We are descending into Venice and trying to capture that perfect shot of the Grand Canal. The haze is making it hard to take a decent snap and the moment is gone.
Seconds later we have touched down at Marco Polo and our thoughts immediately turn towards the time.
Being eternal worriers by nature, we are hoping not to be delayed at customs as we have booked a shared transfer with GoOpti and do not want to miss it! The panic is raised a notch higher when we see the long queue at immigration and the customary two lone officials checking documents at the window.
It is 1410 and our transfer is set for 1430. We still need to find our luggage as well.
The line is moving agonisingly slow but once through we discover our luggage has not emerged yet. Luckily GoOpti supply the drivers phone number so we let him know we are waiting at the carousel.
When we finally emerge from the arrivals hall, we easily spot the distinctive logo of the 8 seater GoOpti van and within minutes we are off. They usually park in the first lane to the far right but with renovations afoot it is wise to check your confirmation and the GoOpti website for current reports.
GoOpti has been growing strongly since its inception a few years ago. In the beginning it had its share of teething problems like many other businesses but with its user friendly website and a few years of experience under their belts, the slick well oiled GoOpti machine is now firing on all cylinders. It is now virtually the market leader for transfers in this region.
They can offer extremely low fares on popular routes like Venice to Ljubljana due to the fact that they can rely on bookings in both directions. A smaller operator from Ljubljana would most likely return empty to Ljubljana after dropping off their passengers. In theory, with GoOpti, the earlier you book, the cheaper it is.
The company franchises the various routes to local operators who are eager for regular business that GoOpti can provide.
Upon booking you have the choice of a shared or private transfer. If like us you elect for the cheaper shared option, your journey may involve several stops depending on other bookings. On the way to Ljubljana we made a stop at Trieste's Ronchi airport to pick up three Spanish girls before heading onwards to Ljubljana via Sežana.
On the way to the airport we stop just outside Ljubljana and at Sežana for passengers before continuing onto Marco Polo. Arriving at the airport, five of us alighted whilst the other three continued on to Bergamo.
The shared system can involve a 2 hour window where they try to match up all bookings along that route within that time period. Users of the shared option should make allowances for the window just in case they are picked up later than requested. In most cases you will arrive at your destination at the designated time. The private service allows for exact pick up times and refundable bookings.
Inside of van seating 2 in front, 3 in middle and back
You are sent a booking confirmation upon booking and then sent a subsequent text message 24 hours before departure stating the drivers name, company and mobile number. The modern 8 seater vans have ample room for a suitcase each and smaller bags.
With the GoOpti service, most drivers will be the no-nonsense stereotypical European male who will get you from point A to point B with a minimum of fuss. That's ok because we were dead tired from the journey in any case.
Overall a very good experience and a very good choice for those looking for a quality budget transfer in Slovenia and surrounding countries.