Daytrip tips: Strma Reber (Small Vršič)
After a spring with an exceptional amount of rain, it has been hot and dry for three weeks now. Average temperatures are above 30 degrees and we haven’t seen a drop of rain. The grass is getting more yellow by the day. Fortunately, we have set up our pool again that we are enjoying a whole lot now :).
Last Sunday, Bine and I wanted to get away for a little bit, but because of the heat, we didn’t really feel like going for a walk. Another thing we also like to do is go for a drive and enjoy the beautiful nature that you find everywhere here. And of course, we are nice and cool in the car because of the air conditioning ;).
Most of you will probably know the Vršič pass or have heard of it. This pass is located in the north of Slovenia and has no fewer than 50 hairpin bends, 24 up and 26 more down on the other side. The highest point is 1611 meters. What many people don’t know, however, is that in the south of the country you also have a pass with a fair number of hairpin bends, nineteen to be exact. These hairpin bends are only on one side however and the highest point is at 993 meters. But that’s why this pass, called »Strma Reber« is also sometimes called »Small Vršič«.
A few weeks ago, Tom Cruise seems to have filmed a part of his latest Mission impossible film here! We saw that on the news. The pass was completely closed for a number of days and helicopters regularly flew around the area.
When driving from Kočevska Reka it is worth stopping at “Reško jezero”, a lake that was created when the river there was dammed in the 1970s. The “Orlov” path, or the Eagle’s Path, runs around the lake. Again a beautiful piece of nature.
Along the way, you will come across a nice wooden statue that is supposed to represent the figure of Peter Klepec. Legend has it that this Peter was a thin little boy who worked as a shepherd and was bullied by the older and stronger boys in the neighborhood. When he once protected a fairy from the scorching sun with a branch, the fairy rewarded him by giving him exceptional strength. With that, he took revenge on his bullies and once grown-up and the Turks invaded the country, Peter came to the rescue by tearing a large pine out of the ground and driving the Turks out of the valley with it. That is why this valley is still called »The land of Peter Klepec« :).
We have already driven over this pass before, but this time we took a slightly different route, all the way along the river Kolpa. This river is a tributary of the Sava river and runs for about 118 kilometers on the border between Slovenia and Croatia. A few years ago, you could stop anywhere along the road to park your car and cool off in the river, but since the migrant crisis, the Slovenian government has erected barbed wire fences along most of it. Very strange to drive by like that. Here and there there is a gate build in the fence for the owners of the land or one of the few campsites next to it. Many residents who have a house on the river suddenly had a fence in their garden. In the places where there is no fence and the river is accessible, you immediately see a number of parked cars and people enjoying themselves in the water.
At the bottom of the pass, you arrive in Osilnica and there we turned left to get to the border crossing Petrina. Shortly afterward, we took the exit for Fara to the right. Here you still drive all the way along the river and eventually, we drove back home via Črnomelj, where we had a nice meal. A beautiful route that I can heartily recommend, but where you should not be afraid of heights or be an insecure driver.