‘Pelunking in Postojna
OK, that’s stretching the alliteration thing a bit (which I have to admit started quite by accident in Strasbourg), but spelunking in the longest cave in the world is the main reason people, millions upon millions of them (34 million since 1817 as a matter of fact), come to Postojna.
Oh, and there’s a castle, but we didn’t go there. I would like to get there when they have their medieval days, with jousting and all, but for this trip it wasn’t a priority. And the kids would probably enjoy it more when they’re older.
Of course, can you really call it spelunking when you’re loaded on a train and then led quickly through on crowded tours, separated by language group, not a headlamp in sight? Probably not.
DutchBoy chose not to come, saying he’d been to enough caves and balking at the cost (€22 per adult and €1 for each kid since they’re under five) choosing to read an exciting document about spatial planning instead. But the rest of us headed in.
On the way in, I realized I’d forgotten my camera in the bus so DutchBoy went down to get it for me, rushing to make sure I’d get it in time to make the next train. This turned out to be a wasted trip as I got about one good(ish) picture of these guys waiting to board:
And then, on the train, the battery died, the spare one still in the bus.
The train was really the best part – it felt like an amusement park ride as we whizzed within inches of stalactites and stalagmites and other cave features, almost, but not quite, needing to duck our heads. Then we walked in a loop for about an hour, through lots of cool cave thingies, and up and down hills clad with an impressive no slip finish, then back on the train for another exciting ride (after giving us time to visit the gift shop before the train arrived, an opportunity we did not avail ourselves of).
My camera dead, I took a few pictures with my iPhone, some of which actually turned out quite interesting after a bit of tweaking.
This despite the fact that the guide said not to take any pictures, especially with flash (which I didn’t use), a restriction which was quite universally ignored and quite unenforced, even the frequent flashes and quite professional looking equipment. The Slovenians seem to not be quite into enforcing rules, as we’ve noticed in other places. So, I didn’t feel too bad about my few pictures, especially when I came out and saw the advertisement for special photography tours of the caves.
Then back in the train for another roller coaster ride:
Then, we emerged back into the light. The kids actually quite liked it, both the train and the walk. Sprockette made noises of enjoyment and looked about with great interest, and Sprocket was quite good and had no problem with the walk, and was also very interested in the various holes and waterways. Sprocket made snake noises most of the way through, while his friend tried to shush him the whole time so they were both making the same noise.
We then made our way to the campground, probably the nicest of the three we’d been to in Slovenia, and set the two vehicles up next to each other. After a shared dinner, we put the kids to sleep and stayed up late (almost to midnight!) drinking Slovenian wine and having a lovely chat.
In the morning, the boys played with another bilingual three-year-old boy (Dutch/Italian), running around hitting each other with big branch fans, until disagreements arouse and the Australian dad redirected them into making a “shelta”, as Sprocket still says with an Australian accent, with those branches as a base. For a while the boys were guided into finding branches and leaves for Ben to shape into his shelter:
And Sprockette tried her best to ride Sprocket’s bike:
Before long Sprocket and the Dutch/Italian boy, bored with shelter making, started riding their bikes down the quite steep hill as fast they could go, making my heart stop a few times, especially before we got his helmet on. But no crashes (this time).
And then, after DutchBoy took the kids for a swim as I packed up and showered, we had lunch, Sprocket decorating his face with chocolate/hazelnut spread:
Before we left I got some last pics of the kids and dad in the shelter:
And we said goodbye and headed off in our separate directions, we back home and them to Italy. It was a lot of fun hanging out together and we wish them the best in the rest of their travels.
Of course, we couldn’t just take the absolutely most direct home, electing to see a bit more of Slovenia on the way out. Here we’re still on the highway:
Then we headed off the highway for a bit of a sightseeing tour on a secondary route:
Through a lot of roads that cry out for a motorcycle – apparently they have a few accidents in the area (the sign is a good indicator for fun roads):
We did see a bunch of motorcyclists, including two pulled over in a speed trap, one in each direction. We also saw an accident, a flipped car, but we think the people were OK.
More lovely roads:
Before a last few shots on our way out of Slovenia on the highway:
Then through Austria, where after a dinner at the hated McDs (wifi for the previous posts and a playground being the main attractors), we drove into the rainy night, and discovered that our headlights really suck before our free camping of the night in Lienz.
This isn’t the end of the trip though, I’ve got a few more posts coming from our last two days on the road.