Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A v Slovenia 11.10.2016

H v Malta / A v Slovenia

I do not normally start an away blog with a home match report, but on Saturday 8th October the home qualifier v Malta was my 200th England game.  83 home games and 117 abroad. It was hardly an inspiring game but as it was yet another manager in charge of our overpaid luvvies a win is a win!  It was good to meet up with a few Brighton mates in the ground!  Luke from Tunbridge Wells sadly said he would like to appear in my blog, so this is your moment Luke!  Next time you will just have to come on one of our trips abroad.

Sunday 9th October

So onto the more exciting part of the blog, Slovenia away.  We were flying out from Stansted so we decided to head up to for Sunday lunch before out 7pm flight to Ljubljana.  Well it was lucky we were heading up early as just before Kevin and Fi picked me up they got a puncture. Nightmare, no spare wheel in a Skoda!  So Kevin soon had the tyre off and a it was off to East Grinstead to Kwik Fit to get the tyre mended.  Sara who was meeting us for lunch decided to go anyway coming across from elsewhere, we were back on the road at 3.30pm.  All was looking good as we sailed up the M23 and along the M25 until the motorway warning signs indicated a delay at the Dartford crossing due to an accident!  We ground to a halt and moved about 5cm in 35 minutes!  It was not looking good.  Sara had all our boarding cards and was waiting just before security.  We eventually got moving again, parked up at the mid stay parking at 5.40pm and met Sara just before 6pm.  We just had time to grab a sandwich meal deal (didn't really hit the spot like a Sunday roast) before heading to the gate. So it was finally time to relax on the plane, after our planned day had all gone to pot.

We landed on time at about 11.30pm and we had a taxi waiting to take us to our apartment booked in Lake Bled rather than Ljubljana.  Having based ourselves in Ljubljana last time we had opted for somewhere different this time.

Monday 10th October

As we arrived pretty late we all got up quite late, well apart from Fiona who headed out to find a shop so we could have some basic supplies for the apartment.  Fi had also been organised enough to bring some coffe and tea bags, so when I woke up I had a coffee and look at local maps to work out where we were.  We were right by one train station which was a right result for getting to Ljubijana for the game the next day. The views from the apartment were stunning, my first view was through the heart shaped whole in my shutter windows, its not me getting all arty farty with my photographs!

Our Fabulous apartment

To get down to the lake we had to cross the railway line (no crossing of course).  We checked both ways before crossing.  When we finally got round to looking at the timetable we realisd we would have been very unlucky to be hit by one of teh 4 trains that crossed that track each day.  Actually it turned out it would impossible as the trains terminated at our station due to Engineering works!

We came across this very weird "plant".  With the wonders of technology we shared it with various people to see if they knew what it was.  We got stunning responses of "its a plant", "oh thats a rude shaped plant", "its a pink plant", to a counter "no its mauve".  It was actually........i have bloomin forgotten now!

Lake Bled, all I can say is WOW, stunning place, even if it was overcast and cold (and a little wet)

We decided to not do the castle and isalnd today as the weather was not great (banking on a better day on the Wednesday) so headed to the nearest open bar! 

........and then moved on to a restaurant.  We were having a tough day!

We completed the full circuit of Lake Bled and it was thirsty work.  We stopped off at the campsight bar and then the bar next to our local train station.  A great end to a relaxing day.

Tuesday 11th October

Today was Match Day (Woo H......erm oh bo**cks actually, 90 wasted minutes coming up!).  We headed down to catch the 9am train from Bled Jezero to Ljublijana via Jesenice.  Our train was already waiting with no guard no driver and no passangers.  We got towards departure time and then a coach turned up with people and a guard and that was when we worked out beyond our station was a rail replacement bus service.  Made us feel more at home with the problems we are having on the Southern Network.  The driver jumped on and we were soon on our way.

I guess during the summer months Lake Bled is busy, it was anything but busy at this time of year!  A man with a wheelbarrow turned up on the platform but he was heading to his allotment.  A couple of cars turned up and parked on the platform!, but they headed to the bar.

We arrived in Ljubljana mid morning and started to sample the local beers.  Kevin had been ill last time we had visited so had not done the castle or sights, so a few headed off with him a few us remained in the bar.  With 9 hours until KO what could go wrong!

We met up with Scott who had come via Munich, Lewis and Mark who had picked Vennice and then Ciaran who had come from boring old stanstead!

The weather was not great and as the beer was cold we had to wrap up to stay warm.  Scott who is attempting 366 different pubs in a year made sure we kept on the move.  He was in all sorts of difficulty as he checked into the wrong bar suing the wrong WIFI, would he stats go totally awry?  After copious amounts of beer I have no idea how he keeps track of this!

So sadly it was now time to head to the ground.  I don't think any of us had high expectations, the Malta game was poor, we were lucky to beat Slovakia and of course Euro 2016 was still fresh in the memory. 

0-0 we were lucky to get 0, they were a little unlucky to get 0.  A great display from Joe Hart secured England an undeserved point.  The ground was far from full unlike last time, we had not sold out and people were streaming out after about 15 minutes.  Scott decided to catch up on some sleep, I wish I had!

Wednesday 12th October

Lake Bled in the sunshine day!  Woo Hoo!  After the dull game and way too many beers (dont remember the taxi ride home, although I do recall seeing Glen Hoddle and Ian Wright in the hotel bar at some point - I think - oh yeah and eating bowl after bowl of peanuts - its all coming back now).  Anyway moving on, the weather was glorious so once we had all managed to get up and I had consummed 3 recovery coffees at the station bar, we headed off at about midday to go to the castle.

It had clearly snowed in the mountains overnight

Once again all I can say is an even bigger WOW.  Lake bled in the sunshine was really really breathe taking.  One of the most beautiful places I thing I have been and so so relaxed! Love it!

A really really big snake made to look small by deceptively big leaves.  We had been reading about the wild animals of Slovenia at one point so were on the look out for the many killer animals.  Sara had done a good impression of a bear, this tiny snake was trying to scare us.

After a stroll around part of Lake Bled from our apartment we decided to head up to the castle.

So after we had walked back down from the Castle we decided to catch a boat over to the island. It does not look very far but it takes a while - we opted for the non motorised boats. We sat back and enjoyed the ride, the "oarsman" did all the hard work (well we deserved a rest after all the walking up to the castle)

After stopping for food it was time to head back to the bar towards our apartment.  The lake looked very atmospheric as it was bathed in moonlight so I took a picture (or two - sorry!)

and some more!

Thursday 13th October

So our final day of our trip.  I was woken up early by the stunning sunrise.  I got out of bed and braved getting very cold feet by going out on the terrace, but I think it was worth it to get some half decent pictures!

I headed down to our local cafe/bar and had a leisurely coffee.  We had to check out at midday before catching the train to Jesenice and then on to Ljubljana.  To make us feel at home with Southern Trains we had to wait about 25 minutes for the rail replacement coach to arrive before we set off.  Luckily there is a train an hour from Jesenice so we were soon on our way.

We had a very nice lunch in a place called Julias and still had time for a drink/ice cream down by the river.  It was just a tad cold but we soldiered on, before jumping in a taxi to the airport.  Our flight was at 11am and the airport was very quiet as the last flight before our was at 9pm! 

So another trip is over :-( , a fantastic time was had be all apart from a dire 90 minutes of football. I am writing this as Fiona is booking up flights to Dusseldorf for the friendly in Dortmund,  this will be a short trip as only get back from Cyprus where I am running my next Marathon on the 19th March. We get back to the UK on the 21st.  The friendly is Wednesday 22nd!

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