I woke up early this morning.... 9:00... so I have a few minutes to check in.
After Bled, the plan was to head south. In addition to the Vingar Gorge, Slovenia has another claim to fame, the Postojna Castle and Caves. The castle and caves are located in a tiny town in Southern Slovenia. The only thing there and the only reason that people go to Postonja, pronounched Post - tone - ya, is to go to castle and caves.
And off we go!
It was beautiful morning in Bled. Taking a train from Bled to Postojna was not really efficient so we bussed. it. We took the bus from Bled to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, got a bit confused while waiting for the bus, and then took another bus to Postojna. Sitting next to me were these French guys who talked the whole time.
We arrived in Postojna to actually something going on. We checking into our hostel... which creeped me out. It looked exactly like the house from the Shining. Then we headed back to the main square. Apparently, today was the end of this massive bike ride in Slovenia where people bike around the country for 48 non-stop.
I asked, "Really, 48 hours without stopping? They don't sleep?" The woman assured me they stopped to eat, but no sleep. They were also handing out Gatorade which I wanted but I think it was supposed to be for the bikers. And I thought that I was thirsty.
So we talked to the tourist office ladies for a while. Speaking of the tourist office. I used to be so anti-tourist office, but of course I had never been. They are the best thing ever. My total advice is if you are ever in a new place and you see one, go in and chat with the people. They are never trying to sell you anything, they just want to tell you about their place. I have gotten the best hotel, food, and fun recommendation every time I ask! Today was no exception.
We went into the tourist office to ask about the "castle and caves," turns our we got a discount because we were buying our tickets there. Even more, they didn't have enough change to break our bill, so we got it even cheaper. Then we asked about dinner and they recommended a pizza place, because being so close to Italy, people say that the pizza in Slovenia is sometimes better than in Italy. Via Trib still has my heart though. If you are ever in Seattle, you must go to Via Trib.
The lady said this was her second favorite pizza, with her favorite being 20km away. We'll take it! Then came the real question, where were the "castle an caves," how long would it take to get there, and how exactly do you get there?
Well, and we kind of new this already, the caves were close. About 300 meters from the tourist office, less than a 10 minute walk. The castle on the other hand was a different story.
The castle was 9 km away. You can walk, but it's a long a rode. You can bike, but it's uphill and bikes are 15 euros each, or you can rent a taxi, which is 30 euros for the afternoon.
We choose option 4.
We asked them, "So can we hitchhike?" They thought about it, we talked for a bit, and then they decided, that sure, we should try it. "Maybe you can find someone leaving the caves who is going to the castle.
So we set off. We made it to the caves no problem. We had a voucher from the tourist office to pick us our tickets at will call. We walked into the ticket booth, cut in front of some Americans, and got our tickets.
At this point it's pretty hot and we really haven't eaten. I am constantly concerned about what I have eaten for fear of falling into shaking shock, plus, we may walking a ton this afternoon is no one picks us up. So I order a sandwich. It was delicious.
And then at 1 our tour of the caves began. So I am not sure if I have mentioned this, but everywhere that Brandon and I go, we are by far the youngest people there. I am no kidding and I not really sure why, but it's always us, and then the next person close to our age is 40. Everywhere we go.
So the cave tour begins by... entering the cave.
And then you get on board little train. And little did we know you fear for your life on this ride. Like half of the stuff that we do, we're like, "Um, this would never be okay in America." This little train was great, it winds though the underground caverns, but if you don't duck or lean in half the time, you would look very different by the end of the ride. All I can say is keep your head down and your arms in!
Here we go!
The train runs for about 2km and then you get off and go to your language. There are signs with languages on them and oddly enough, everyone migrates to their proper place. Slovenian was first, then English, then Italian, then German, and last French.
The order didn't really make sense to me. I get it, Slovenians first, we're in Slovenia, English seconds, very useful but to be honest I think German is a more popular second language here. I can deal with the French being last, their chatty and there are no too many of them here. But what confused me was putting the Germans behind the Italians. I can't imagine the problems that could arise from that! :)
Then you get a guide, and they take you on a guided tour of the caverns. Our guide was great. Her name was Ana, I think. She knew a ton of stuff on the cave, and gosh I must say, that girl must be so chill. Because our group was not a swift moving bunch. We were really slow. Which was fine, you got to see more stuff, but ya know.
Additionally, was the couple that we had cut in front of in the ticket line earlier. Boy was the wife rude! She kept asking questions of the guide in the most backhanded and interrupting fashion. Ana answered her but each time it was like, "Lady, really? Manners!
Here they are, lady in black and guy in blue.
You could tell that she was not impressed by anything, the caverns, the size of the salamanders, the reason for no flash photography.
We finished the tour, just in time too because it was 10C inside and we were about frozen. Back in the sun, it was decision time. Should we stock people in the parking lot that would take us to the castle or do we start walking and try to get someone to pick us up.
We started walking. A ton of cars passed us. I have no clue how Sal Paradise picks up rides no problem, but no one wanted us. And I'm not really sure why....haha.
So we walked. And walked along this narrow road. It was probably not the safest idea. At one point Brandon had to jump over a guard rail to escape a crossing car and bus.
And we're walking. I stick out my thumb, a car waves to me and then stops. So we run after it. However that just turned out to be really embarrassing. She had been motioning to me that they were lost and then they had pulled over to ask directions.
So we kept going. It's been almost a half hour at this point.
Somehow now, Predjama, the castle has increased to 10 km. Not really sure how to take that.
We see another car coming and I again stick out my thumb. And this guys stops! Hesitantly, we run up to his car. He rolls down his window and starts a conversation with us in Slovenian. His car is filled with electronic equipment and manuals. Printers, cables, and manuals. Brandon asks if he speaks English to which he stops his Slovenian rant and shakes his head no. "Predjama?" Brandon asks. The guy agrees, moves the stuff around in his car and lets us in.
Turns out this guys wasn't even going to the castle but he took us there anyway! Brandon tried to signal that we could walk, but he waved that idea off and kept driving us.So nice. Here is his car as he pulled away.
So here is the castle. Pretty cool that it comes right out of the rock. But to be honest for all the work that it would have been getting there, it would not have been worth it. Because let me tell you, from where that guy picked us up, it was quite a way to the castle and really, really hilly. Thank God he picked us up.
So we do the castle, it takes about 30 minutes, wasn't great. And we are standing about here, taking in the view, when who do I spot but the Americans from earlier! That woman could barely walk so there was no way that they didn't have a car. Brandon said, "Run after them!" So I take off towards the parking lot.
Me: "Hello!? Hi! Hi!. Do you remember me? I was on your cave tour earlier? This is totally weird but we walked here from Postonja, is there anyway that you can give us a ride back to town?
Wife: "You walked here?" (really annoyed)
Husband: "Of course we can do that!"
Me: "Well actually we walked halfway, but then we hitched a ride."
Wife: "You hitched a ride?" (now even more annoyed)
Husband: "Of course, let me just pull the car out."
So we hop in and what an interesting car ride it was. The guy was super nerdy and super nice. He had a conference in Ljubljana and then they were heading down to Croatia. The lady on the other hand, well nothing impressed her. And Brandon was laying it on thick. Everything we said, she hated. Brandon is a teacher, ugh, we speak french, well we should speak more languages, we wanted to see the castle, she heard it was lame so they went to a mill, we needed a ride back to town, "you walked here." We asked where she was from, nothing. About her kids, she has them. Has she been to europe before, of course what civil human hasn't, did she like the caves, um they were overpriced and not as good as the carlsbad caverns. How was Slovenia for her, it was awful, she is czech and they treat he so well in the Czech Republic when they see her last name is Czech. Can I just say I was not shocked she didn't take her husbands name. I was going to tell her what I do but didn't want to risk it.
Husband: "So where do you guys want to be dropped off, just let me know."
Me: "The stoplight in town is perfect! Great."
Overall, really interesting ride. I win the golden thumb award twice that day and we made it to what we had wanted to see in one piece and we got a really interesting story out of it. Good day indeed!
Well now we had all this extra time because we didn't end up walking for four hours. We were hungry and hit up the grocery store.
Saw this cool coke display.
A sign in town.
It was finally time for dinner so we headed to the pizza place which turned out to be fabulous!!! Fabulous!! The waiter was this really cute old man who spoke like no English, but he did speak Italian so he went with that. It was prego that and prego this. So cute.
If we didn't get a ride, we would still be walking.
We decided to share a pizza so we ordered the large. Waiter man tried to tell us that it was really big but we insisted. Um, that was dumb. Turned out to be the largest pizza that I have ever seen! It was bigger than Bob's or Bostons! It took up the whole table! What were we thinking ordering a large anyway for two people? Would you ever order a large for two?
We tried to finish it. I had about two slices. Brandon did a better job but in the end there were still three huge slices left. Without even asking, our waiter brought us out some aluminum foil. Haha! Then he brought us a box.
This place was so great.
There it is from the outside. It's on the top floor.
Super fun day. To be honest the castle and the caves were kind of a let down, but so worth it all in the end! Whew! That was a bunch of info! Next we head to Croatia where we are supposed to be renting a car so hopefully we can quit this hitchhiker and walking business. (Actually, I am a few days behind on writing this, obviously, so I already know what is going to happen in the story and it is great. Get excited! I hope I can do it justice).
Thanks everyone for reading, I am glad that you are enjoying it, it is fun for me to write this all down and remember all the crazy stuff. We try to keep it interesting.
Joni, so bummed that the comment thing didn't work! I am sure what you wrote was hysterical.
Sound of Music person... who are you? Haha, again so glad that you want to watch, still not sure who you are.