piton was a fall waiting to happen.
I used the head torch until the batteries failed and then I happened upon a sign post I had seen before. Hallelujah!
It was now pitch black and treacherous.
Using the last remaining power from my mobile phone I picked out a path to Dom Vodnikov for over an hour, avoiding the lizards and geckos skittering across the path. Occasionally I would see other bobbing head below me which gave me confidence I was heading in the right direction. My real confidence came from seeing a familiar wall of rock, now on my left hand side. It was the cliffs of Tosc and Vernar mountains. Relief genuinely washed over me. I knew the refuge was only minutes away.
That evening I stumbled into Vodnikov, begging them for a room and a bowl of goulash. It was better than the bowl the night before.
Now, this is the interesting part. When you stay at a mountain hut they normally take some form of ID so that, should they be contacted, they can communicate with rescue agencies etc. The authorities ring up and say who is staying with you tonight etc.
I handed over my driving license and went to sleep.
That evening, mountain rescue called the Vodnikov Hut and asked is Steven Feeney staying there?
To this day, I will never know why, as I slept, the Hut Manager said no. Either he missed my ID or he didn’t read it properly.
I didn’t know this at the time however as I was fast asleep, I would find it out later. In the morning I collected my ID, had a quick breakfast and set off at 6am.
With good time I knew I would be back in Ribcev Laz by 10am and I would still have time to make my train to Venice. No harm no foul.
I pushed down the mountain, scrambled down the gorge, through the forest, into the farm plateau of Voje Valley, followed the Mostnica river gorge, raced through Stara Furzina and was walking past the First Ascenders Statue in Ribcev Laz when I heard an almighty scream.
It was more of a wailing. A banshee-like howling as if an animal was caught in a trap.
What the hell is that? I thought to myself.
Then, to my horror, in the distance, on the balcony of my accomodation was my Dad.
I thought you were dead! he was screaming. I thought my son was dead!!
Oh God. What has he done? I thought to myself.
I jogged into the accommodation and tried to calm him down. I also plugged my phone into charge and then it happened.
The facebook messenger app started going wild. Ping ping ping. A dozen messages. Ping ping. More messages.
The host of the accommodation came and found me. She was saying we had to leave. My Dad had been inconsolable. He had rang every Slovenian emergency service he could demanding action. The fire. The police. Mountain rescue.
I asked the host what they said. Her English was excellent and she explained
They told him that your son likely misjudged the time and he prob stayed in Dom Vodnikov for one extra night and if he leaves at first light, he will be home by 10am. He is fine.
I looked at my watch, it was 10.02. That was an impressive assessment.
Dad continued to wail and at this point I became angry. It seems Dad had also discovered that the all-you-can-eat buffet was also an all-you-can-drink buffet and once he had more-than-a-few beers in him his critical thinking skills had deserted him. He had contacted every family member he knew to say his son had perished in the mountains of Slovenia.
I look back at the experience now and laugh but at the time every family member was messaging me in a panic. Steve answer your FB. Are you alive?
The only one who did not panic was my fiance, Teri. When Dad rung her in the middle of the night to proclaim I had died on Triglav, Teri promptly said that was impossible, put the phone down and went back to sleep.
I messaged her first. I am alive. I am fine. Heading to Venice.
I knew you would be she replied. See you in 2 days.
I would like to say that Dad and I hugged it out. Instead we had a blazing row. He threw Busy Bees Teddy at me. A cab arrived at the accommodation and I frantically packed and had the quickest shower of my life.
Only two trains left Ribcev Laz for Gorizia, Italy per day. One was at 10.40 and the other was 10 hours later. I threw everything I owned into my rucksack, thanked the host and ran outside. Missing this train would mean trying to get to Venice at midnight.
Dad followed me to car, as did the argument. More insults were thrown. I think everyone in Ribcev Laz heard us thundering at each other.
I jumped into the cab and told him.
If you don’t get into this cab right now, you cannot make the train and you are stuck here. What’s it gonna be?
His Scottish anger took over and he told me where to shove my cab.
I slammed the door and told the cab driver that he would make an extra 10 euros if he got me to the station for 10.39. He peeled up the mountain roads like Emerson Fittipaldi, screeching round turns and drove straight onto the gravel siding. I threw the money at him and ran across the Spaghetti Western tracks climbing onto the 1950s carriages just as the signal went.
I was off to the Italian border town of Gorizia! Mission accomplished.
Dad was, well…Dad was stuck in Ribcev Laz and being tossed out of the accommodation at 11am. It would be a hell of a hangover.
Onwards to Italy
It did not take long for my phone to ring. It was my cousin Angela, Dad’s niece. She looked on him as a bit of a surrogate father.
She asked what happened and I explained and she said whit an affy affy mess. Scottish slang for quite the pickle.
She asked what would happen now. I explained that there are only 2 trains and he missed this one. I cannot go back. He would have to wait 10 hours. This is not London, St. Pancras. She promised to take care of it.
I went to sleep until, at a later stop, someone entered my carriage. He was good-looking Frenchman, early 20s, painfully thin and carrying, what looked like, everything he owned on his back. Enter Lucas.
We got chatting and he explained he was eventually headed for Tibet but he did not know how he get there or where the money would come from. We got on immediately. He said he was leaving France to seek life.
A curious fact about Slovenia and Italy is that they use different railway gauges and both countries refuse to change so you must finish your journey at the Slovenian end of Gorizia and walk to the Italian station over the border and board a separate train.
When we disembarked it was into a wild street festival. Bands were striking up a chorus, banners were draped over everything and crowds filled every conceivable space. Street vendors were selling snacks and delicacies everywhere.
I drew 100 euros out of my account and handed 50 to Lucas. He looked confused and I explained It’s a gift, get whatever you want.
I have always believed that, if people are in a group and one is less well-off then the undignified way to approach this is to say Let me know what you want and I will buy it. That leads to reluctance. There is no dignity for the receiver. It is much easier to just split your money and say this is yours now. Spend as you wish.
We wandered through the festival with no idea why it was being hosted but we snacked and drank our way to the Italian train station where we said our goodbyes but exchanged Facebook details.
My train arrived first and the last time I saw him, Lucas was sitting on the floor of the opposite platform, his backpack resting on the side and he was counting his remaining funds.
I can say now, he did indeed make it to Tibet and was adopted by a group of travellers with a van. He was still travelling three years after I met him according to social media.
Liberté, egalité et fraternité indeed.
The city of Venice is one of those places that I think truly lives up to the image portrayed in the movies. Sure, it has its commercial side and it can be expensive but it is still an amazing place.
The train goes straight over the lagoon via the Ponte della Libertà bridge and into the Santa Lucia railway station, built in 1861.
It was my third time in the city, so I hopped off the train, smelled the familiar lagoon air and wandered into the maze of city streets to find my accomodation. It was not open and there was no answer. No worries, I could find a cafe or cicchetti bar and wait.
It was dark when my phone rang. It was Angela.
Your Dad is on the train and he is near Venice, will you meet him at the station?
I agreed and took a wander around the Rialto Bridge and back to the train station. The train pulled into the station and I watched the passengers disembark. My eyes darted from person to person. Eventually the platform was empty.
Is this a joke? I had just walked from the other side of the island to get here.
I rang Angela.
He is not here.
He must be Angela insisted.
He is not.
I heard the sounds of another phone being produced and Angela making a call. It was muffled.
Where are you? Venice? Steve is in Venice and he cannot see you. The train station? Yes. He is there. Where are you? Aye, Venice, so you keep saying.
I had a bit of lightbulb moment and this is a true story…
Angela, ask him if he can see any water?
He says no, he cannot.
Then he is not in fucking Venice then is he! It’s a set of islands!!
It turns out that Dad had had an little adventure of his own. After sobering up and eating some food he waited the 10 hours or so and got on the next train to Gorizia which was packed with beautiful women.
Not just any women, but the models of the Pirelli Calendar who were in the local area for a shooting assignment.
He had a good old chat to the jet-setting ladies and when they disembarked at Venice Mestre station (on the mainland) he had assumed they were going to the same place as him, saw the word Venice and hopped off. Right into an industrial town.
He eventually realised his mistake and sheepishly arrived in Venice 20 minutes later.
Just take me to my accomodation. It was less of a request and more of a snarl.
I was about to argue when I realised he looked like a broken man, it had been a long time since he had done any vagabonding. He was limping, his rucksack hung off his shoulder at a wild angle. He was exhausted. 34 hours without sleep will do that to a man I guess.
We found the flat, had a good night’s sleep and the next day I gave him a tour of the city.
As we sat in the drawing room of Europe, St. Mark’s Square, having the most expensive cup of coffee of his life, Dad asked where I had proposed to Teri.
Right here, this cafe, at night. The band played for us and the waiter brought strawberries.
How much did it cost?
I grimaced. More than I thought. 50% of the holiday budget. We could not afford the hotel and had to leave that night and find a cheaper place. Teri was mortified.
He laughed at that.
His mum, Elizabeth, was a devout Catholic, a true believer, and we toured a few of the significant churches including St. Mark’s Basilica with it’s shimmering golden roof and, my favourite, The Church of Santa Maria sitting at the entrance to the Grand Canal.
We lounged on the steps watching the gondolas and boats floating past. I could see he was in definite pain from the walking and travelling. He shifted uncomfortably on the concrete but tried to hide it.
I think it was this trip that I realised, more than any other, he might not have many adventures left in him. Reflective, I felt guilty for the argument. I tried to apologise.
Shut up will you eh. You should apologise for the price of that coffee. 12 euros to sit in a chair in a square. Nah. Not for me.
That was my Dad all over. A different generation maybe. Never back down, never apologise, never accept an apology, always, always, always tough it out. Always demand the Slovenian Fire Service conduct a mountain rescue when your son is in trouble.
To this day I am not sure what the Fire Service were expected to do but he had a list of phone numbers and he would use them all demanding action.
It wasn’t the last adventure though. Like Lucas, Dad still had more travels in him. Amsterdam, Paris and Snowdon awaited. Never did apologise for telling my fiance I had died though.
I hope when I am in my 50s I can still keep up with Darcey, Holly and Jacob.
This was my adventure to Mount Triglav in the Slovenian Alps.
Full Map and Directions for Hikers
- From Ribcev Laz, head due North to Stara Fuzina
- From Stara, continue North alongside Mostnica Gorge
- At Koca Pri Slapu, find Western forest trail
- Follow switchbacks on Eastern side of Tisovec Mountain
- Handrail Tisovec onto Northern face (steep gully)
- This section can feel confusing but trust your map and compass
- Turn due North from Tisovec and ascend to Vodnikov Refuge
- From Vodnikov, continue North-West approaching Plenika Refuge
- From Plenika (marked below), ascend North to the shoulder of the arete/ridge
- Follow the trail North-West and continue ascent to Mini-Triglav
- Continue into the saddle between Mini-Triglav and Triglav Summit
- Ascend the summit
To anyone attempting the climb, I wish you every every success