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  • Day11

    14:06:17- 16:06:17

    June 16, 2017 in Slovenia ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    At five on 15 th June we went looking for bears. We were well wrapped up as Marcus had suggested and clutching cameras and binoculars we journeyed deep to the forest. Marcus explained that his family had owned the farm they run with the Na megi accommodation through several generations and the last four generations had all been born a different nationality. His grandfather was Austrian, his father Italian, he is YUgoslavian and his son is Slovenian. He showed us a disappearing lake which had bomb blasts in it as the area is military training country. Eventually we talked to the huntsmen. The bears are at the top of the food chain so they need to be culled, the meat is used and the skin, the same huntsmen also help find the bears for people such as ourselves who just want to see them in the wild. It is a job for them with many salaries so helps them subsist. They shoot for the government, sell the meat for themselves and find the bears for the tourists.
    We sat for two hours in an open hide, which was stilts of wood hammered together at a height of about fifteen feet, with a rough hewn bench and just enough room to put your feet. It swayed rather alarmingly in the wind and that and the fact that we were here to see real wild animals that can do humans damage was the subject of a few nervous thoughts as we teetered above the feeding station. The feeding station is actually for the wild boar who without encouragement to feed in the forest would do so down on the nearby farms. However, the bears have also discovered its food benefits especially the young bears and cubs.
    Two hours came and went with no sign of our bears and dusk was descending when the second hunter returned to say that at another open hide was a mother and two cubs. We climbed down and bombed through the forest and crept as silently as possible to the hide. This one was a good 25 feet above the floor and was much more sturdily made than the last. The mother and cubs were still there so we slowly climbed the ladder and sure enough the mother was in plain sight. Very moving for me as I promptly burst into tears, she was huge and very busy feeding. There was no sign of the cubs but later we spotted them playing on the periphery of the feeding area and she went to get them to feed themselves so we had wonderful views.
    On the way back it was dark and those in the front of the vehicle saw a fox cub and a badger.
    The next morning we drove to some wetlands near to Ljubljana and did some birding some of it off road which was very amusing and then drove on into the city and checked into the hotel. Typical conference hotel, quiet and well run but features less. We then wandered into the city and had a look round, it has been through many incarnations since roman times so is an eclectic mix of young and old architecture..after an evening at a restaurant called most (bridge) we went back to the hotel. Paul was then working in the morning so I went back into the town and did some light shopping, we met for lunch and after lunch was a great cloud breaking thunderstorm. It stotted down and we huddled under a market stall to get dry. Tonight we are due to eat at a restaurant called Manna. Hopefully tomorrow will go smoothly and we will be back home by the end of it, traffic and British airways permitting.
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