It definitely wasn’t listed on the day’s itinerary.
Imagine this description on a North American cycling tour… ‘We warm up on a relatively flat route, passing assorted hay racks and shrines. At a wee village we will have a coffee break and take in the accordion competition before climbing over the challenging mountain pass.
In Slovenia, history speaks of the accordion ‘driving out’ other folk instruments like the pan pipes and flutes. In a musical mutiny the accordion became the most common instrument in the land.The records would reflect that the loud apparatus often found itself as a solo performer, rarely accompanying singing. This is of course unless the singer had lungs like bagpipes to compete with the deafening squeezebox (apologies to the accordion fans).
During our Slovenia cycling tour in the fall, we arrived at an annual festival in the town of Kamnik celebrating Slovenian ‘clothing’. At least to the best of our understanding that was what we had arrived to.
The narrow streets remain adorned with medieval facades. Lined with vendors on this Saturday morning, one could purchase farming antiques, war memorabilia, baskets, kobosa sausage, wood chip furnaces and a pregnant Barbie complete with removable tummy plate and baby inside. I’m not kidding. Anatomically correct Barbie…well other than the removable tummy plate which in actuality would be quite handy in real life. Sorry I digress.
Cheese wheels like this could actually crush cyclists if set on their end and given a push. Trust me when I say I was glancing over my shoulder checking for stray giant dairy products.
Before we began our 20 km and 3000 foot vertical climb over Crnivec pass, time for caffeine, some tasty pastries and yes ….the accordion competition. We parked our bikes at an outdoor spot next to a coffee house.
Unbeknownst to us it was also next to the venue for a very competitive group of young musicians who each weekend of the summer gather in towns throughout Slovenia. As we parked our bikes the sounds of the competitors warming up greeted us. Click on the 15 second video below to get the feel of the music. You may want to download it for your own alarm clock as surely this would blast you our of bed like a bullet every morning.
The photo below is one of the very proud parents coaching his son through a rehearsal prior to him going on stage.
I can not tell you who was the ultimate winner of the giant trophy. If it was the sweet lad practicing he would have needed a wagon to drag it home. Our guides reminded us that actually we had come to Slovenia to cycle. Personally I am quite fond of the coffee-drinking-pastry-eating tour.
With that we were off to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Covering northern Slovenia this range extends into Austria. My hopes were that I would not need to cycle to another country.
Below the view from the top of the pass and Accordionville….I mean Kamnik below in the distance.
More information on cycling in Slovenia can be found by visiting Nichols Expeditions.