A watery sun shines over the wet campsite when we wake up. Our tent is still nice and dry in the car, but the river along the campsite has gone outside its banks tonight. Gardens are under water and the river is colored brown and carries a lot of junk.
We have a beautiful view of the Julian Alps in the north as we drive away but today we first go to the south to visit the caves at Postojna and the Predjama Castle. It is dry and gradually the temperature rises even though it was still very cold this morning.
At Postojna the parking lot is full of cars and especially many coaches, of course also from the Netherlands. Just in front of the entrance boulevard is a small garden with a kind of bonza bushes in the shape of animals.
Here too the river is quite swollen and the water wheel can hardly handle the current. On the boulevard, we look at the souvenirs for a moment, but quickly look for a terrace. We still have half an hour before the next tour starts and we can now use a cup of coffee. And everywhere around us we hear people speaking Dutch.
Photographing is prohibited in the caves, but no one seems to bother about this. With a group of more than 200 people it is also difficult to keep order. The caves are beautiful, but not superfantastic or very special as our enthusiastic travel guide has claimed.The most exciting part is the train journey into the caves and later back out. Involuntarily we put our heads between the shoulders when another low-hanging rock formation comes straight at us and we wonder if anyone ever hit his head. That must be really hard if you hit a rock with a speed of 30 or 40!
There are beautiful and interesting stories to tell about these vast caves, but the size of the group and the pace hardly give us the chance to really enjoy certain details. The € 18 that we paid per person for access is absolutely ridiculous and we want to discourage a visit to this cave, especially if you have already visited other caves.
We now regret that we have not chosen the other caves on our list, including that of Škocjan, where Dante would have received his inspiration for the hell in his Divine Comedy.
Then we drive to the Predjama castle that is partially built into the steep cliffs. Also behind and below this castle are caves that used to make the castle a fortress that was difficult to occupy because it had secret supply roads for food and drinks. But nothing can stand up to betrayal and in the 15th century a robber baron was shot while on the toilet so that the castle could be taken.
At Cerknica we go looking for Rakov Skočan, where a wonderful 2.5 kilometer long gorge is supposed to be. We make a nice trip on forest trails but there are no signposts and we only get to see a small piece of a gorge after half an hour. As enthusiastic as our travel guide is, so inaccessible is the Slovenian landscape.
However, we get to see the lake at Cerknica that disappears completely in the summer and is then used by farmers as hay land. On our trip to the north we regularly see the typical Slovenian hay racks in which the hay is dried faster by the wind. We also notice that the landscape is dotted with villages, much more than in Croatia. The entire countryside is a succession of small hamlets.
We also regularly see memorials along the way, chapels and decorated sources. Slovenia has at least a very individual character, half the size of the Netherlands, mainly mountainous and more fascinating than we had expected after the few times we only drove through on our way to Croatia.
The trip through the many villages takes longer than we expected, but that is also due to the many clean-up work everywhere to remove trees from roads. Skofja Loka was the center of the mudslides yesterday and still workers are busy making the roads clean and accessible again.
When we return to Smlednik, the sky gets dark and soon it starts to rain again. We are happy that we decided to stay in this house these last days and not have to set up our tent. Camping is fun, but if you can afford it a bit (a lot in this case) of comfort is also nice.We have only one day tomorrow to see more of Slovenia but we have already realized that this is quite an attractive travel destination. Not as idyllic as our travel guide would have us believe but definitely worth visiting it with lots of nice and beautiful places. And still less expensive than eg Austria and Italy although the introduction of the euro has made life here much more expensive if we can believe the residents.