Sunday, June 21, 2015

Slovenia's Skocjan Caves and a Pizza Volcano

The main attraction of Divača, Slovenia is that it is very close to the Skocjan Caves. I feel like I've seen a couple pretty amazing caves lately, like Mammoth Cave in Tennessee and the many awesome skeleton filled Mayan caves in Belize. So I was a bit concerned that maybe I’m now a cave master and will no longer be impressed, but I had a lot of fun in this place.

It was nice that they had free lockers for our bags, but I thought it was funny that they looked like cages at a dog pound. Or maybe a chicken coop.

One cool part of this area was the story of the early explorers that poked around in the caves in the early days. We stopped at the little museum that explained these guys’ stories as well as showed what kind of tools they were using. One thing that I especially liked was the Bavarian looking hats they would wear that had a hole in the top. The intrepid cave tamer would stick a lit candle in the hole to provide hands-free light to its wearer. Of course the hat ended up covered in candle wax which also looked kind of cool.

Once inside the cave we were told that no pictures were allowed. Well call me a bad citizen but I took a ton of pictures anyway. No flash, so no harm. I can’t say the same for my tour group mates. Flashes were going off all over the place.

One of my favorite parts was that the paths the explorers carved are still largely intact in many places. We were walking on this nice flat walkway with a handrail and safety fence and on the other side of the cave would be these rickety looking chains hand drilled into the stone.

As opposed to the tons of bats we saw in Belize we only saw a couple but I could hear a ton of them echoing in the large underground chambers. The tourist walkway was well lit so I imagine they were keeping their distance for that reason.

We took a nice little walk once outside the caves that had some nice spots as well.

By this time we were pretty exhausted but a random volunteer lady corralled us into some exhibit about the train system that used to be important in the area. It was pretty interesting but very random.

We made an Australian friend on the right there who works in Switzerland who we walked with a bit.

Back in town we squeezed in a quick lunch before our train to Ljubljana at a little pizza place called Etna. You can tell we were not super excited about the local food we’d had if we’re eating at a pizza place. Anyway I ordered the “Etna”. One of my menu survival tips is to order the thing named after the restaurant. How could that possibly be bad? One of the ingredients listed was “double crust” which I just figured meant hand tossed or deep dish or something like that. Well it arrives looking like a pizza volcano. I guess “double crust” meant crust on top and crust on the bottom. It ended up tasting fine it was just a very unique and unexpected presentation.

The place had a volcanic theme.

We mapped out where the Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons was and we were surprised when it was a bit removed from the city center. No big deal, the hotel website said that there would be a free shuttle. Well long story short there was no shuttle so I complained to corporate. The building itself was super cool though so it was too bad that they were so sheisty.

When saying "Ljubljana" I think you can just pretend the Js are Is. It took us forever to get comfortable pronouncing it. I was just calling it "Lulu" most of the time.

It was like camping without all of that nasty "outside" business.

The lobby had this giant bronze thing hanging from the ceiling swaying back and forth.

We were pretty tired and didn’t want to pay another two evil taxi people so we broke another bad tourist rule and ate at the hotel restaurant. The food there was good but it was one of those fancy places where you get one tiny little thing on a giant well presented plate.

These were what passed for bbq ribs.

This was a fun dessert. It was potato donuts with a nice caramel dipping sauce. There was a cocaine-looking line of sugar to roll it in which ended up being like homemade pop rocks. Rounding out the weird dessert drug theme was the minty sorbet on a heroin spoon.

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