Friday, 16 April 2010

It just gets better...

written 14th April

I know, I know, I am getting dull and repetitive on the subject of the wonderfulness of Slovenia but it does just keep getting better.

And we are now honorary members of the Slovenian VeeDub Club - well, we have been given a sticker from a very nice man in a beautiful shiney slammed splitty - I guess that counts!

After an enforced early start from our forest layby stopover due to urgent home matters, no breakfast and too much coffee and internet on a dull wet morning - result: bit wired - we headed first for Predjama Castle.

It emerges out of a natural cave in a cliff and looked quite impressive.  not being especially interested in the description of the inside, we only went for a looksee and it was every bit as impressive in real life as it looked in the photos.  Stopping only for a picture - this one! - we headed on, deciding against to tourist trap of the Postojna - 27km of caves, impressive stalactites but expensive with a tourist train - and headed instead for the Skocjanske Jame, recommended in preference by both the lp and the friendly waitress in our Ljubljana restaurant.

And it was amazing. 

The Skocjan Caves are 6kms of underground caverns and caves, first discovered in 1815, set in a natural park which you can see from the viewpoint at the information centre. 

3kms of the system are now open to the public on a 1.5h walking tour (in english)

which takes you down and through the Silent Cave, full of stalactites and stalagmites, and into the cave of the Murmuring Waters. 

Simply awesome.  no other cave comes close! 

The stalactites are impressive - they even come in three different types; long thin and straight,

fat and lumpy (due to humidity)

and spirally (due to air currents)

and there are pipes and curtains and cauliflower shapes - but they are fairly similar to others we have seen. 

It is the Cave of the Murmuring Waters which is the thing here - a 1.5km long, 100m high cavern, with a path clinging to the side half way up, lit with a string of fairy lanterns

and with the river roaring, rushing and swirling way down below and crossed by a bridge, 45m above it.

There is also a champagne fountain like rock formation of piled high cups of limestone - sadly no water or chamagne though! - formed by a natural, seasonal spring which no longer flows

just wow.

but not for the faint hearted :)

I have never been anywhere quite like it.

It's not cheap - €14 - but worth every penny IMHO.  My only complaint is that, in an hour and a half, you just don't get long enough just to stand and take it all in and the guide kept up a fair pace up and down the steps and pathways.  Could be down there all day just staring.  In the summer, the tours run every hour so again, it is a 'best out of season' things as we could straggle quite far behind but still could have stayed longer.


but, as ever, all good things come to an end so back out into the sunshine we popped, deep in the george where the river enters the cave.

so, back on the road, across the karst landscape, to the coast this time.  As Trieste was given to Italy after the war, Slovenia only has 43km or so of coast line and three venetian coastal towns - Kober, the largest, Isola the smallest and Piran, the prettiest.

With a campervan stop marked in Isola, we headed there in the setting sun and two days later, we haven't managed to move since - well, after listing all the things you can do, the tourist brochure's last suggestion is 'nothing, just relax and find yourself' - sounds good to me!  even the weather here so far suits my natural rhythm - raining in the morning when nothing is better than listening to the hypnotic drumming of rain on rooftop, safe in the knowledge that you are warm and snuggly in your duvet and don't need to get up,  then with the sun getting up and out about the same time as you finally give in and realise you can't spend all day in bed and its time for a coffee in one of two pavement cafes we have so far found with cheap coffee and free wifi :)


and as I say, we have even been welcomed into town by a blue handlebar mustachioed veedub owner with the shiniest of blinging slammed splittys and are now proudly sporting our Slovenian sticker.

After too-ing and fro-ing, it also looks like Will does have to fly home tomorrow, even if in all likelihood, we will find out once he gets there that he needn't have gone - frustrating but can't be helped.  so, 100km trip to Pula airport in Croatia tomorrow morning but I might just come right back here where life is easy...

we shall see what adventures girl and van can have in a week at large...


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