Vrsic mountain pass is the most amazing road I have ever been on. Full stop.
Between Kobarid and Kranjska Gora is a massive mountain range. To travel between the two our GPS wanted us to go through Italy and avoid the mountains, but halfway along we came to a road sign that had a different opinion of which road to take. Trusting physical items over modern technology I, to the disapproval of my misses, turned off our GPS blue line.
Towards the mountains and away from Italy we go. A light rain accompanies us on our journey. All is well and good as we drive through a narrow river valley between two mountain ranges and driving towards a third. Just as it looks like we will end up driving into the mountain we come to a hairpin turn. Then another, and another, and another. All the while climbing nearly vertical.
Apparently there are 49 of these hairpins. After about thirty of them we came to some construction workers. At this level the rain was turning into slush. No worries. It is only September and I’m used to driving in snow, so a little slush is childs play. Past these workers we climb and climb at about 20kph. Slush turns to light snow and then quickly to heavy snow. Within two minutes our view has turned completely white. Gone is the green from the trees and black of the road. I can see the summit in the very near distance but make the difficult decision that we cannot make it in our little car with summer tires. It hurts but better same than sorry.
Looking for a place to turn around we are waved down by a man coming down the mountain. Stopping and getting out to talk to him he informs us that around the corner about eight cars are stuck in the snow. He recommends turning around. Not one to argue we slowly make an about face and retrace our path at a crawling pace. Testing the brakes to see if ice is forming I am taking by surprise as we start sliding. It appears there may be a teeny bit of ice. Slowing our pace to that of a snail we decend and in about ten minutes time are back in the slush and rain. It was a close call but made for a fantastic memory and a beautiful view and experience. Plus because of the snow we got to take the long way and see a small bit of Italy.
Vrsic Mountain Pass is a fantastic piece of tarmac, built by Russian prisoners of war during the first world war. There is a Russian church at the summit built by the prisoners in memory of those killed while making it. Credit is due to them for being able to build a road straight up the side of a mountain. The views are also supposed to be spetacular. There are pull-in and picnic areas, as well as many hiking paths(From what I read as we never made it). Do bring a four wheel drive or winter tires for late Autumn and early Spring(and of course Winter)!.