FYI… My previous post (day 51) I took the train to this exact station only to find I couldn’t get to the castle I’d come to see…. and here I am again.
|Postojna Station. Again.|
Well, today could have been as big a gong show as yesterday, and it came close, but ended up working out thankfully! I like Slovenia, but I don’t like the disorganization of it… It’s near impossible to find any specific information on the Internet about how to get to sights around Ljubljiana (like the castle in Postojna and the caves.) It’s all just kind of ambiguous, which is why I decided to just wing it once I got here, and look how well that worked out yesterday-ACK!
So, come hell or high water, today I was going to see Skocjan Caves, no matter what… I ask at the visitor info. desk this time ( I don’t trust the hostel staff anymore) and they give me the train schedule and the shuttle bus schedule to and from the caves. I go to the train station and am waiting for the 10:47 train to take me to Divaca. I’m sitting and feeding some cashew bits to these little sparrows. One of them is still a baby and it’s mother is picking u the bits and feeding it to the baby, it was so cute! I got so wrapped up in it that I didn’t even realise A.) What time it was and B.) That I was sitting on the wrong platform to get to Divaca. It occurred to me 2 minutes too late. The next train was coming at 12:10, so I just did a Sudoku puzzle and laughed at myself that I missed the train because I was feeding the birds. What a nerd!
I get on the train and it’s running a couple of minutes late. The shuttle for the caves leaves at 2:00 and my train is due to get in at 1:52. It actually gets there at 1:57, but I run and I make the shuttle! Success #1! I get to the cave entrance only to find that the next tour doesn’t start until 3:30, and strangely the last shuttle back to the train station leaves at 3:23. That makes sense, doesn’t it? So frustrating! I ask what I should do at the info. desk, and he says it’s a 45 minute walk, or I could hitch hike. The directions he gave me to walk were as clear as mud, so I just figured I’d try and nab a ride with a nice looking family or tour bus heading back down to Divaca when the tour was finished.
|Viewpoint and the town of Skocjan perched on the hill. Its hard to tell, but that was a pretty deep valley!|
The caves were absolutely amazing and 100% worth my visit to Slovenia! I felt like I was in a Lord of the Rings movie, or GOONIES! What a great movie.
The first part of the cave was the silent cave, meaning it had no water flowing through it. What it did have though were the most spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. They just looked like melted wax statues, so amazing! Our guide was telling us that in the conditions of this cave that it takes 100 to 150 years for a stalactite to grow 1 cm. So the ones that are a few feet long are thousands of years old. The cave itself was only discovered in the late 1800’s, and has probably been an active cave for at least a million years. I just felt like I was in a fantasy land where Pierre Berton’s ” Magical Land of Og” little green men could pop out and scare me at any time…
We moved into the next part of the cave that had the river flowing through it. This part is the largest underground canyon karst system in Europe, and the third largest in the world. It was 170 metres tall and 50 metres wide. Just breathtaking. After visiting so many cathedrals and museums on this trip, I found myself thinking that this cavern reminded me so much of some of the cathedrals I’ve seen. I’ve always said that nature is my church, and this just might be the mother of all of her creations (Mother Nature’s that is!) We finished our walk through the cave and just as I was thinking “I wonder if there are any bats in here?” flap flap flap, I suddenly see one flying haphazardly above us… eek!
|The board of do’s and dont’s for entering the cave.|
|The natural entrance to the cave. I took some photos of the canyon and trail, but it was so humid, wet and cold in the cave my camera got all fogged up and was taking wonky pictures.|
As we’re walking out I hear this guy asking the tour guide about the trains to Ljubljana, so I asked him if he wanted to share a cab to the train station? That was the only way I could think of getting back, so to have someone share the 15 euro fare would be a good thing! Then we came across a couple from Utah who were also going to the station, so the cab fare was dirt cheap! Thing #2 going right today!
I had a very interesting dinner of traditional Slovenian fare tonight. I went to this restaurant that my hostel recommended, and it was busy and buzzing and had great food. Vegetarians need not apply… this is a meat eater’s paradise. Slovenia’s cuisine is a mix of it’s bordering countries… a little Italian, Austrian and Hungarian all rolled into one.
I had the Farmers Platter which was 2 kind of sausages, a piece of ham (in place of the blood sausage, I just couldn’t go there) a chop of some sort (I don’t even know what kind of meat it was), sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and buckwheat pasta, which was just delicious, it had the consistency of stuffing, which is only my favourite thing on earth to eat.
I washed it all down with a nice glass of Slovenian Cab-Sauv and it was a very nice meal indeed! About halfway through I started to get the meat sweats (I haven’t consumed that much meat in one sitting in a while) and the waiter kindly brought me some herbal 100 proof liquor to help with digestion that tasted god awful. The food here is CHEAP, and the wine even cheaper at 1.20 euro for a glass. Ljubljana has had it’s ups and downs, but it turned out alright in the end.
|My dinner AKA “meat sweats.”|