Paul, our tour guide and owner of Simply Cycling Slovenia, picked us up at 10:30 and we drove 2.5 hours before stopping at a truck stop for a wc break and bad coffee from a machine. With all the rain over the past few days, the rivers and creeks are really swollen and serious flooding has occurred in some areas, especially to the south. Our cycling route later today will be affected and Paul said that he would have to change the route a bit. After another hour, we arrived at Banovci where we had a snack and another coffee at a nice restaurant near Paul’s house. Most of us had a bowl of homemade mushroom soup, made with delicious fresh picked wild mushrooms. Unfortunately, Stan ordered a schnitzel and salad. Paul warned us that the portions in rural Slovenia are huge and he did not exaggerate! Even with help, Stan couldn’t come close to finishing it.
We drove the mile back to Paul’s house, met his sister (Julie) and brother-in-law (Steve), got fitted for our bikes and started riding by 2 p.m. Some gravel trails and dirt roads, bike trails and sidewalks, paved narrow roads and busy (relatively) roads leading into small towns – we rode them all. The countryside and towns are all pretty and well-kept and the ride was very enjoyable. The nice weather helped too as it had stopped raining while we were having lunch. The final 2 kms were up a nice grade, mostly around 3-4% but topping out at 11%. It was good to see Stan roar past us on his ebike looking like it was no effort at all.
We stayed at a hotel, the Gostisce Aleksander, about 3 km north of Moravske Toplice. They had screwed up the bed arrangements, having double beds instead of 2 singles in the 2 twin rooms. Well, they technically were singles but, with no space between the beds, it was a little too intimate for our Canadian sensitivities. Paul complained so Al and I were given a family room instead, with 4 beds in it so we could choose where we slept. JoAnn and Lucille (how many times did this happen over the month?) were given their own rooms. Again.
After getting our rooms settled, we took a taxi to a large hot spring pool and mineral spa, Terme 3000, a few km back down the road. The water wasn’t overly hot, only 38C in the warmest mineral pool, but still soothing after our first ride for a while. The “volcanic” water was almost black but not too sulphury and we spent most of our time there. We stayed in the pools for an hour then taxied back to our hotel for supper. Again, huge portions that nobody could finish. We will learn! Very inexpensive though, only about €14 each including 2 litres of wine.
Distance for the day was 40 km.