About 40 minutes after leaving our hotel in Bled, we arrived at the base of the mountain where parking seemed to be a huge problem at the resort. There was one big parking lot that had already filled up, with people double and even triple parking cars into their spots. All that was left was street parking in the town, which we drove around aimlessly looking for. We got pretty lucky after we squeezed into a spot right in front of a ski rental place. It ended up being closer to the base of the mountain than had we parked in the main parking lot so it was a good start to the day!
The skiing that we're accustomed to was different than the skiing at Kranjska Gora. For those that have skied in the States and in Europe, it was more akin to East Coast USA skiing rather than skiing in Colorado, Utah, or Zermatt, Switzerland. There weren't too many runs, it was icy in parts, and it was more crowded with people, especially beginners. Aside from that though, we enjoyed skiing here very much and got our legs ready for our big ski trip in February to Chamonix, France.
The next day we woke up early, left Bled, and headed to Postojna. In Postojna there is a a cave network, similar to Lurray Caverns in Virginia, which has 21 kilometers of fantastic tunnels, halls, and passages. Remnants of rivers and pools of water can be seen from the indentation in the rocks. There are big chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites of many sizes and shapes, some of which have taken tens of thousands of years to form. Considering they grow only one centimeter every 100 years you can get an idea of how old this place really is. The caves were enchanting and each area that we saw offered a different view into this remarkable underground world. We felt like we took a journey to the center of the earth, where time is counted by the drops of water and the art of mother nature is on display.
|The entrance, taken from Postojna Caves|
|The Red Hall, taken from Postojna Caves|
To start we took a ride in a miniature train for two kilometers through small archways, large halls, and tiny passageways. After the train ride, we were led through different areas of the caves, each with their own unique name. The Hall of Tubes (aka Spaghetti Hall) was so named because of the white, needle-thin tubes hanging from the ceiling. The Concert Hall holds events and concerts a few times a year and can accommodate several thousand people. The White Hall is named because all of the stalactites are extremely white from pure limestone. The whole experience was magnificent and it gave us a magical view of the underground world of the Postojna Caves.
|The Hall of Tubes or Spaghetti Hall, taken from Postojna Caves|
|The White Hall, taken from Postojna Caves|
After our time in the caves we continued towards the Italian border to Trieste. Trieste is an interesting city - since it's right on the border of Slovenia and not far from Austria, it is a mish-mash of all three countries combined; Viennese style cafes on the streets, the friendliness of the Slovenian people, and the dreaded shut down of everything in Italy from 1 - 4pm (especially on a Sunday). Lying on the Adriatic Sea, it was a key port during the Austro-Hungarian empire before it was added as an Italian territory in 1918.
After we had lunch we walked down some streets, passing people sitting outside drinking their coffees and walking past families on an afternoon outing. We came to Piazza dell'Unita d'Italia, which is a big open square looking out to the sea. Large Austrian type buildings line the piazza, while children with their dogs play in the center. It seemed to be the focal point of the city... the eyes to the sea!
We also passed a few churches on our walk:
|San Nicoli dei Greci|
|Santa Maria Maggiore|
|A wooden reindeer exhibition|
|Me, hanging out in the piazza|
|A picture of what Palmanova looks from above.|