Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cave-ing!

The next day we woke up early and went to the caves in Slovenia.  We caught a bus to Divacha where we killed some time drinking “coffee” before we started the long hike to the first cave we went to. It was called Skocjanske Caves, and it is an UNESCO World Heritage site.  It was granted this honor in 1972 due to being the largest known underground canyon in the world and as an an example of some really cool things that happened a long time ago (they have names, but I didn’t understand them, so you can just go look at the page yourself!).

Anyway, we started walking, looking at the map and guessing which way to walk. There were some shots needed to document that we were walking along a highway with no sidewalk. We were a little confused because the signs for the cars were saying 5 KM the opposite way from which we were trying to walk. We were also following the directions “Go through the next village, and turn right at the church.” Umm...excuse me? THROUGH THE NEXT VILLAGE?!?!?!?!? There were a few signs that were very little, but once we got into the next village, there were these signs.





It was a muddy, cold, and uncomfortable. Very slippery, but once we got up onto this hill, there were some pretty cool views. It would have been a bit better had it not been cloudy, but oh well.



 
When we finally made it to the caves, we bought our tickets and waited for the tour to start  in about 15 minutes. We were not allowed to take any pictures once we went inside the cave. But here are a few shots of the entrance and exit.
 
 







In the cave, we followed the river backwards. There were only about 10 of us on this tour. We even saw this really cool bridge over the river. It was really cool, and totally scary if you are afraid of heights. But, we don’t have pictures because we weren’t allowed to take any. However, there were some lines where the first explorers made their entry into the caves. They were oh about 300 feet off the cave floor. But I guess if you couldn’t see down, it wasn’t that bad. Maybe. In the large chamber, where the really cool bridge was (the huge one, the reason that they got their UNESCO recognition) has flooded in the entire cavern. That is interesting, at least when you see how high that cavern was.

Then we went off with a ride with some new found friends to the city center of Divacha (they left and we stayed). There we ate some lunch and caught a bus to Postojna, where we were going to our next cave. When we got there, there was no real signs about how to walk there, so we stopped and asked a tourist agency which way to go. And about how to get to the castle. It turns out it is 10 mk away from the caves. It would be nice if that would have been in the brochures. Anyway, in case you wanted to know, you turn left out of the bus station towards the town, then take the first street on your left, follow it to the right and keep walking past the curve in the road. Then there will be signs. It is about 1 KM away from the bus station. More info about the caves can be found here.
 

We walked around a bit, then bought tickets for the caves and the aquarium. The aquarium thing was rather interesting with some info about the caves, the “human fish” salamander, and even an exhibit about butterflies!

 

Then we took the 3pm tour. There was a train ride, where we were took a 2 KM ride into the caves. Then it was an hour walking tour through the caves with a English guide. When we got off the train there were these signs with “German” “Italian” “English” and “Slovenian” where people were waiting for the tour to begin. THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE! We of course joined the English tour.
 
 

It was rather interesting, but in the end, it was a cave. There were different named rooms, Spaghetti, Red, Blue room, etc. There was one interesting fact to me. There was this little bridge that they built to cross from one side to the other. It was built by Russian POWs in WW1. It was sad for me to think of it in that way, with history. I know that is a dark period in history, but to think of POWs doing forced labor just because they happened to be enemy soldiers is disheartening.  Here is an illegal movie of the inside of the cave. Sorry for the shaky camera/weird angle.

When the walking tour was over, we caught the train back to the entrance, and went souvenir shopping.
No Running After the Train?
Then we walked back to the bus station, where we sadly had a 45 minute wait. A very boring cold and lonely wait for the bus.  Then a longer bus ride back to the city because we went through the villages rather than the direct route.

Then we went to this little market to pick up some goodies for snacking on while we were there for the week.

All in all, a decent day. This is really not my thing. And the fact that we had no real plans or things decided before going, or knowledge of how to get there, was extremely aggravating to my planning self. Not to mention that I had twisted my knee some how and every step was extremely painful. I wasn’t in that good of a mood. And then when none of us together can make up our minds about anything = more wasted time and increasing aggravation. But we are still friends and we still traveled together the rest of the trip.
 
 
 

2 comments:

Marko said...

I stumbled upon your blog by accident and saw a report of your trip to Slovenia. I am glad you liked this little country of mine.
Since you visited both famous caves, I was wondering... which one would you recommend to a fellow traveler?

I hope you have a great time in Macedonia. I visited Skopje a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.

Cassidy said...

Hi,
Blogger never let me know you commented on this! I liked the second cave for the experience (the more touristy one) it was more interesting with stuff around it. However, if you want a more small town cave, go to the first one we went to!