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Published: July 30th 2019
From Zagreb I took a bus in the evening towards Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital city. Slovenia is the richest country of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia second). I did not plan this visit ahead and I was happy with my choice, even though I had only 3 days in the country! There was a thunderstorm on the way towards the city. Those who know me well, know that I love thunderstorms, even though I know they can be very dangerous. Once I arrived in Ljubljana, around 11pm, it was still raining. My hostel wasn’t too far from the station so I covered both my bags with a rain-cover, put my rain jacket and rain pants on and walked to the hostel.
Luckily the weather was great the next day and I started very early, since my time in Slovenia was a bit limited. I took a bus towards Postojna, a small city about 50km southwest of Ljubljana with about 10.000 inhabitants. The main attraction in Postojna is the "Postojnska Jama"
, a huge cave you're only allowed to visit on a guided tour. The cave system has a length of more than 24km and is one of the largest in Europe. Postojnska
Jama is really impressive, there is no other word I could use. The cave is home to the endemic olm, a unique species of aquatic salamander which adapted itself completely to the environment and is thus blind. The visit to the cave starts with a nice train-ride. Around 140 years ago they built the first rails in the cave and later also electricity. After the ride, you get off at a platform where the guided tour on foot officially starts. Like I said before, the cave is impressive, gorgeous and immense! I cannot describe it better in words, but it is definitely something you shouldn't miss when visiting Slovenia. It is cold in the cave, so make sure to bring a pull-over or a jacket!
After the cave I visited the Predjama Castle
, built in the 16th century at the entrance to a cave. It was built underneath a small, natural arch between steep rocks in order to make the access to the caste difficult for possible enemies. The castle was used as a residence for families of various knights and statemen. The castle was nationalized after the Second World War by authorities of communist Yugoslavia and it became a
museum, to this day.
Then I went back to Ljubljana
, capital and largest city of Slovenia with ca. 275.000 inhabitants. I had just one afternoon and evening to explore a little of the city. The city centre is not big and very easy to navigate by foot. Views of Ljubljana are mostly determined by the Ljubljanica River, which crosses through the city centre and the Ljubljanski grad, a medieval castle and fort located on Castle Hill in the middle of the city. The castle dates back to 12th century and you can access the structure using a funicular. Needless to say, the views over Ljubljana are excellent from up there! Furthermore, Ljubljana is a "typical" European city rich in old buildings with predominantly Baroque architecture. Especially the old part of the city is beautiful; take your time and stroll along the river, the narrow streets full of restaurants, cafes and shops. Walk over the "Dragon Bridge" (Zmajski most) which was built in 1901 with statues of dragons on its corners. Interested in history? Then take also a look at the "Trg Republike", the largest square/plaza in the city where independence was declared in 1991. The square is also home
to the National Assembly. The entrance to the National Assembly building is surrounded by statues of naked people, which represent working people.
My next stop in Slovenia was Bled
, a little city with less than 10.000 inhabitants about 50km northwest of Ljubljana. Bled lies on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Bled, a popular destination to relax and to enjoy the nature. The water of the 1.5 square kilometres lake is beautiful, blue and clean. Walk around the lake, with an island right in the middle which is home to a 17th century church. I did not go to this island neither did I swim, although many other people were enjoying the sun and the water. There are plenty of water activities available to do in Lake Bled, such as sup and kayak among others. On the southwest of the lake I decided to walk on a trail away of the lake into the bushes to reach a viewpoint. At first I could not find the way because it wasn't clearly marked, but I eventually found the viewpoint called "Mala Osojnica". It took a lot of effort to get there and my shirt was very wet, but
the view up there was so rewarding that I forgot about how much I had to walk and climb.
There is a lot to see at Triglav National Park
, located not too far outside of Bled. But due to limited time I visited only the Vintgar Gorge
. Good thing that I went early, just like I did in Croatia with Plitvice National Park, since it became very busy later on. Vintgar Gorge is a 1.5km long gorge, a split-up cutting through vertical rocks with the Radovina River flowing in between with several little waterfalls and rapids. The path consists mostly of wooden walking bridges along the rocks. All the way at the end of the whole hiking path, there is a higher waterfall. There hiking path is not very wide and I had to walk all the way back and it wasn't always easy to pass since there was a lot of people into the opposite direction.
After Bled I continued towards Celje, a city about 65km east-northeast of Ljubljana. I spent a few hours In Celje, where I met Gustavo and his wife. He is a Venezuelan who I hosted a couple of years ago in Curaçao
through Couchsurfing. In the early evening I went back to Ljubljana, where I took a nightbus to Italy. I spent just 3 days in Italy, where I went as a surprise to the campingsite in Pietra Ligure where I worked in 2013. It was great to see everyone again, especially the Morani family whom I always had a lot of contact with during my stay.
I flew from Milan to Amsterda and two days later I flew back to Curaçao. The trip in Europe was awesome, happy to have spent time with several friends and acquaintances.
My next blog-entry is from October 2017, when I spent a week abroad as a part of a travelling group.
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