Slove­nian Rhap­sody

From Burghausen to Bled with Hyundai’s Hy­brid

Road Trip - - CONTENTS - Story by: Jus­tus Vis­agie Cap­tured by: Jus­tus Vis­agie & sup­plied

From Burghausen to Bled with Hyundai’s Hy­brid

The Hyundai Ioniq is now avail­able in Europe in hy­brid and elec­tric for­mat. At the helm of the hy­brid ver­sion, Jus­tus Vis­agie ex­plores the beau­ti­ful sur­rounds from Ger­many to Slove­nia.

The breath­tak­ing beauty of Bled is mul­ti­fac­eted. There is a small is­land with a church built upon it, with the thou­sandyear-old Bled Cas­tle stand­ing guard on a clifftop above the lake.

Af­ter 300 km on a KTM 1290 Ad­ven­ture S, an hour on a bus, three hours on two trains, and a R800 taxi ride, it was al­most a spir­i­tual ex­pe­ri­ence to see the metal­lic-blue Ioniq gleam­ing in the feint light of the Ho­tel Je­d­er­mann in Mu­nich.

The day’s jour­ney was far from over, though; but at least we would be en­sconced in quiet lux­ury for the fi­nal leg.there was close to 200 km left to go, from the cen­tre of Mu­nich to a town called Burghausen on the river Salzach.

From the Ho­tel Burg­blick in Burghausen the plan was to travel to the ham­let of Maria Alm in Aus­tria, cross the Alps, and then jour­ney on to the al­lur­ing town of Bled in Slove­nia – a 400 km road trip in the new Ioniq with its lim­ited au­tonomous driv­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

HY­BRID CRUISIN’

The Ioniq name­plate – a port­man­teau of ion and unique – was in­tro­duced to Euro­pean mar­kets late last year and is now avail­able in three flavours: elec­tric, plug-in hy­brid, and as a tra­di­tional Prius-type hy­brid. Sadly, it is not yet avail­able in South Africa, and might never make it to our shores.

I re­quested the elec­tric ver­sion for the trip, but now – two hours af­ter sun­set and with around 200 km still to drive to Burghausen – I was glad we were in the hy­brid model. If we had been in the EV ver­sion, we might have been forced to sleep in the car had it not been de­liv­ered to us fully charged, or had we been un­able to top up the bat­tery in time. Range anx­i­ety is real …

Essen­tially, the Ioniq is Hyundai’s an­swer to the Toy­ota Prius.that means it pos­sesses none of the fu­tur­is­tic quirk­i­ness of the Nis­san Leaf or BMW i3. It has con­ven­tional Prius- like lines and, in terms of its ap­pear­ance, can be de­scribed as the off­spring of an Elantra and i30.

While re­served and el­e­gant, its cav­ernous lug­gage com­part­ment im­pressed me. It swal­lowed two large suit­cases, mo­tor­cy­cle gear (from the trip on the KTM), cam­eras, a lap­top bag, and a van­ity case, all with ease.

The fast-back was loaded with fea­tures, in­clud­ing an 8-speaker In­fin­ity sound sys­tem with first-rate clar­ity and a slick and user­friendly in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

We en­tered our des­ti­na­tion into the sat­nav and left Mu­nich, join­ing the au­to­bahn in an east­erly di­rec­tion. The ride qual­ity of the Ioniq was serene, but I was also cu­ri­ous how it would per­form on the high­way with­out speed re­stric­tion. I stomped on the ac­cel­er­a­tor, the trans­mis­sion kicked down and … well, our speed in­creased. But no fire­works here, folks; not even an elec­tric shove from the bat­tery.

It is the most se­date of the three Ioniq de­riv­a­tives, so us­ing the com­bi­na­tion of 1.6-litre di­rect in­jec­tion four-cylin­der en­gine and bat­tery sys­tem out­put of 104 kw, and 265 Nm of torque (with class-lead­ing ther­mal ef­fi­ciency of 40%), we drove fru­gally, ap­pre­ci­at­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the car over its in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion.

FROM BURG TO ALPINE PAS­TURE

An hour later we reached the Burghausen “Alt­stadt” (old town) in which we were to spend the night. Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, the Ho­tel Burg­blick is in Aus­tria, not Ger­many, as it is on the op­po­site side of the river. Still, from our cosy room, seated com­fort­ably on the bal­cony, we could see the mas­sive Burghausen cas­tle across the river. The Burghausen’s claim to fame is that its cas­tle, at one kilo­me­tre, is the long­est in the world.

The plan was to travel to the ham­let of Maria Alm in Aus­tria and then jour­ney on to the al­lur­ing town of Bled in Slove­nia – a 400 km road trip in the new Ioniq with its lim­ited au­tonomous driv­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

It takes about ten min­utes to walk the length of it.

With the church bells chim­ing a melodic farewell, we left for the Alpine foothills the next morn­ing.we spent the night in Maria Alm (pas­ture) and, see­ing that we had got­ten there early enough, took the time to ad­mire the Wall­fahrt­skirche church with its 84-me­tre spire in the day­light.

WATCH­ING OVER YOU

From the pas­ture, the road winded higher and higher un­til we reached pic­turesque Ober­tauern, the high­est point be­fore start­ing the de­scent to the Slove­nian bor­der.the slopes were cov­ered in thick snow, but luck­ily the road was merely wet, not frozen. With only 40 km to go to Bled, the road started to coil dra­mat­i­cally.then it hap­pened: the cor­ner we were ne­go­ti­at­ing sud­denly tight­ened and be­fore I could re­act, the Ioniq did; turn­ing the steer­ing wheel a few more de­grees to the left. The car tracked the road per­fectly and we ex­ited the turn safely. I was driv­ing slowly, so we prob­a­bly would not have run off the road. But I could have dam­aged a wheel – a huge in­con­ve­nience in freez­ing tem­per­a­tures on a quiet road – so the Ioniq was not tak­ing any chances. The feel­ing of hav­ing a be­nign “ro­bot” watch over me was un­de­ni­ably ex­cit­ing.

BREATH­TAK­ING BLED

An hour later, we safely reached the Pen­sion Mlino in Bled and ad­mired the view from our room over mag­nif­i­cent Lake Bled, which lies just 20 me­ters away from the ho­tel.the breath­tak­ing beauty of Bled is mul­ti­fac­eted.there is a small is­land with a church built upon it, with the thou­sandyear old Bled Cas­tle stand­ing guard on a clifftop above the lake. The Karawanks moun­tain range em­brace it all. One must rent a ca­noe or tra­di­tional “pletna” and oars­man to get to the church. Or you could swim. In colder win­ters, the lake would freeze and the church could then be reached on foot. Sadly, the win­ters are not cold enough any longer.

Vis­it­ing Bled Cas­tle, over 100 me­ters above the lake, it felt like we were float­ing a mile high.we ate kremšnita (cream cake) and lost our­selves in the view of dis­tant snowy moun­tains.

The next day, we headed for Lake Bo­hinj in the Triglav Park of Slove­nia. Its calm, cold, crys­tal clear wa­ter is sur­rounded by hills and a for­est that dif­fuses the sun­light into a soft green glow. By now it was dark, and the moon, big and yel­low, wafted low above the hori­zon. We drove the 25 km back to Bled to find the best van­tage point be­fore she rose too high. We ended up at the cas­tle, and mar­velled at how the moon gen­tly bathed the town in honey coloured light …

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