The Castle we saw before we headed for the caves.
Today my dad’s cousin Ivo was going to take us to the Postojnska Jama
(Jama is Cave) as Penny and I had seen the cave on a show on Discovery Channel (Nick Baker’s Weird Creatures). Then after the caves he was going to take us down to Ankaran to meet more family, and also because Ankaran was close to Triesta or (Trzt) where we were getting the train to Ivrea to see my aunt Alma.
So when Pen and I woke up that morning we went next door to say goodbye to Ula (who lived in a small flat behind Zvione’s house) and when we got back, Ivo was having coffee with my dad’s other cousin Zvione who had kindly put Penny and I up for two nights while we explored Ljubljana. As soon as Ivo and I were introduced he stood up and grabbed me in a big bear hug and just about squeezed the life out of me. Talk about a warm welcome. It was fantastic to be made to feel so welcome. We had some brief chat with Zvione interpreting then geared up and headed off.
The amusing thing was that although Ivo
The castle was built in front of and into a cave in the cliff!
was going to drive us 2 hours south to the caves, he didn’t speak any English! However, not a problem as I had a trusty list of Slovenian words, and phrases I had prepared in advance with the help of other family. So for most of the trip down I was trying to ask one or two word questions, and Ivo tried to respond in one or two word answers. We did manage to have a good laugh a few times, and the time passed surprising fast as Penny and I looked at the rolling hills, and tiny towns we passed by.
Postnay Jama is a little town which is very famous for 3 reasons. One is the magnificent Castle built into a cave in the side of a mountain; the second is the Postojnska Jama
caves and lastly the human fish. Postojnska Jama is ranked 110th largest in the world.
We got to the caves and just missed the tour, but there was another one in 45 mins, so Ivo motioned for us to follow him and we drove up to the Castle, which was very impressive. It was built on the side of a cliff, and
The Cave (Jama)
The exit of the cave
used the cave that was already there to provide the internal rooms of the castle, while the protective walls on the outside provided security. We were going to go in and get the tour, but it was 20 euros each, and Pen and I were on a budget, plus we’d miss the next tour, plus there was a woman arguing with the ticket guy for ages…so we motioned to Ivo that we were ok with not going in to the castle. So back to the caves we went.
We bought tickets, waited in the queue and jumped on a little train which took us through 2 miles of cave tunnels, into the main caverns where we walked for about a mile through what seemed like an alien landscape with all manner of stalactites, stalagmites and columns which are formed when the two meet. The colours were reds, rusty browns, and whites. Some of the formations were only inches long and a few years old, others were 20 feet long and thousands of years old. It was really quite beautiful, probably because it was so different from most of the limestone caves I’ve seen. All that was missing was a
We're not at work today, we're not at work today!!!
John and Dereck a couple of friends of mine who I’ve done some caving with. We would have been down there for days! What makes these caves very special is that they are one of the few places in the world that are home to a very rare, albino and blind salamander known as Proteus, or the human fish. This is what we had seen on Nick Bakers Weird Creatures, and sadly we didn’t see it. The Slovenians used to believe that there was a dragon in the cave because every now and then one of these salamanders would end up in rivers coming out of the cave, and so they thought they were baby dragons. I guess this is part of the reason for the fascination with dragons in Slovenia.
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