Slovenia
Občina Divača

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  • Day12

    Škocjan caves

    July 28 in Slovenia

    Our first stop in the Southern part of Slovenia were the Škocjan caves. Together with the slightly bigger Postonja cave they form one of the bigger and most significant karst caves in the world. Therefore, the Škocjan cave was declared an UNESCO world heritage site. The visit to the caves was a guided tour and we were surprised with how many people we left at the ticket office for our underground trip. Luckily we were quickly divided over multiple groups, each with their own guide.

    Inside the cave we were not allowed to take any pictures (one of the main reasons is that the flash scares the animals which are living in the cave - bats, beetles,...). Anyway, we were both amazed by the beauty and grandeur of the underground world. We walked through huge halls with massive stalactites, stalagmites and impressive columns. Some of these structures grow only 1 cm each 100 years. It’s quite difficult realizing how old these structures are and how much time must have passed before the water solubilized these huge halls. It’s a completely different timescale.

    We continued deeper into the cave and crossed a 50m high bridge over a steep canyon where there river still flows. It felt like you were in a scene of a movie (like walking in the mines of Moria in Lord Of The Rings).

    More towards the end of the trip we saw a couple of bats flying around and we could see where the river came back above ground.

    It was an impressive trip!
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  • Day306

    Park Škocjanske jame

    April 28, 2017 in Slovenia

    We took a 1 minute video of the park which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/4AyXX0kBEa0

    Friends of Cath and Paul's as well as friends of ours had recommended we go to the Škocjan Caves and we thought it the perfect wet weather activity. The only slight problem was there had been so much rain that one of the two tours was closed due to high water levels. However, the 'Through the underground canyon' tour was open. It was 3km long and lasted 2 hours so we weren't disappointed.

    We descended through the artificial tunnel and emerged at the start of the Silent Cave. Around every bend there were sights that made our jaws drop even further. The path had regular floor lights and there were white uplighters illuminating various formations. Stalactites and stalagmites of seemingly every imaginable size projected from the ceiling and floor. Some joined to form columns and others hung in clusters to form 'chandeliers'. The roof of the cavern was still quite low at this point so the mineral formations were close at hand. Curtains of white limestone, some with a little iron to tinge them ruddy brown, hung down from above and out from the overhanging walls. In places, the curtains looked like rucked velvet that had been wrapped around itself in a spiral. All our powers of description are needing to be employed here, with more than a little help from Cath, because there were no photographs allowed.

    The first section of the Silent Cave, called Paradise, led to the aptly named Great Hall of 120m wide and 30m high. On most days the Silent Cave would live up to its name, but today it seemed to echo with the sound of thousands of individual water droplets splashing on rock. It was incredible to think that each of these droplets contained minerals that were being left behind and growing these seemingly alien entities all around us.
    The most amazing stalagmite in The Great Hall was called The Giant and had formed over 200, 000 years! It was like the melted wax of candles had been repeatedly drizzled over the top of the rocks.

    From the (not so) Silent Cave we walked on and gradually became aware of the low rumble reverberating off the rocks. As we got closer, the noise of the River Reka rushing through the deep underground ravine became deafening. The Slovenian word 'reka' means river, so it is literally named 'River River'! It was dark and humid, so much so that the view of the water was obscured by a cloud that ended at a very defined level just below the top of the cave.

    The chamber we entered was around 100 metres in height and we were told that in 1965, it had flooded to a depth of 90 metres. Descending into the cloud and following the course of the Reka, about 40 metres above it, our eyes began to acclimatise and we could make out the light brown water gushing and frothing as it was forced to adhere to the tight course of the narrow fissure. After crossing the bridge we began to climb and the cavity opened up slightly. We came accross a set of dry pools that led up a slope away from us and were formed by a stream that used to flow over them in many miniature waterfalls.

    The cave network is the most incredible series of underground phenomena we've ever seen. We remember Croatia for its beautiful overground rivers and Slovenia's subterranean marvels will never be forgotten.

    In the afternoon the rain had stopped and the sunshine had found its way out from behind the clouds with such vigour that it transformed the day. As well as the caves the park provided some good walks, so we wended our way around the valley beneath the dappled shade of new spring leaves. Below us we saw some stunning waterfalls bursting forth energetically from crevices with the recent glut of rain. Above we spotted a good range of birds, including a Peregrine Falcon and Kestral. We passed ponds with large warty newts and rocks with striking red and black beatles. If you enjoy nature as we do, this area of Slovenia is definitely the place to visit!

    Back at the visitor centre, Paul treated us to coffee and cake. We had a satisfying slice of Kremna Rezina, a pastry, custard and cream delight originating from Lake Bled. We'd all had a great day, Park Škocjanske jame is a wonderful place and it was made even better for us by being able to explore it with friends.
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  • Day217

    Day 218: Ljubljana via Škocjan Caves

    September 20, 2017 in Slovenia

    Time to leave Koper! Although we hadn't seen much of the town, we felt a bit more refreshed and ready to move on. So we loaded up and headed out around 10am after a brief Skype call to my brother for his birthday.

    Main stop for the day was Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO world heritage site. These are some of the largest caves in Europe, formed mainly by a river flowing largely underground. A huge part of it still runs underground, but there's some dramatic cliffs and stuff where the limestone above has collapsed (huge sinkholes called dolines). It was only a short drive from Koper, so we arrived at around 10:30 and assessed our options.

    There were two underground tours, one guided only while the other was unguided. The guided walk didn't allow photography while the other had no such rules, so our decision in the end was pretty easy. First stop was a viewpoint overlooking the area, then we walked downhill to the start of our cave walk.

    It was really more of a canyon walk, and only short parts of it were in the caves, but they were still very impressive. Particularly after the huge recent rains as well, the river flowing below was an absolute torrent and an obvious demonstration of how water shapes the landscape so brutally.

    We finished about 90 minutes later having done a fair bit of filming along the way. I really enjoyed the caves - they aren't the largest we've seen (Gunung Mulu in Malaysia dwarfs these efforts), but they're still very impressive. I also just find caves to be such an otherworldly environment, like I'm inside a videogame or something. A lame metaphor perhaps, but there it is.

    We grabbed some lunch at the cafe attached to the visitor's centre - good hearty fare typical of this part of the world! We both had slices of roasted pork with giant balls of mashed potato & onion, all topped with gravy. Nice.

    Onwards we went, back to the freeway to Ljubljana the capital city. It's easier to pronounce than you think, the Js are mostly silent so it's really just Lub-Lana. On that note though, I've been very impressed that almost everyone here speaks some English, and people under 40 or so are very good. Fluent enough that they can pick up jokes, nuance and subtext which are all very difficult in English.

    The city itself is fairly compact and small, though almost everything in this country is. We'd just driven halfway across in an hour or so! We still had a few hours before our Airbnb would be ready, so we parked up near the city centre and set off exploring.

    Some nice buildings around, public squares and statues, and a cool little waterfront. The university seems quite important here and it's quite common to hear people speaking English while walking past (not tourists). There are tourists around, but not too many which is nice. The bridges over the narrow river are cool, there's one triple-bridge of stone arches, and another called the Dragon Bridge which has four large bronze dragons perched on the pillars. Local legend has it that the dragons wag their tails when virgins cross the bridge, which, well okay I guess, if that's where you want to take that!

    The whole centre is overlooked by the castle which sits on a tall rocky spire in the middle of town, probably 100 metres up. We decided to catch the furnicular up since it was only a couple of euros, which gave us a nice view and a short free walk on some of the battlements. Excellent views from here; since it was clear you could see all the way to the Alps some 60-70km distant.

    Decided to skip on the castle tour proper, since it was moderately expensive and no dogs were allowed (Schnitzel was his usual rock-star self), so instead we had a coffee and cake in the castle courtyard before heading back down.

    Back to the car where we drove to a supermarket for supplies, then headed to our Airbnb. It's basically a studio apartment with a separate kitchen and bathroom; decent size and will be comfortable enough for the next five days. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so we'll probably stay indoors all day!
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  • Day9

    Today was pretty rainy as we departed Črniče but perfect for exploring the Skocjan Caves. Words can’t describe the beauty so hopefully the pictures will give at least a hint to the wonders of this part of the world. The rock is mostly limestone which when dissolved into the watershed gives the Soča River that brilliant blue color. After leaving the caves, we drove north toward the Alp region of Slovenia, tracing the path of the river Soča. As the mountains reared up around us as we ascended the valley, towns became more traditionally alpine. We stopped at a random trail signpost situated on the side of the road near a bridge crossing the Soča river and decided to explore the trail which promised to lead to a waterfall. The trail, lined with brilliant white rocks proved to be almost as spectacular as the Boka waterfall, the mightiest waterfall in Slovenia. We then continued our journey and arrived at our destination, nestled deep in a tiny valley in upper Trenta, with spectacular views of the mountains looming all around. We stayed the night at Homestead Kekec, a "four apple" tourist farm in this idyllic setting.Read more

  • Day14

    Cave and Castle day in Slovenia

    July 5, 2017 in Slovenia

    We started with a 2-3 hour walking tour of Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the world's largest known underground river canyons. Like Croatia, Slovenia has over 11,000 caves due to so much of the geology being composed of limestone and other soluble rocks that create sinkholes and caves.

    Škocjan was different from some of the other caves we've visited (and you know we've seen many with our family), because of its very large "rooms"--up to 140 meters in height and maybe 50 meters across. We got to cross a bridge that was 45 meters above the underground river running through the cave. Some years the river floods the cave to as high as 100 meters!

    Photos weren't allowed in the cave because any artificial light causes algae to grow (they did have plenty of light for our walk, but they turn off when not occupied). We took a photo of the bridge we walked on from their sign outside. After about 3 km, we went on our own in a very open part of the cave along the river where we could take photos.

    On the recommendation of one of the guests we met at breakfast (we weren't the only overnighters after all), we drove from the cave to the farm where they breed the Lipizzaner horses. These are pure white dressage horses whose lineage dates to the time of the Habsburgs in the 1500s. They are born brown or black, but gradually turn white beginning around age six.

    Also in the area is Predjama castle, built into a cave. It was built in stages and used by various groups for protection as early as the 13th century. It was an interesting tour because of the ingenious ways they used the cave features to their advantage (cooking chimneys, fresh water collection, and a secret escape route). It was last used by an Austrian family for a hunting lodge until the end of World War II, when it was nationalized by the Yugoslavian government and turned into a museum.
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  • Day13

    Driving to Slovenia

    July 4, 2017 in Slovenia

    Today we picked up a rental car in Split to drive up the Croatian coast to Slovenia. Along the way we stopped at the museum and boyhood home of Nikola Tesla. The exhibit featured a chronology that placed his life and work in the context of the larger world of politics, science and art during his lifetime.

    Tesla invented the wireless remote, vertical takeoff aircraft, remote control for ships, radar, and so many more inventions! Yet he lived the last part of his life penniless and died alone. We got to see a demonstration of a million-volt Tesla coil which lit up fluorescent bulbs held in the hands of young volunteer visitors.

    The drive along the coast was stunning, and brought back great memories of our REI group tour.

    Tonight we're staying in a very small farming village nearby to the cave we'll visit tomorrow. We are the only guests at the inn, and were the only diners this evening. Our hosts are very welcoming, serving us local wine and beer, and regional dishes like truffle gnocchi (yum!).
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  • Day3

    2016 Skojan - Höhleneingang

    May 10, 2016 in Slovenia

    Der Teil der Tropfsteinhöhle ist gut, hat aber das Niveau von vielen anderen Höhlen. Das besondere hier ist der unterirdische Canyon den der Fluss Reka ausgeform hat. Leider ist die Höhle sehr spärlich ausgeleuchtet, sodass Innenaufnahmen fast unmöglich sind. Schaut mal hier: http://www.park-skocjanske-jame.si/de Die Brücke ist 40 Meter über dem Fluss Reka!

  • Day4

    skocjanske jame

    May 25, 2016 in Slovenia

    Der Wahsinn!!!! 😲
    Ich hab noch nie eine so Beeindruckende Höhle gesehen.
    Es ist wirklich jeden Cent wert und auch jeden Kilometer.
    Leider war es darin so dunkel das ich keine Fotos machen konnte 😞
    Sehr sehr toll

    💚💚💚👌

You might also know this place by the following names:

Občina Divača, Obcina Divaca

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