Zigzag across the motorway
You'll begin in Šentjakob and proceed towards north, more precisely, towards Pšata. The church in Šentjakob can be seen from afar. Not far from it, there are the Pečnikar Inn and cemetery, which together offer quite a few parking spaces. Along Zajčeva Road, head towards the motorway overpass, behind which you immediately turn left off the busy Zasavska Road. On the right, the Reactor Centre in Podgorica is standing on its own in the middle of the field. A chapel and solitary tree remind us of the past times. In Pšata, turn left past the Janežič Inn. Then there are two bridges; the first one over the River Pšata and the second one over the Mlinščica Stream, an artificial canal supplying water to the Leskovec Mill. Supposedly, the name of the village bears something evil, probably because of the numerous floods the Pšata has caused. At the mill, turn right towards Dragomelj , go under the motorway and through the settlement. When cycling through these villages, you almost forget that you're only a few kilometres from Ljubljana. The rural surroundings have changed considerably, but the past way of life can still be felt at every step. At the end of the village, there's a chapel and some mighty willows . In the centre of Šentpavel , turn onto the overpass over the motorway. Amidst the trees in the middle of the field, there an unusually large ball . This is Bioplinarna Ihan, which produces biogas and green electricity from organic waste and compost. The device is located in an industrial complex together with the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant Domžale–Kamnik. Proceed along the motorway, cross the River Kamniška Bistrica and take a look at Ihan. In Prelog, cross the motorway for the fourth time at the ski jumps and go around Domžale along its eastern side.
As you cross the Rača Stream, turn right towards Dob. You can see the Kamnik Alps on the left . The settlement of Dob probably got its name after the lowland flooded forests of the English oak (dob in Slovenian). Stepmotherly attitude towards the wetlands and lowering of the level of groundwater had a pernicious effect on oaks as well. The forests are gone, only the names of the places reminiscent of them have remained. Cycle through Dob along the priority road, cross the motorway yet again and, before Krtina, cross a busy regional road towards Moravče. At the beginning of the settlement, you'll be captivated by the special atmosphere of this village. You can walk up the 'molehill' in the centre of Krtina (Molehill), where an interesting camp fortress with a church and a detached belfry is located . How did the Turks see these walls, which were then a few metres higher than they are now ? A house, where you can ask about a visit to the church, leans on the walls. Visit it, you won't be sorry . Krtina leaves no visitor indifferent.
Across the wavy Moravče Valley
At the monument in Brezje , turn right towards Škocjan. Go past the organic farm to the Church of St. Canzian in the centre of the settlement. Škocjan is located in the limestone karst world, where waters spring and disappear. There are several underground caves and springs in the vicinity. On your way to Imovica, you'll enter the Municipality of Lukovica, the coat of arms of which includes a bandit . Turn left to Prevalje and immediately right towards Imovica. Cycling across the wavy Moravče Valley is like wandering around the country of a big mole, only that the molehills of Moravče are inhabited , cultivated and, if you're lucky, sunlit. Ascend past Spodnje Koseze towards Lake Gradišče. The view of Spodnje Koseze is different from above. Ascend towards Gradišče pri Lukovici along the ridge. The Church of St. Margaret on the Gradišče Hill watches over the settlement. If you take a closer look, you'll see Gradišče Lake on your right. Only one kilometre is from the crossroads to the lake. A 4.2-kilometre macadam road goes around the lake. Across the valley, you can see the remnants of the famous castle in Brdo pri Lukovici sticking out of the forest . You're headed towards the centre of the village, where you'll turn into the Črni graben Valley at the Mačkov pod .
Lukovica of bandits
Descend to Podpeč pri Lukovici past the motorway. At the beginning of the Črni graben Valley, there is a bandit on the right and the mighty building of a former tollhouse and postal station in the background . A merchant path ran through the Črni graben Valley towards Trojane for centuries. Turn left and you'll reach the main square in Lukovica. The settlement used to be known as a 'cart drivers' stop'. Cart drivers were carriers who transported cargo with horse carriages. In the square, you can't go past the Furman Inn, where Rokovnjač (bandit) beer and Rokovnjač goulash are served . At the end of the square, turn right onto Šolska Way (Šolska pot) . You're steeply ascending towards Brdo pri Lukovici past the open-air theatre and chapel . Let's hope you haven't exaggerated with bandits' delicacies in Lukovica. On the plateau, the homestead of a Slovenian composer Franc Marolt is on the left, while the Slovenian Beekeeping Centre is on the right . You can have a drink or a snack there, buy a souvenir at the shop and find out a lot of interesting things about beekeeping. Otherwise, continue past the Baroque Church of St. Mary . Next to it are the walls of Brdo Castle . The interior of the castle can't be seen, but you can explore its park. Leave the castle along the right side by the hornbeam-lined alley .
Towards Vranja Peč
All ascents so far have only been a warm up. The road ascends through the forests, which are riddled with wires of overhead power lines. How beautiful it would be without them. Through Čeplje, you'll cycle to a turn towards Preserje pri Zlatem Polju. The road steeply ascends past the solitary farms . At the saddle, you'll enter the Municipality of Kamnik . The path was probably too steep and you overlooked Zlato Polje. At the plateau before Velika Lašna, there are some solitary hayracks . In the village , there are some mighty farms . After a short but steep ascent, you'll reach a ridge, which is the highest point of the route. The difficult half of the route is now behind you. From the saddle, Vranja Peč can be beautifully seen, and a bit further on, you can take a sneak peek into the Tuhinj Valley . In the centre of Vranja Peč, the Church of St. Ulrich is located. On the rock rising above the funeral parlour at the end of the village, crows used to gather, and the place got its name after them (vrana is Slovenian for a crow). Today it's mostly visited by climbers, vertical rock lovers. This place offers a wonderful view of the Ljubljana Basin.
Descend to the turn towards Spodnje Palovče . The road on the left leads to Kolovec, but you need to ascend to Zgornje Palovče, which is located along a panoramic slope road . In the centre of the densely populated settlement, there's the Budnar Museum House below the road. Memories of the lives of our great-grandmothers found their place in it. The road soon starts descending through the forest towards Kamnik. On your left, you can nicely see the solitary Homec Hill and the entire valley .
Kamnik – town with a soul
The first view of Kamnik is a view of its old city centre and Zaprice Castle . Then you see Little Castle (Mali grad) , which is one of the greatest sights in Kamnik and also its symbol. On the steep Bergant Hill, the ruins of the Old Castle (Stari grad) are situated. Continue cycling to the school centre along the priority road. Cycle straight through the intersection with traffic lights on the main road through Kamnik and cross the River Kamniška Bistrica. In Šutna, there's the Sadnikar Museum on the right, which is the first private museum in Slovenia. A bit further on, there's Zaprice Castle on a hill, which houses the Intermunicipal Museum Kamnik . You've noticed even at first sight that Kamnik is a place with rich history and well-preserved cultural heritage, but let's save a more detailed tour of the town for another time. Cycle along the new section of Kamnik along Ljubljanska Road and proceed along the bypass towards Trzin.
Along the plain towards the Ljubljana Basin
The road is very busy so cycle carefully. On your right, you can see the Church of St. Maurice in Šmarca, and a bit further on, the Church of the Nativity of Mary on the Homec Hill . Cycle amidst grain fields , which enabled the development of straw plaiting in the wider surroundings of Domžale in the past. Straw plaiting used to be an important part of life and survival of these places for centuries. It provided people with bread and joined them as they sat together while straw plaiting, singing and talking. And while you're still plaiting straw in your mind, your bike is already before Mengeš.
Continue towards Domžale at the next roundabout after the Pšata Canal, which was built as a spillway at high water levels. On the right, you can see the Church of St. Hermagoras and Fortunatus , which is one of the most eminent monuments of the Baroque art in Slovenia. After crossing the Domžale artery, you'll reach the fire station and a mighty linden. On your right, there's Marolt pharmacy and France Bernik Culture House , which is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in Slovenia. At the end of Študa, the oldest part of Domžale, the Dimic plague sign from 1602 is located. Return to Šentjakob through Dragomelj and Podgorica along a very busy road.
When's our next Sunday trip?