Slovenia Part 2

Day 26: April 17, 2018

This morning we packed up and had some breakfast. We very much enjoyed our stay in the nice little apartment in Möste and would definitely recommend the area for anyone wanting to travel to Slovenia.

We drove south to Predjama Castle. It stands in a cave halfway up a 127 m cliff. In its day, the castle offered very good security, but was not built for comfort. It would have been very damp and cold living in the castle. Parts of the castle date to the 12th century, but the current appearance is from 1583. The view from the outside was extraordinary.

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Predjama Castle

I really enjoyed walking through the castle as well. The rooms were set up like they may have been in the past rather than being repurposed. It made you feel like you were actually visiting the family that lived there. We saw the torture chamber, the dining hall, the kitchen (it had a fireplace that used a natural tunnel as the chimney and a sink that drained to the outer wall), the observation deck, the great room (the only room that would be heated) and the armoury. Then we moved into the cave portion of the castle.

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Cave portion of Predjama Castle

The cave portion was slightly in ruins, but there was a water collection system that brought the cave water still set up. It could be used in case the other water source in the castle, the river, was poisoned from the outside.

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Water collection inside cave of Predjama Castle

We saw the path into the back of the cave that Erazem, the castle’s most famous resident, used to get food from nearby villagers when the castle was under siege by the Austrians. In 1484, he stayed in the castle for an entire year while the Austrians were outside. Eventually, a servant was bribed by the enemy and told them the weakest point in the castle to hit. Erazem was killed due to this hit. His girlfriend planted a tree at a nearby church where we ate our lunch. A kitty came to visit us and wanted our lunch.

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Lunchtime visitor at Predjama Castle

We drove on to our Airbnb in Mereče. Our host, Marta, welcomed us. We were a bit early so she was still cleaning up a bit, but she offered us some food. She made us eggs with sausages from a neighbour. There was also fresh bread, some cookies, local wine and a shot of a liquer also made by a neighbour. She was very sweet and asked about our trip. She then offered to take us to the “fountain” up the road. Along the way we stopped at a natural spring and filled our bottle with water. We walked up a bit further through a field to an incredible stream falling down many rocks. It was quite beautiful. She told us that young people jump in the small pool at the bottom on hot days.

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The “fountain” in Mereče

Marta told us about making salad from the dandelion leaves by adding onion and oil. In the early spring many Slovenians are seen collecting the leaves in the fields. She also showed us a plant they use to make pesto; it may have been basil. She told us of the “bum-bums” or bunnies that are around. When she retired she opened the Airbnb so that she could keep busy and meet new people. The neighbours asked, “Who would want to come to Mereče?”. When her first guests called she was so excited.

Marta dropped us back off at the house and we tried to do some planning outside in the sun, but the internet wasn’t working very well. The place is clean, but old and full of knick knacks. It felt less homey once Marta left. I just wanted to give her a big hug. She was so sweet.

We decided to take a walk down into the fields behind the house. There were lots of paths around town. We came back and had leftovers for supper. Then we went to bed fairly early.

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Evening walk in Mereče
Day 37: April 18, 2018

Last night, we both had a very good sleep. The house is very chilly even though it is warm outside. We had some breakfast and headed to Škocjan Cave. We arrived just in time for the 10:00 am tour. We thought we might be able to walk through alone, but no dice. There were two school groups there as well. We all walked to the cave entrance. The groups went with two other guides and all the remaining people went with another guide.

Škocjan cave is one of the largest known underground canyons in the world. The Reka River enters the cave then flows underground. The cave floods every year to different levels changing the landscape inside. We walked down and into a small chamber. Walking through we saw many stalactites and stalagmites. It was quite pretty. Then we moved into a huge chamber with the river rushing below. The chamber was around 100 m tall. There is another chamber inside the cave that is 140 m tall. The scale of the caving was amazing. We continued over a bridge and then along the river. Danny claims the bridge is the same one Gandalf stood on and yelled, “You shall not pass”. I haven’t found anything to prove that other than one other blog post. Sadly, no photos were allowed inside.

We moved out of the cave and then took a funicular back up. We walked a bit further to a viewpoint and then back to the car.

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Viewpoint at Škocjan Cave

We had a sandwich and then drove to Hruševje. There was a fort on a hill with a church inside. It was used for protection by the town. The gate inside was closed so we walked around then up a trail a bit for a view of the town.

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Fort in Hruševje

From there, we drove to another town nearby. The streets were quite narrow so we parked and walked up. There was a tower with one wall remaining and a church. On our walk back down I had a big sneeze. If you’ve never heard my sneezes, they are huge. My grandpa was kind enough to pass those down to my mother and me. Danny complained that I should cover it in my arm so it’s not so loud. I lost it on Danny. My sneezes are so big that they hurt. We walked back to the car in silence. Yes, these are the things we fight about. Really it’s all the little things that seem to drive us crazy.

We tried to find a coffee shop in town and ended up at a cappuccino bar that was heavy on the bar. We had teas and did some planning for how to get to Venice, where to park and what to see there. We booked a walking tour with a gondola ride. We drove back home and were able to talk through the sneeze incident. Danny made chicken, potatoes and broccoli for supper. We ate outside again because the house is so cold. We sat outside for a while then went to bed.

In the last couple of months I think I have gotten a lot better at being willing to talk through our fights. In the past I preferred to just avoid it and move on, but this led to a build up of anger. I think it is good that I have developed that skill otherwise all of the little fights we have on this trip would probably be very damaging. We have been able to talk through them and laugh after about how ridiculous we both are being.

A post on Venice and more on Slovenia will be coming soon. I had to split up the post because it was getting too long! I hope everyone is enjoying our journey.

M

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