So after the mixup with Phil’s passport, we decided to make the most out of our trip and stay in Slovenia which is definitely not a place either of us had ever thought to take a vacation. But! It turns out Slovenia is a fantastic country in which to travel and try out our van life idea.
We started out in Izola where we parked at what we thought was going to be a camper park, but turned out to just be a parking lot. We had our hearts set on trying out wild camping, but after reading a lot about how it’s illegal in Slovenia and that the fine can be pretty hefty, we decided to pay for the car park (€4 for 24 hours) to be safe. As a side note, it turns out that you are allowed to sleep in your car in parking lots as long as the boundaries of your car are maintained – roof not extended, no chairs or tables outside, etc. because that would be wild camping). We slept well, though it was colder in the van than we anticipated.
In the morning we woke up to organize the van a little bit and get all of our things settled in so we could safely leave the van parked there during the day.
We walked out to the tip of the peninsula to check out the view and the lighthouse and we marveled a bit at the amount of trash that is all over the beach. Sadly either the locals or the tourists or both are not taking care of their shoreline. It’s not so bad that the water isn’t clear anymore. There are just lots of tiny pieces of trash everywhere; everything from tin cans to bottle caps and plastic bags.
We walked through Izola a little bit, marveling at the architecture and stopping for a coffee, but just after 1pm we got back into our van and drove to Pirán for lunch. We’d read about a restaurant called Pirát (translation: pirate) that has fantastic reviews and decided to try out some local fare. If you’re visiting the Istrian coast you have to eat seafood and you have to try the local wines. No wine for us at lunch, but we each had a seafood pasta that set us up for a couple of hours exploring the town.
We also walked up to the top of the hill to explore more of the town and to see if we could get a better view. At the top of the hill in Pirán there are the remnants of the old town wall, built between the 1400s and the 1500s. You can climb up the northern part of the wall and get a fantastic view of the entire Peninsula.
When we got back to our car it was already after 4pm and we decided to head to our next campsite, which was luckily in Portorož just on the other side of the bay. The campsite was cheap, offered electricity and showers, as well as a place to refill our drinking water, and was very close to some hiking trails built into the hill overlooking the salt flats. It’s actually just to the north of where we stopped to take our sunset photo from the last blog post.
As soon as we arrived, we unpacked and started cooking dinner.
Now, one of the focuses of our website will also be our efforts to cook and eat well while we’re on the road. This time we’re outfitted with a propane-powered camping griddle, so we have things pretty easy, and something to this effect is likely going to be how we handle cooking when we get on the road next year. Having a gas flame allows us to do a lot of different kinds of cooking. Baking is something we’re going to be exploring before we get our own van, so if any of you have tips, please please let us know in the comments below! Anyways, we had a simple dinner of grilled chicken and salad, but what made it fantastic was that Kristin packed some spice sets and olive oil for us to use so we were actually able to make something tasty for ourselves in under 15 minutes!