Continuing on Day 5: Postojna. We made it here by about 4 and promptly bought our tickets for one seriously THE COOLEST places I’ve ever been: Postojna Caves.
Above: Stunning village area near the caves entrance and ticketing booth
Left: cave entrance. All the tours lined up with our respective Language group.
All aboard! We hopped on a train, YES A TRAIN. just an open aired sort of disney ride which was 15 minutes deep into the caves. So yes, we passed through caverns of stalactites and stalagmites, tunnels and large rooms. I like to call this the REAL Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The whole time we kept expecting some roller coaster type drop lol. while there weren’t any crazy vertical drops, there was quite a drop in temperature as we descended further and further into the caves.
At the end, we got out and had an hour, 3 km walking tour on paved paths through more caverns. This cave system was HUGE. So cool. There was one part you cross a bridge that is called “the Russian bridge” as it was built by Russian prisoners of war during World War II. Then you go through 3 aptly named caverns the While hall and Red hall (due to the color of the rooms owing to the minerals in the cavern walls) and the Spaghetti room because all the stalactites on the ceiling are little spaghetti shapes. Some how you walk around and end up in a room under the spaghetti cavern so directly under where you were standing earlier in the tour and you also walk under the Russian bridge.
The tour ends with a small aquarium of proteus (also called the Human fish) which are cool looking cave salamanders and in the “concert hall” which is the largest cavern in the whole series. (Capable of accomodating 10,000 people for musical concerts.. which they DO!… Bucketlist) Here, deep under the ground still, they have a souvenir shop, post office, and my favorite part: flushing toilets which I made sure to make use of. Then you hop back on the train for a return journey of another 15 minutes. Just all in all. AMAZING!
Left: Me in the Concert Hall.
So our tour for that finished up about 6:30 and we still had Predjama Castle to visit. When we bought the tickets, someone told us it was open until 8, but the caves area is only open to 7. As we were inquiring about how to get to the castle, an employee told us the castle also closed at 7. Begin total disapointment and despair. These feelings weren’t helped when we were trying to exit the car park and were hopelessly trapped, thereby delaying us until 6:45. (We finally sorted out that there were pay kiosks in the parking area that you insert you ticket, pay, and then all you have to do is put your “paid” ticket in the machine to get out. lol we just hadn’t known where the pay kiosks were) So we got over to the castle just before and Yippee! It was ACTUALLY open until 8 afterall. So we picked up our included audio tour devices and set out to explore one killer castle.
The castle itself is set right into the cliffs about 123 M above the ground with another cave system extending up behind it and dates back to at least the 13th century. It also holds the world record for largest “cave- castle.” The audio tour is quite extensive on explaining just about every room of the castle and also it’s most famous occupant: Erazem Lueger who was sort of a “Robbin Hood” figure for that area and also survived over a 1.5 year siege on Pedjama Castle.
Right: Braden listening closely to the very interesting tales of Ezarem Lueger.
Left; The water closet. Set out somewhat precariously over the edge of the cliffs… Guess you knew where NOT to walk below back in those days.
The tunnels that go back behind the castle actually continue out on the other side near a village where they could get supplies into the castle. (Sound like Helms Deep anyone…? anyone?) You get to see a couple different over looks that have amazing views of the valley and also climb up into the “cave portion” of the castle a little ways. There are tours that can lead you further into them if you book in advance. (which we didn’t. we barely made it in time to see the castle) lol. So all in all both of these stops turned out to be quite incredible.
The climb up quite the steep large stairs led to some dramatic overlooks and “defensible positions”
All finished up with this magnificent castle and area, we hit the road and we still had about 30 minutes to Ljubljana (our home for the next 3 nights)
Ljubljana looked awesome! But one problem: we COULD NOT find parking anywhere! We circled around for probably 20 minutes before our AirBnb host came to the rescue and recommended an underground parking garage near the place we were staying, so we put that into the GPS and bam. DONE. parked. Then it was only a short 5 minute walk through essentially the city center (which is incredibly charming! but more on that later…) and we were at our hosts’ front door. We only met one of the hosts but he was very friendly and I had conversed with the hosts pretty extensively in planning for our trip. So we were excited to meet them! And turns out, he was pretty excited to meet us! They had a selection of teas in the apartment for us as well as 4 of the largest apples I’ve ever seen. They had some really thoughtful things around for us including maps, tourist pamphlets, and a cute little “How to speak Slovenian” key phrases paper. We had essentially an apartment to ourselves. You would enter through the main door into a shared space with a little washer/ dryer. Then we had our own lock and key to a separate space (one of the largest we had) with a nice sized bathroom, living space, small kitchen corner, and a little bedroom nook. All in all it was so clean and nice we didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of it to find dinner, so we ate leftover snacks, all 4 apples, and some tea that night for dinner. lol. Plus they also had several English channels so we gorged on random travel channels really settling in for the night.