Sunday, April 20, 2014

Slovenia Day 4--Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle

This day luckily the bus tour I signed up for actually happened.  Well, there were only 3 of us, so the bus tour ended up being a car tour, but it was really good.  First of all, just driving around in Slovenia is the biggest treat in the world.  It is the most gorgeous countryside to ever exists.  And the little towns we drove through were just darling.  The first stop of the tour was the Postojna Caves.  There are a lot of caves in Slovenia, and this is probably the most touristy of them all.  It was definitely very cool to see the caves.  They are formed by a river that runs above ground for a bit, then dives down underneath and had created this massive tunnel work that goes on for miles.  Unfortunately, the way the tour was run inside of the caves was not my favorite.  We were with anyone else who wanted to tour the caves at 10am, and the group was split up by languages, so each group could have their own personal guide through the caves.  The language groups were:  Slovenian, German, Italian and English, which worked great for the first three groups because they had maybe 15 people each and could have a very personal tour.  The English group, however, was also paired with 2 very large tour bus groups from different Asian countries, so we had like 50 people in our group, most of which didn't actually speak English and didn't bother to keep quite when our guide spoke, so she ended up rarely speaking.  Also  no matter how many times she said "No photos in the caves!", the flashes kept coming.  And for whatever reason our grouped seemed to be rushing through the caves, instead of walking slowly and actually taking in the amazing things we were seeing!  There was a point or two in the caves where we were allowed to take photos without flash, so I'll throw them in here.  Also right next to the caves was a water powered mill that we got a little tour of, and that was fun.  We learned how they use the power from the water to make flour from all sorts of grains.

After the caves, our little car headed a few miles down the road to Predjama Castle.  This little castle is neat because it it built into a cave!  There are many entrances to the castle, and some of them are through the rock and some of them are through the building.  It was a neat set up because if the castle was under attack, they could all blockade themselves in the cave part and abandon the building part, and still live very nicely while waiting for the attacks to stop.  We were lucky enough to have the tour guide show us around, but there isn't a lot of info written out anywhere for people who come by themselves, so I was glad to have the guide there explaining everything.  Most of the owners of the castle historically were not nice people, but the last family to own it were actually quite nice and treated people well, and still own the castle today and are in charge of the tourism, I think.

Slovenia Day 3--Ljubljana Again

The third day I spent again in the capital city.  In the morning I was going to go to the National Slovene History Museum, but that was under renovation, so I went to the Natural History Museum and a free marionette museum.  The marionette museum made me want to be a little kid again so bad.  Alas.  After that I stopped by the National Gallery, which had a few nice things in it, but was also under renovation and I could only see part of the collection.  As is my custom when I go to museums, I'll add my favorite paintings here below, but first a few more pictures of the city, including the beautiful Tivoli Park that I walked around.

Now is also a good time to discuss the food in Slovenia.  I didn't like it very much.  It was very meat heavy, and it's just not my favorite.  I only ate at one restaurant I enjoyed, and it was a lovely gourmet fish menu.  Other than that, I could not handle the food, and often just stopped by a grocery store instead of a restaurant.  But if one is really into meat, then this is probably a good place for them to eat.

Alvise Benefatto--Ecce Homo

Bartolomeo Bettera--Musical Instruments and Celestial Globe

Christ on the Mount of Olives (Anonymous)

Franz Flurer--Sea Coast with a Town and Travellers

Frans Francken II--Madonna with Child Served by Two Angels

Matija Jama--Circle Dance

Anton Karinger--Lake Bohinj

Anton Karinger--View of Triglav from Bohinj

Franc Kavcic--Ideal Landscape with Bridge and Amphitheater

Ivana Kobilca--Summer

Pavel Kunl--Ljubljana Fish Market

Matevz Langus--Juljia Primic with Her Brother Janez

Marko Pernhart--River Sava with Smarna Gora

Marko Pernhart--Panoramic View from Smarna Gora III (View of Triglav)

Marko Pernhart--Lago di Fusine in Stormy Weather

Jacob Pynas--A Landscape with Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter

Hans Georg Geiger--St. George Slaying the Dragon

Jozef Tominc--Portrait of the Artist's Father

Winged Altar