Inconsistent weather across central Europe inspired us to pursue indoor activities today… Mr.Martini was looking forward to revisiting a place he hadn’t seen since childhood and so we were lucky enough to go together to see …
… the ethereal beauty of the postonja caves. They are a stunning natural wonder of stalactites and stalacmites glistening with dripping water, sparkling with minerals and lit like the seven dwarves may come around the corner any minute for their magical mining tour.
We started with the train ride in, climbed to the highest underground peak and wound our way around the wildly varied shapes. We tried to find comparisons from our own experiences to describe the beauty of it all: melting candles, sand castles, spray foam… Nothing could quite explain the mysterious awesomeness…
According to Miss G. it was the best day ever. (Last two photos are hers – now she wants to go to mining school!)
We took the train back out from the magical underground world just in time for lunch…
…first sign of good things to come: pig roast!
The roast pigs are never ready this early in the day though, so we had some other favourites: cevapcici, burek (with cheese), pasta crema (or carsoline, depending on who you ask…)
We spent some time digesting our lunch by looking around the gift shops – this was one of our favourites. The kids loved the geodes, Nonna loved the silk scarves and the semi-precious jewelry, and I loved the reproductions of old beehive boxes decorated with folk art. Some of them were beautiful, and many of them were very funny. (Think animal musicians, ornate angels, and the occasional cranky wife/naughty husband/tavern scene…)
Before leaving we took some time to admire the grounds:
Next (whistle) stop: castle! (Fortress?) If it has a drawbridge and it’s built into a mountain I suppose it qualifies.
Followed by: Ljubljana! This really was a “whistle stop” – we barely had time for photos. (I had to get one of this crazy building though – have you ever seen one decorated this way?)
We continued driving north to Lake Bled, which is almost at the Austrian border. On our last visit we had visited here only briefly while driving south from Austria, but I was so thrilled that we made the trip again as every inch of it was more gorgeous than I remembered. Every time I have travelled from country to country through central Europe, either by train or by car, I have loved noticing the gradual shift in landscape and in architecture. The closer we get to Austria, the more the style of the buildings reflects that culture. They transition from stone with tile rooftops in the south to perfectly preserved wooden cottages one by one, as if our car window opens into a picturesque fairy tale world.
We arrived in time to walk along the lakeside path and listen to the church bell ringing across the lake – anyone can ring it at any time, but you have to row a boat out there on your own, because the church is on its own island. Now we have a reason to go back!
Of course we had to punctuate our day with ice cream..
On our long sunset drive home we watched the beautiful landscape change gradually again, shifting from alpine to seaside almost as quickly as the clouds shifted across the evening sky.
Slovenia really is a fairy tale kind of country, and we have only seen a tiny slice…
While researching before this trip I came across a translation of the Slovenian National Anthem and had to bookmark it – the sentiments are so lovely, and completely international in spirit:
“God’s blessing on all nations,
Who long and work for that bright day,
When o’er earth’s habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway;
Who long to see
That all men free
No more shall foes, but neighbours be.”
Amazing. I suppose because of the state of the political world right at this very minute these words echo profoundly with me. If the whole country of Slovenia can stand up and sing these words … couldn’t we?