The return to Podgorje by the steep path
Hiking in Slovenia
The return journey to Podgorje (or rather the search for the harder route) is the only more »entertaining« part of this trip. Since the top of Slavnik is completely grassy, there are practically no waymarks there (although of course it is possible to place waymarks even on such terrain – an excellent example is sv. Lovrenc above Postojna). Naturally at the weekend you'll have no problem for a throng of walkers come to Slavnik even by the steep path and you can easily observe where you must return, but if you're alone on the summit, the matter becomes rather more complex.
If you're going back to Podgorje from the top of Slavnik, try to »guess« where the path could go, but if you're returning from Grmada, walk along the macadam road and try to hit the correct turn-off to the right – the broad, well-used path should not be difficult to notice. The task is not too difficult (in the worst case you'll find yourself back on the easier path), but if impatience overcomes you, as it did with me, and you set off on the first path leading downhill, you'll walk along an unmarked path between Srednji hrib and Župnik known as »Žleb« (the gully).
If by chance you end up on this unmarked path (as I did), there's no need to panic or return to the summit – continue your way over the meadow, by the edge of the forest turn slightly left into the forest (this is essential; if you turn right, you will go too far to the west), and then drop down through the forest along a dry stream-bed and finally come onto a stone path which first bears to the right, then leads you straight downhill, crosses a macadam road until eventually a little before Podgorje it joins the waymarked path.
The appetite which you've worked up during the trip will certainly take you to the inn Pod Slavnikom in Podgorje (»fuži« with mushrooms (boletus) were so absolutely superb that they're impossible to forget), and then you can drive over the main road to visit Socerb on the Slovene-Italian border.
Translated by Margaret Davis
© www.zaplana.net and Margaret Davis, 2007
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