Monday, 28 September 2015

Slovenia: Postojna Cave & Ljubljana

Postojna cave was created by a river called Pivka. The oldest part of the cave that collapsed at some point during the process is 3 million years old. The part of the cave that we visited is 1.5 – 2 million years old. It is the middle part of the cave. There is another level below the middle part,  40 metres below it  which is still being formed. The river still flows there and it is possible that the middle level will also collapsed with time. This, however, is meant to take thousands of years.

On the way to the cave

Postojna Cave is unique due to its railway system. It was the first one to have it. The railway system was built in 1872 and initially consisted of steel wagons pulled by guides. The pleasure of using it cost a lot so obviously only rich people could afford to travel this way whilst everyone else walked. At first the carriages were pulled by guides!

The entrance to the cave, or rather the train station, is just above the stairs

The cave, like many similar places, was discovered by accident. The known parts of the cave were being prepared for a visit of Austrian Emperor in 1818. One of the workers wandered away from his group and came across new areas of the cave. A year later tourist visits to the cave commenced. This year the number of tourists visiting the cave reached 38 million. 

Postojna is a big cave, the biggest I’ve ever visited. The train from the entrance into the cave took about 10 minutes and then the walk around the cave was 1.5km on two different levels. The lowest level was 120 metres below the sea level. The cave has its micro climate, 10°C all year round, there is no dust nor pollen and the level of oxygen is nearly the same as outside due to the number of entrances to the cave – five. And when the lights went off, it was pitch black. 

Unfortunately the photos don't really show how amazing the cave is. The light is very low there and flash isn't allowed to be used as even  minimal light is enough for moss to grow. There is some already growing so these measures are taken to limit the spreading as much as possible. 

A stalagmite

Predjama Castle                                                            We only had a quick look at the castle from the outside as firstly, we arrived too late for a visit and secondly, we had to make a choice whether to visit the castle or the cave due to the ticket prices. Although the cave was extremely expensive (61 for the three of us - the girls had a free entry) we decided to visit it as we'd seen many castles and also we liked the idea of going into the cave on a train. 

Ljubljana was a bit of a disappointment to me. It was very pleasant, maybe mainly due to lovely weather and autumn colours that could be noticed on some trees, but far from ‘spectacular’, ‘captivating’ or   just a simple ‘wow’. It was rather dull and uninteresting. Normally I can’t just skip wandering around a place when I’m just there, however; in this case after driving for a while looking for the castle and old town I was about to give up on exploring it as the city simply wasn’t grasping me.  We did eventually walked around the Old Town and Beany and me visited the castle. What we like most, however, was ice cream! We were surprised how generous the scoops were and how little we had to pay for them. And they tasted great, too!

Enjoying a walk to the castle with the views of Ljubljana 

Ljubljanski Grad (Ljubljana Castle)

Autumn is upon us! And I love it! Especially on a warm and sunny day.

It’s a really well maintained castle, I must admit, with a couple of pretty restaurants and a cafĂ©. What Beany and me enjoyed most was the excavated foundations of the castle that hold some interesting pieces of what I’m assuming is meant to be art such as a type of Pinokio moving manekins (only the top half) playing drums.

The courtyard

Another view of Ljubljana. This one was taken from a viewing terrace in the castle.

Walking down the castle hill was as difficult as the way up for it was much steeper than the way we came from. We took a different path that lead to the Old Town. 

On the way down: Church of St. Nicholas 

Franciscan Church 

Vodnikov Square with a market

Krekov Square 

Butcher’s Bridge

This bridge was only open in 2010 but it looks like it instantly became favourite for hanging love padlocks. I guess Paris or Rome are a bit too far.

'What's this?' asked Beany laughing. Sculpture by Slovenian sculptor Jakov Brdbar.

Reoccurring theme: ice-cream. This was only one scoop!

Presernov Square

Triple Bridge which is basically three bridges joined at one side of the river Ljubljanica.

14-15 September 2015

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