Friday, May 8th, 2020, at 8 a.m.

It has been officially announced in Slovenia that the Corona virus epidemic is over! Cheers!

My colleagues, members of Argos, the Association of Regional Tourist Guides, had already been preparing for a new normality last Friday, when I organized a cycling trip through the southernmost lowland marsh in Europe – the Ljubljana Marshes.

The cycling trip took place according to Corona virus standards. All 10 participants respected the minimum distance, that is at least 1.5 metres away from each other, and we also skipped the usual handshaking. A comfortable bike ride allowed us to enjoy fresh, invigorated air.

At eight in the morning, we gathered in the southern part of Ljubljana – Trnovo. Our trip started in front of the Trnovo Church, on the famous and unique Plečnik’s Bridge of St. John the Baptist. We drove slowly towards the spacious meadows of the moor. At first, we drove along the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, which runs along the course of the barbed-wire fence which was put up at the beginning of World War II and turned Ljubljana into a concentration camp. Today, this is a very popular route among the inhabitants of Ljubljana, as it offers a quick and pleasant contact with nature.

After a few kilometres, we turned towards the northern slopes of the swampy world. We observed mallard ducks, a deer, a common buzzard, flocks of starlings, and listened to the singing of the nightingale. We were lucky to be able to observe the northern lapwing, a rare nesting bird in the moor. Today, there are only about 100 pairs of these rare birds nesting in an area of 150 km2 between Vrhnika, Škofljica, Ig and Brezovica. The northern lapwing is as big as a crow, and its wedding flight and unearthly sounds are most characteristic. In the past, it used to be a highly prized hunting bird, and it was possible to buy it at Ljubljana bird market.

On the approximately 3-hour-long cycling exploration of asphalt and macadam paths, we cycled about 18 kilometres. In the end, we indulged in a well deserved drink, and there the idea for our next trip was born – a night hike to Šmarna gora.

Written by: Mitja Gruden

Proofreading English: Staša Krapež

Photo: Janez Virant

Foto: Janez Virant