Maribor, Slovenia

In Slovenia Without a Clue

Forrest Mallard

I am in the village where I will begin the Slovenian Mountain Trail, but nobody can tell me where the trail starts.



Stepping Blindly Into My Next Big Adventure

Three years ago, when I was doing the research to go on my very first long-distance trek, I found a wonderful article on ‘Europe’s 10 Most Epic Hiking Trails.’

Because of this article, I made plans to do both the West Highland Way in Scotland, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Getting Started Is Usually Easy

When I arrived in Glasgow to do the West Highland Way, I made the short journey to the starting point, and there was a massive archway at the starting point and giant marble column. Besides these massive landmarks, there were information booths that sold everything you could ever need for your trek, including guidebooks in any language, and laminated maps highlighting the route where you would be walking each day.

There was a bit of a buzz at the entrance and every few minutes, you could see someone excitedly walk through the archway, starting their 7-day journey.

Then as I journeyed to the starting location for the Camino de Santiago in St. Jean-Pied-du-Port in France, I was on a bus from Pamplona filled with excited pilgrims that were all headed to this remote village for exactly the same reason. When I arrived at the city, there was a massive crowd outside of the pilgrim registration office. On average during the summer months, over 300 people arrive in this village every day to start their 30-day Camino. This is not counting people that join in on walking the trek at random places along the route. Altogether, this adds up so that at any moment during the summer, there are over 10,000 people walking the Camino de Santiago from France.

A Serious Lack of Information To Start This Trek

Also on this list of ‘Europe’s Most Epic Treks’ is THE SLOVENIAN MOUNTAIN TRAIL. It sounds absolutely lovely. A 30-day walk from the town of Maribor, over the Alps, and ending at the Mediterranean shore.

I searched quite a bit online and found no comprehensive articles about the trek, but I just figured I would wait and get to Maribor to pick up some guidebooks and trail maps at the information booths at the start of the trail.

I’m in Maribor and:

– There are no Slovenian Mountain Trail guidebooks in English

– There is no such thing as a Slovenian Mountain Trail, trail-map

– My hostel owner said he has only met one other person, one year ago, that was in Maribor to start walking this trail

– Nobody has been able to tell me where the actual starting point of the trail is (I’ll just head to the edge of town tomorrow and search for it.)

I bought the Slovenian guidebook. I am using the Google Translate app to pull bits of info out of it that I might need.

The table of contents has a list of cities that I have to pass through and I am entering all of these into my GPS. So with the aid of the trail markers along the way, I should be OK.

I bought the passport book, and I hope that I find these places where I am supposed to get my trail passport stamps, so I can get my certificate when I finish.

I made some incredible friends at the Tourist Information Center. A bunch of amazing ladies that were super helpful by pointing me to the Hiking Club office and then filling out my membership online for the Slovenian Alpine Association. They were very sweet and seemed just as excited as I was that I would be setting out on this trail tomorrow. I really wish I had the energy to take them all out for drinks, but I got to town at 5 am and I have been running around trying to figure things out ever since.

Seriously, I might not see anyone else on this trail for DAYS! From the sound of it, that could really be the case.

I am about to set off into the mountains of Slovenia, with no detailed map, a GPS route programmed by name of mountain huts, no guidebook (in English), and the hope that the path is marked well enough for me not to miss a turn.

Yet somehow I am not freaking out.
I don’t know how, but I am looking forward to tomorrow.
This will be an adventure for sure.
I just need to get to Ljubljana by July 4 to catch my flight to the Faroe Islands.

Other than that, I can say that Maribor is absolutely lovely.
Over half of the country is covered in forests.
The vibe is so completely and absolutely chilled out, which is quite a change from the Czech Republic.

When I got to my hostel, the door was open and a sign on the wall stating: “Come in. Take off your shoes. Grab a bunk. Keys are on the bed. I will see you later to check you in.”

If it can just stay super chilled out like this, I wouldn’t even mind getting lost in the woods. 🐻🌲

For now, I can see the foothills of the Alps tall on the horizon, and they mock me.
Tomorrow I show them who is the boss.



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