If it wasn’t such a hot day, a longer stop made sense. A few hairpin bends behind the Eisentalhöhe, in the hairpin (“Reidn”) number 24 of the Nockalmstrasse, is the oldest farmers’ pool in Europe.

Kaernten Roadtrip Mazda MX5 Nockalmstrasse switchbacks

Nockalmstrasse> Wörthersee

52 hairpin bends and curves. 90 kilometers. The “Karlbad” is a real wellness pioneer: for over 200 years, stones have been fetched from the brook behind the house every day, chopped up and heated to almost 1,000 degrees in an infernal larch fire. The stones land glowing in the 14 massive wooden troughs full of cold spring water, where they burst. The dissolved minerals and the slightly sulphurous steam should be a boon.

We don’t have time for that, we continue to the “Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden” on Lake Wörthersee, which is apparently very popular with rich Chinese and Russians. After lunch in the chilled “Seespitz”, Robert will sail us across the water of the Lago di Bonzo in a motor yacht. The always pompous but rarely aesthetic residences of Piëch, Flick, Horten, Glock, Quandt, Porsche, Stronach and other heavy and semi-heavy empires adorn its banks. Afterwards a few lengths in the lake and a drink in the “Beach Club” of the castle hotel are the order of the day.

"Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden": Top address on Lake Wörthersee

 

Slovenia the first: Vršič Pass> Soča Valley > Mangart> Spodnja Idrija

84 switchbacks. 210 kilometers.The Vršič in the Slovenian Triglav National Park has 50 hairpin bends and is the highest pass in the country. It comes up with a rarity: all curves and hairpin bends between Kranjska Gora and the top of the pass are cobblestone.

The Vršič Pass in the Slovenian Triglav National Park scores with cobblestone curves and switchbacks Mazda MX 5 Raodtrip Slovenia

It goes downhill through the valley of the Soča River (Isonzo). This can be seen in the 800 meter long and up to 20 meter deep Great Soča Gorge in almost unearthly blue and turquoise tones.

Slovenia_Roadtrip Mazda MX5_Isonzo River

The Mangart Pass, 55 kilometers away, provides a thrill. The beautiful cul-de-sac hangs and curves up to a height of 2,055 meters through the magnificent landscape. The road that you share with countless motorcyclists is extremely narrow. The view from above is terrific. The Fusine Lakes shine in the north, and the five-kilometer ridge of the Loška-Stena north face extends to the south.

You then continue relaxed through the Soča Valley, an almost overcrowded hotspot for rafting and kayaking adventurers, to the town of Most na Soči. This towers picturesquely above the confluence of the Soča and the Idrija river.

35 kilometers later we roll in front of the “Relais & Châteaux Kendov Dvorec” in Spodnja Idrija, which is housed in an old farmhouse from 1377. The dinner that Franci Pivk and Klavdij Pirih conjure up on the plate is fantastic. This is especially true for their reminiscences of local cuisine such as Žlikrofi pasta filled with quark and herbs or the lamb in the strong bakalca sauce, which is cooked through and reduced over two days, for the Žlikrofi pasta and the trout from the river Trebušica.

 

Emily Wong

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