Today I took an hour bus ride from the city to the tourist destination of Postojna to see their famous caves. Now, granted, my track record with caves hasn’t been good on this trip. The only other time I was in a cave I ended up injured but today there would be no running.
I got off the bus in the tiny village to empty streets but that would soon end as I walked for 15 minutes up the road to the caves.
When I reached the caves I was greeted by a dozen tour buses lined up side by side along with the hundreds of tourists wandering about.
We entered the caves by train and then were led through them with a guide speaking English. A couple of interesting things about the caves – they are 3 million years old and in 100 years the stalagmites and stalactites only grow 1cm. The temperature in the cave with a brisk 8C which was a broad contrast to the 25C outside. The tour lasted for just over an hour and at the end they tried to gouge us by selling us pictures of us they took as we entered the area for 6.50 euros.
Hah, I don’t think so! Instead I snuck a photo of my photo after the lady had waved me off. Suckers!
There is also a castle in the town 10km away but the only way to reach it, outside of walking, is to take a 30 euro round trip cab ride. Nice little scam. Instead of having a shuttle bus the taxis gouge us. I decided to skip the castle as I’m sure there will be many more on my travels and they won’t cost me 30 euros to see.
While the rest of the tourists all hung out in the caves area eating lunch before heading back on their tour buses I walked back down towards the bus depot to have lunch in a restaurant away from the tourist area.
It’s amazing the difference a 15 minute walk can do. I went from a place overrun by tourists to a nice peaceful quiet street with empty restaurants. I stopped in this little restaurant on the top of the hill at the edge of town with a nice little garden patio.
For lunch I had a meat platter and a side of potatoes along with a glass of wine – total price 10 euros. It helped that the glass of wine was a whopping 80 cents. Yes – 80 cents. The meat platter was huge and came with a red pepper puree, a burger patty, a chorizo sausage, some bacon, a pork chop and a skewer of pork. Needless to say I was stuffed after lunch as I walked back down the hill to the bus depot.
By 5pm I was back at the hostel where I met a few new guys who had just checked in – Don, Thomas and Lawrence. We all headed out to dinner a few hours later. We sat down at the first restaurant we saw and I was shocked to see the 28 euro prices on dinner there.
After hemming and hawing on the menu three of us finally reluctantly settled on a lamb dish for 18 euros. As luck would have it, they didn’t have any more lamb so I took that time to suggest that maybe we go somewhere else.
Thankfully they were on board with the idea and I led them back to the tiny restaurant I had gone the day before for my late lunch.
As I had promised myself the day before, I had the peasant’s platter for dinner which was a mix of sauerkraut potato, sausage and pork ribs. Yummy!
The night ended with some talking and a little reorganizing of my Balkan leg over the next month or two.
Tomorrow is “hang around the city day” as I’ll be exploring the city of Ljubljana before heading to an outdoor festival and bonfire they do the night before May Day on May 1st.
I’m just happy I won’t be sporting a band-aid on my forehead…