After Bled I went back to Ljubljana for a few more days. There was still some coffee to be tried, more gelato to be eaten and apparently Slovenia is famous for some caves a bit southwest of the capital.
The super touristy postojna were not that appealing (despite the child clearly screaming for joy riding the cave train on the front of the brochure).
Instead myself and Jake embarked on what we wrongfully presumed would be a straightforward journey to the Škocjan caves.
We caught the bus into the nearest town ready for a bit of a walk easily shown to us by the tourist office in the nearby train station. Non of these things existed. Some rambling around and eventually we ended up at a cafe using the wifi to google how to get there.
Long story short made it! Looked at a lot of really old rocks. The caves were amazing. It was really freaky imagining what it must have been like for the early explorers in the cave. Even for the later explorers… There were a lot of narrow stairs and skinny bridges.
After a decade long bus ride supplemented by a bottle of wine and some great views of Slovenian nature we got back to Ljubljana.
Home of the milk vending machine- can’t remember what I’ve said previously but, RAW MILK vending machine!
Another “adventure” of trying to find some music that evening eventually led me and a Belgian girl to a jazz jam session at a popular student bar. Beat boxing base player. Night was made. Also- random street art I found- I think it’s been multiplying as school semester draws neigh.
Lake Bled- the place so endlessly raved about I made it a mission to come to Slovenia to make it there.
It has everything you’d want in a peaceful lake gettaway: sun (despite all weather forecasts), great swimming, a castle on a hilltop and a church on a floating island. Being a backpacker here I got completely spoiled. Firstly I was lucky enough to travel with some friends i’d met in Ljubljana and, although we stayed at different hostels that didn’t make much difference since 5 hostels were within sight distance from each other. 5 minutes walking to lake to lake. breakfast or emergency wine run meant crossing the street to Mercator. I’m pretty sure i went to buy things 4 times one day.
First walk around the lake we found another backpacker met in Ljubljana (this lady-one cool cat)
A few minutes later another friend wanders past. No one has been up to the castle so we make plans for sunset. and wine. because Slovenian wine is 3 euros, I mean, we have to try all the different kinds.
We find the highest rock to climb overlooking the lake-fears of heights put on the back burner.
after some music and a perfect evening we walk in the dark down the path back to the hostel. The giant group of Brazilian orthodontic students (studying in Hungary) are in the common room-otherwise known as the kitchen. everyone hangs around for a while but when the majority decides to go to the bar I bail. I’ve learned i’m good with one or two nights out a week and feel zero remorse in excluding myself. And, with plans to drag myself out of bed in the morning to watch the sunrise with a few others more sleep is not a bad idea.
(k, so it’s a bit hard to see the sun through the mountains)
The next few days were pretty relaxing..which was actually my plan for Slovenia. strange when things work out. time spent away from the lake was going to Triglav national park to walk through the gorge. beyond anything i dreamed.
Then 7 of us rented paddle boards, 1 kayak and 1 rowboat to travel out to church island. The misty wind meant it wasn’t the warmest standing on a board-although it did make swimming very inviting. And i discovered i’m a natural rowboater. nice to know i have some skills besides getting lost.
One last thing you do in Bled is try the famous(?) cream cake. It’s pretty good- then again when is cake not good?
(This city’s guardian is a dragon)
One very long and sweaty bus ride got me from Venice to the capital of Slovenia. A city I’ve never heard of and only figured out how to pronounce upon arrival. Another art nouveau city! Thank you perfectly timed massive earthquake.
My first evening I walked around mouth agape at some of the beautiful architecture
then walked towards metelkova- the local squat/alternative arts hub based in some old military barracks.
I wasn’t scared walking through the area as it was getting dark, I just felt a little out of place. Clusters of friends were already comfortably drinking beer around the adult jungle gym and there I am just wandering through… Oh hey just a tourist here.
What a cool place full of freaky graffiti.
On the city walking tour I met up with a fellow girl from my hostel. I knew she was a keeper since she was traveling solo for a bit and carrying a book with her all the time.
after the tour we went to the city market to admire the milk vending machine, buy a bag a plums (everything is so cheap!) and my friend failed to fight off her addiction to handmade bags.
we walked up the hill to the castle and walked around its strange complex of new paths overtop old stone.
after walking back through old town we eventually found one of Ljubljana’s many art galleries; this one had an exhibition on art in the digital age including an entire wall of memes.
from there i stopped for tea and a vegetarian sandwich with avocado-eating vegetables is something to celebrate during a life of backpacking, and green tea. I couldn’t resist going inside to smell the teas for sale. oolong smells so good, I am week.
Instead of going out that evening I sat down to a game of cards and some Slovenian red wine. Slovenia makes a lot of good wine. spending 4 euros will mean a really good bottle but, y’know, a two euro bottle is pretty swell too.
i’m positive there’s no better way to spend an evening than spending 3 hours playing presidents and assholes with some new friends