Posted by & filed under Travel Country: Slovenia.

4/10/2008

I was awake at 8.10am and went down to breakfast. Man, it was really busy, they even ran out of bread! The plan was to go to Postojna Caves, as it was pouring down with rain. A good day to be underground. So I took the 9.30am bus to Ljubljana. When I got to Ljubljana, I asked in the ticket office of the train station, when the next train to Postojna was and the woman at the ticket desk told me it was at 12.10pm, just about an hour to wait. But as it turned out, there was no train at 12.10pm. The woman in the ticket office got it wrong, so I had to wait another hour for the next train.

ANYWAY! The train eventually came and it took an hour to get to Postojna. When I got off the train, there was this American couple who were asking a Slovenian girl if she knew how far it was to walk to the caves. The Slovenian girl said it was a good three kilometre’s walk but that her friend was picking her up in the car and wouldn’t mind driving us there. I was in on the conversation by this stage, so we all got a lift to the caves. We were delighted and it turned out that because it was a Saturday, there was an extra tour planned at 3pm. We thought we’d have to wait till 4pm. Ron and Beverly, the American¬† couple, went to find a cash machine and I said I’d meet them at the entrance of the caves. There was a big crowd waiting.

The first part of the tour was a five minute ride in this open train, to the start of the walking part of the tour. Even on the train ride, I was impressed by the size of the caves. But it was only a taste of what was to come. Once we got off the train, the guides divided us into different language tours. So there was a guided tour in English, German, Italian and Slovenian. Each tour took a different direction. The guide told us about the stalactites and the stalagmites and how they’re formed and what gave them their colouring.Then they took us on an hour and a half walking tour, through three or four different chambers, like the Spaghetti chamber, so called because the stalactites and mites are so thin and tiny, that they resemble strings of spaghetti.

There was also the Red and White chamber, then over the Russian Bridge and finally into the Concert Hall chamber, which is big enough to hold nearly ten thousand people. Each chamber was massive, all with different shapes and sizes of stalactites and stalagmites, some so translucent, you could nearly see through them. Others were like the furls of newly made pasta. It was just unbelievable. I’d never seen anything like it before: so extensive and so huge. One of the chambers goes 120 metres deep. The Concert Hall was the biggest chamber and there was a huge stalagmite there, like a monster. Some of the photos that I took came out and some didn’t.

There is also a variety of animals that live in the river at the entrance of the cave, some who can only survive in the dark, for example, the Human Fish (proteus anguinus). It’s a fish with two tiny pairs of legs, which is where the human part of its name comes from and is pink in colour. It is twenty five centimetres long, snakelike in appearance and although it is totally blind, this doesn’t matter, as it spends all of its existence in the dark. It lives in the waters that flow through the extensive karst region of southern Europe. Although the Human Fish is found in many caves in Slovenia, it is mostly associated with Postojna.

We came out of the caves at 4.30pm and Ron, Beverly and I decided to walk to the train station. Well it was the only option we had. But it didn’t take us too long actually, only twenty minutes. We found the station and had about an hour to kill. The station cafe was really plush, it was lovely. We ordered drinks and carried on chatting about our travel stories. It was great. Ron and Bev are independent travelers and are travel agents in their own professions.They were staying in Ljubljana and I had to get a bus back to Bled. I only had half an hour to wait at Ljubljana and I got back to the Pension at 9.30pm. A good end to a good day.