Around the Adriatic: Slovenia - Bohinj, Friday, 2019 April 19

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April 19th 2019
Published: August 1st 2020
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Notranjski Regional Park Notranjski Regional Park Notranjski Regional Park

Intermittent Lake Cerknica
After breakfast, a quick walk in the crisp fresh air through the village down the road into the farm land was my only opportunity to check if my hiking pole was in one of the buses or had unfortunately fallen on the ground. Lelia came with me for pure pleasure, and our walk was pleasant indeed. The newly green grass beyond the little church gave us a vista all the way to the forest near the farm. Before we had walked half-way, the bus driven by Paul (transporting the luggage) and Manka came by. I looked under the seat from last night without finding the pole. We continued our walk, happy in our pursuit. Just as we turned onto the road that let to the farm, Tomas’s bus with Susan and Gary slowed to a stop for us. To my great relief, the pole was under my usual front seat. We climbed aboard, glad for the walk and for the pole.

Past the narrow winding roads of the villages, the buses climbed to a dramatic prominence, swiftly navigating the curves and hairpin turns on a one-lane packed dirt road. Tomas exclaimed in Hungarian whenever a less experienced driver hesitated or
Postojna Cave Postojna Cave Postojna Cave

Forest of towers
hogged too much of the road as they passed us on their down-ward route. This vertiginous experience lasted 15 minutes, after the 5 minutes of zig-zag asphalted road plus the 10 minutes of village road. The expansive view of the lush farmland bounded by low mountains was worth the drive. And then we saw the hikers who had taken the straighter and steeper paths to arrive at the view point in Notranjski Park. Lake Cerknica was the attraction; in spring it is a lake, today bordered by reeds, and in the summer it is dry and used as a fertile growing area.

Safely down again, we hurried to the Postojna Caves for our 11:00 reservation. In this highly organized tourist destination, we checked out the souvenir shops with our few minutes of free time, and indeed I found some gifts for friends. Grouped by language, our entry into the cave system was via a long, speedy electric train quite similar to those at fun fairs. I frantically tried to take photos (too fast), so I switched to video in the vain hope that something would work. Little did we understand that this whizzing journey was a mundane effort to get
Olm, blind salamander Olm, blind salamander Olm, blind salamander

Fully adapted to cave life
the hordes of tourists into the unimaginable cave system deep in the mountain. There, a guide walked us along wide concrete pathways and stairways through soaring well-lit caves resplendent with lacy stalactites and sturdy stalagmites. The curtain dripping stones were translucent folds that could have been sheer cloth. Sheaves of hanging stones were curved as if by an unseen hand. Hulking accumulations of calcium lurked like sea monsters. Huge stone jaws opened in insatiable hunger. Cave after cave replicated this fantastical display of nature’s random design, yet each cave was different and awed us anew.
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Lelia, Ginny and I lagged farther and farther behind the tour leader, trying to find perfect photos. Our fellow travellers lingered to keep our “family” together. For sheer pleasure, Gary sang “Edelweiss”, his mellow baritone resonating in the caverns. To our delight, we finally found ourselves alone, marvelling at the beautiful scenes and appreciating the quiet, only punctuated by falling drops of seeping moisture. Eventually we had to hurry a bit to keep ahead of the Italian language tour that followed ours.

Towards the end was a terrarium with the Olm, blind salamanders that inhabit the cave. Almost impossible to see in
ćevapčići, ajvar, with salad ćevapčići, ajvar, with salad ćevapčići, ajvar, with salad

A delicious lunch around the Adriatic
the glass box, I captured a good photo of one salamander against the glass wall, without using the forbidden flash, thanks to an available shelf. At the very end, after another train ride, the sunlight of the day blinded us momentarily, and we returned to the world of the surface.

For lunch, I had cevapcici , which I have finally learned to say. (They are nicknamed cevapi.) I hope to try making them at home: ground pork, beef and lamb with paprika squeezed into finger-shaped grilled sausages with ajvar, a roasted red-pepper sauce.

After lunch we drove to a castle in a cave, or at least at the cave’s mouth. The Predjama Castle was built in the curve of a cave opening, with a full view of the valley below, a defensive necessity at the time; we were told that the valley was kept denuded of trees to improve the early sighting of enemies. Upon entry we were given an audio device to play recorded information about each room and landing. Relatively few rooms afforded even a minimally comfortable life for the knights and the women of the household. Surviving did not mean being warm, but thankfully, we still
Predjama Castle Predjama Castle Predjama Castle

Formidable location
wore the same warm clothing donned for the cave. Moving from floor to floor required climbing uneven stone stairs, a nightmare for the servants of the day, one imagines.

As usual, the castle was at built on a steeply rising road, and the draw bridge could be raised against marauders. At one time, people lived in the actual cave, and even now attention must be paid to see where the addition of man-made walls attached to the rock. The torture chamber was in the cave itself, where the dark isolation and dripping water drove people mad, although the display inferred that other nefarious practices also took place. Out in the sunshine again, we gave thanks that we live in our own relatively mellow times.

Sobered by this visit, we were happy to drive into Bohinj, a lake-side town where lots of visitors were starting their Easter long-weekend holidays. From the bus we could see the famous Bled Castle, on a promontory above Lake Bled. More tomorrow.

At last we arrived at Hotel Center, where we finally took off our boots. On each side of our hotel was a balcony subdivided for each room. My plan to sit out in
Julian Alps, Slovenia Julian Alps, Slovenia Julian Alps, Slovenia

Our first view of the famous mountain range
the evening warmth was thwarted by the necessities of settling in and preparing clothes and boots for tomorrow.

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 26


Cerknica villageCerknica village
Cerknica village

Probably prone to flooding
Narcissus Narcissus

The essence of spring
Primrose Primrose

Nodding in the light breeze
Bear's Onion Bear's Onion
Bear's Onion

Lush greenery adored by brown bears
Postojna Cave Postojna Cave
Postojna Cave

Highly organized tourist site
A chess game?A chess game?
A chess game?

Postojna Cave
Reaching from the ceilingReaching from the ceiling
Reaching from the ceiling

Postojna Cave
Very tall wedding cake!Very tall wedding cake!
Very tall wedding cake!

Postojna Cave
Weird pipe organWeird pipe organ
Weird pipe organ

Postojna Cave
Stone draperiesStone draperies
Stone draperies

Postojna Cave
Ancient yet modern artAncient yet modern art
Ancient yet modern art

Postojna Cave
Entrance from the moat  Entrance from the moat
Entrance from the moat

Predjama Castle
Stone wall built into the cave wall Stone wall built into the cave wall
Stone wall built into the cave wall

Predjama Castle
The cave, the original Prejama Castle The cave, the original Prejama Castle
The cave, the original Prejama Castle

Safe but not homey!
Seige stones and cannonballs Seige stones and cannonballs
Seige stones and cannonballs

For hurtling down on invaders

1st August 2020

Wow. I don't think I'd want to have lived 800 years ago - not even on the 1% chance of having been a resident of that castle as opposed to a servant in it. It's much more comfortable here and now. The stones for invaders hint at the level of effort required in all areas of life. Your video is great - it really gives the feel of the place. I have to remind myself to try video, not just for things in motion but for when light conditions aren't great. My camera sometimes seems to do better with video than with long exposures.
10th August 2020

Not to live in medieval times
I agree with you. And I agree about video being better than stills sometimes.

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