We are in the Karst region of Slovenia, famous for some of the most extensive cave systems in the world and home to the famous Lippizzaner stallions.
"Karst" is a term that refers to arid limestone regions. Since limestone is easly dissolved by water, these regions often have large cave networks.
The Lippizzaner stallions originally come from this region. The Lipica Stud Farm was founded in 1580 to provide horses for the Hapsburg court of Vienna. Not being horse fans, we did not visit this local attraction, but the history is interesting.
We had a great breakfast on the farm, then checked out and headed to Predjamski Grad (Predjama Castle). The first castle here was actually a small one embedded deep inside the cave system. Over the centuries, different castles were built here and they slowly moved closer to the mouth of the cave. By the 16th century, the current castle had become more of a hunting lodge than one built for defense.
We didn't feel the need to visit the inside. Our Rick Steve's guidebook says that the interior is rather sparse and not worth visiting.
Our next stop was the Postojna Caves, just a few minutes down the road. These caves are the most popular and touristy caves in the region. It is the biggest cave system in Slovenia.
To visit the cave you must buy your tickets and hop aboard a train that whizzes you through the mountain past many formations. Brandon and I really enjoyed the ride. Once you arrive at the tour point, the guides break you up into language groups and begin the tours. The tour lasted about 90 minutes, including the train ride into and back out of the caves. It was very touristy, but absolutely beautiful. Did you know it takes 100 years for a stalagtite for grow 1 centimeter?!
One of the earlier trains used to transport visitors.
Brandon and Sunny at the entrance to the cave. No photos were allowed inside...
...but I snuck in one picture.
The caves are chilly, at a constant 12 degrees celcius.
After our 'cool' cave experience, we hopped on the highway for the 90 minute drive to Bled, our home for two nights.
We were pretty hungry when we arrived in Bled, so we stopped for lunch along the lakefront.
After lunch we headed to one of Brandon's favorite attractions in Bled, the alpine slide. We had a blast riding on this last August when we were here.
Brandon takes on the practice track while Katrina buys our tickets.
Brandon prepares to take off down the track
Katrina zooms to the finish line
On my second run I decided to try and video the ride. At the beginning I had trouble getting the camera adjusted in my hand, so the first part has a lot of leg...sorry.
This afternoon we wandered around Bled a little bit. Katrina wanted to visit one of her favorite tea shops, located here in Bled.
Katrina visits one of her favorite tea shops, in Bled
It was a very hot day today, and especially this afternoon. To take a break from the heat, we headed to over to our hotel, Penzion Kovac, to check in and cool off. This evening at 5pm we would be meeting an online friend (from a class she is taking) of Katrina's.
Near 5pm we headed back into Bled and decided to have a snack. Brandon and I wanted to see what the famous Bled cream cakes were like while we waited for Katrina's friend. There was a typical German/Austrian band playing on a terrace restaurant overlooking the lake, so we ate there.
Bled desserts: this is the town specialty, a cream cake called kremma rezina. Its a layer of cream and a layer of vanilla custard in between crisply crust. Very tasty!
They have a very efficient staff ready and waiting to clear the tables.
The band plays on
Katrina's friend Jozica and her sister arrived around 5:30pm. We decided to take a walk to the other side of the lake. We made our way slowly to the other side of the lake, talking and taking pictures. Brandon even did some running to show us how fast he was.
Lake Bled is full of swans
Jozica and her sister joined us for dinner at Topolino. We had a great time sharing stories while eating a fantastic meal.
After dinner we said our goodbyes and headed back to the room. It was another fun and tiring day. Tomorrow we will visit the castle above Lake Bled.