Črna Jelša in Log
This part of the Ljubljana Marshes, which you will pass along this route, is called Črni log (Black grove). We can assume that our predecessors name it so due to its typical, rather large black alder forest . The features of this tree species are described in its Latin name (Alnusglutinosa): the word alnus originates from Celtic words for "neighbour" and "water", while the word glutinosa originates from Latin and means "sticky" – alder has sticky young shoots.
The alder is one of the rare tree species which grow in humid, marshy and flooded clay soil. It can grow up to 25 metres in height. Wood deteriorates quickly when exposed to air; it is used mainly for constructions in water, as it does not rot in constant contact with water. In fact, it becomes so hard under water that it is almost impossible to hammer a nail into it; therefore, it is no wonder that half of Venice stands on alder pillars.
Following the emperor's road
Your route begins at the P+R car park in Vič , at the final stop for Ljubljana city buses at Dolgi Most which is a convenient starting point for many routes described, especially along the Marshes. The direction of the tour can be the opposite of the suggested, as the route is completely flat. However, it is best to begin at the junction with Tržaška Road, at the exit for the ring road. Along Pot spominov in tovarištva (PST; Path of Remembrance and Comradeship) go south towards the ring road, cross Mali Graben over the bridge and ride to Cesta dveh cesarjev Road under the ring road overpass. You reach the road at the pavilion which was erected in the memory of the Holy Alliance Congress in the beginning of 19th century.
Take a left at the pavilion towards the car fair , opposite the golf course , which was arranged almost literally on the landfill (this is called revitalisation), and then turn towards the east, that is, towards city centre. Immediately after crossing the southern ring road along the overpass, turn right onto Cesta dveh cesarjev Road, more precisely, onto its first section, as this is where the ring road divided Cesto dveh cesarjev Road in two.
Along Cesta dveh cesarjev Road (Two Emperors' Road)
In 1910, the Ljubljana city counsels renamed the road connecting Opekarska Road and Mestni log into Cesta dveh cesarjev Road at the proposal of the then mayor of Ljubljana. They could not have predicted what it would look like and what purpose it would serve after one hundred years. Although the road has asphalt coating, its surroundings is covered with waste dumps, mainly unorganised, even illegal car junkyards and similar filth. Today it could easily be named after the waste collectors instead of emperors. And while speaking of the devil, in close proximity to the road is the Ljubljana landfill or the sanitary depot in technical terms, or the Ljubljana non-hazardous waste dump Barje – its official name almost sounds distinguished. In bad weather the typical, unpleasant smell of "depot" sometimes spreads from the landfill. However, this is also a part of the city. Let's continue.
Around Sibirija to Rakova jelša
You arrived to a traffic light. To the left there is Murgle , to the right Sibirija . The contrast between the two is large, but it used to be even greater. Once the "garden town" will be built at this location, as anticipated by the long term vision of the Municipality of Ljubljana, the contrast will have disappeared almost entirely. Past the traffic lights, cycle straight on for around 50 metres and turn right at the junction onto Rakova jelša , for a long time a shabby part of the town which only recently got a public sewage system. Continue along the asphalt, boldly cross the bridge and immediately turn right onto the sandy path where you ride straight on until the road turns left. Along this road, surrounded by a sort of puddle-like stream (or rather canal) on the left and the southern motorway ring road on the right, you arrive to an almost entirely overgrown cart track. Are you afraid that you got lost? Do not worry! You are on the right track and you will need to avoid the bushes for only about a hundred metres. Suddenly, but probably not every time, you will find yourself in the middle of a herd of goats which do not really care about you and calmly feed on lush greenery. A bit further on, a flock of sheep awaits but it politely makes way. This is unbelievable! Sheep and goats, almost in the suburbs of the European capital. An original joke.
Some more roadless areas or something similar
In fact, this journey is a little bit adventurous. After meeting horned and hairy quadrupeds, the Ljubljanica River crosses you way. You are right by the bridge of the southern ring road and you cannot continue straight on. Therefore, turn off the road to the right under the bridge and on the other side of the confluence of the Ljubljanica and the Iščica rivers by the motorway, turn right again towards west. There is still no proper road, only traces of bicycles in the grass. However, it is possible to cycle without problems. You soon arrive to a kind of a roadway. Although you've just got rid of goats and sheep, a hare crosses your way . In broad daylight, 20 metres from the motorway!
The trail turns left, you draw away from the motorway and hop ... one hundred metres of asphalt at the beginning of the second part of Rakova jelša and then about two kilometres (or even more) of holes. While winding between holes, you can see a disorderly settlement to the left and allotment holders to the right. At the forest turn perpendicularly right (you cannot do it any other way, at least not on a bike). Flat road, illegal waste dumps and a small surface copper mine here and there. The remains of burnt cables without wires. This picture is not very pleasant, but you should see it and ponder on it.
After about seven kilometres, the marshes start again. The road is still flat with typical vegetation on the left and right, cultivated fields and small forests in between. And more hares. Some of them run in front of you for over one hundred metres, instead of jumping out of the way. Dummies!
Among the swarms of insects to Črni log
You should be reminded again that the Marshes are a swampland and that annoying insects are likely to buzz around on warm days. Especially those small horseflies and gadflies can be very irritating. Therefore, you should not be stingy with all types of repellents. However, the Marshes as well as the flat road end and you must suddenly turn right. It is not possible to continue straight on. Turn towards north and cycle along the eastern edge of Črni log to the first house where you turn left again on the main road. There is another illegal waste dump a little further on, situated by the sign which prohibits the disposal of waste , and another illegally built settlement. Continue towards Vnanje Gorice; you are now on the road which is more cyclist-friendly.
When the road ends and you can only choose between a left and a right turn, take the right turn. After approximately five hundred metres, turn left again onto the field route. Hurrah! Press on the pedals and set out towards the south. Veliki vrh , a mountain, or actually a hill, accompanies you on the right. Continue straight on, bypass Veliki vrh and from south-eastern side cycle to Vnanje Gorice , a roadside settlement situated on the slopes of two solitary hills in the Ljubljana Marshes that are linked by a narrow pass. Continue straight on between houses until you arrive to a – surprise! – real slope along which you ascend to the old part of the village. You've barely reached the top and you already have to ride downhill, so quickly that you need to be careful when coming to the junction with the main road, where you have to turn left. Cycle leisurely through the nice settlement to the railway line but do not cross it. Just before the railway line, turn right onto the road leading to the sports airport. Pass the runway and hangar along the asphalt road which soon ends and continues as a winding macadam one. The Brezovica train station is situated on the left (on the other side of the tracks), but you follow the road which turns towards north. In a little while, you come to the railway line. There turn right and the road is in good condition again.
Along the railroad towards the end
Cycle along the plain and the asphalt will appear soon, along with the cars which are not many but just frequent enough to be annoying. If you turn right at the beginning of asphalt, through the poplar avenue, you arrive to Gmajnice where a shelter for abandoned animals is located. You should know this if you are looking for a pet or if you have one too many... If this is not the case, joyfully continue by the railroad towards the city. Asphalt is again substituted by macadam; continue straight on to the first houses which are not far away. Turn right after the inn and then diagonally left until you come to the main road at the commercial zone. There turn left; continue to the junction with Tržaška Road and finish you route at the car park where you started.