The drive to Crnice took us no time and we passed two favourite places of mine on the way – Lake Bled and Postojna.
We had booked into the Camp David site in Crnice for two nights because in July and August it is very difficult to find accommodation almost anywhere in Slovenia (or Croatia or Italy for that matter – it is the holiday season) and the prices are ludicrously high. This inland site was to serve as a base until the weekend when we would move into a hotel in Padua in Italy for a couple of days.
A local I met at Camp David told me about an old iron age fort up on the hills behind Crnice and I thought to take a look. It took about 40 minutes for me to find the place. There is nothing left of the fort which used to stand on this hill, now known as St Paul’s Hill after the small chapel which was erected there in 1946, but it is a pretty spot with some fine views down into the Vipava Valley. Also, on the way up to the old settlement there are the remains of an old Roman (5th century) water tower. I carried on from St Paul’s Hill up to the top of Zasod Hill but it really wasn’t worth the extra effort. I’ve not been able to discover much about the old settlement although it seems that people were living here 2,000 years ago and in the 5th century the population of Ajdovscina (then the second largest town in the valley) withdrew to the hill for safety after the Huns attacked their town.
It was a day “of some small energy expenditure” and I was ready for the wine tasting we had committed to at Camp David that evening. Over a period of 1.5 hours we sampled and reviewed 6 local wines, including two which are peculiar to the Vipava Valley (the Zelen and the Pinela) but, while all were surprisingly good, the best of the day for me was a Barbera Merlot cuvee which was outstanding. It seems the Vipava Valley has a number of unique premium wines but, with the vineyards all being so small they can produce only a limited yield and so are relatively expensive.
The weather during our second day in Crnice was even hotter than the first, getting as high as 37 degrees centigrade. It would have been cruel to take the dogs out in that sun. Leaving Vanya with the dogs in the Van with the air conditioning on (so pleased we bought that before leaving the UK) I went off in the direction of the Vipava River to see if I could find a swimming spot for the dogs later in the day. I found a good spot on the river but it was simply too far away for the dogs to walk even late at night. At nine o’clock in the evening it is still up in the high twenties.