Slovenia (Skocjan and Bled)

03 June 2013

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Standing just outside the entrance of Skocjan Caves…unfortunately no photos were allowed to be taken inside the caverns.

Holy canoly!!! Slovenia is beautiful…I haven’t been to Switzerland, but I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than this. We took the train from Zagreb to Ljubljana early this morning and just connected to our train heading to Divaca, the station from which we will start our skocjan cave adventure! These are some of the best caves in Europe, and some of the most amazing in the world! It has been fun to visit different cities around Europe, and now we get to experience some natural phenomenons around Europe as well. It has been quite the adventure and I wish I could stay here the rest of my life and just live on the trains. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the trains. They are absolutely incredible…I have seen some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen out of my train window.

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Giant bread and Giant nutella. There is nothing better!

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A view inside the train, a place we spend a lot of time.

Sometimes I feel like I came straight out the Harry Potter movies. If you think the train rides they take to Hogwarts are beautiful, you have NO idea what beautiful is… We are passing right next to the Alps and it is incredible. There is just something that cannot be described about the beauty of nature. God’s creativity trumps everything we could ever imagine of creating. For this reason, we should take advantage of the inspiration that nature provides to us. As a people with cognitive creative abilities, we should look to the beauty and simplicity of nature to inspire and invigorate our own minds to create beautiful things in this world.

The feeling of peace cannot be felt as strong anywhere else as it is felt in the presence of breathtaking Mother Earth. Growing up in Northern Idaho made me almost immune to the beauty of the earth, because everyday I was surrounded by it. As I have ventured out and traveled in places far from my home, I have discovered that I have some of the most breathtaking views right in my backyard. Hells Canyon, Yellowstone, the Snake River canyon, numerous national parks and forests, Canada a mere few hours away… I have such easy access to some of the most beautiful places in Norther Idaho. I have been to many of them, but as I travel through the beautiful mountainous region of Slovenia I realize that I really love the feeling that nature brings to me. It is so relaxing to breath crisp fresh air and smell the sweet scented trees. There are some amazing cities, but even the most beautiful cities in the world do not compare to the beauty of Earth.

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Inside the caves looking out…

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A map of the area surrounding the caves.

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Stalactites hanging from the roof of the caverns.

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Lift that takes you up the mountain after the journey through the caves.

This morning we went to The Skocjan caves in Park Skocjanske Jame just outside of Divaca, which is a city about am hour and a half southwest of Ljubljana Slovenia. They were absolutely beautiful and it was incredible to see such ornate stalagmite and stalactite formations rising from the ground and ceilings. For those of you who are not avid geology people like myself, stalagmites are mineral formations that rise out of the ground and are usually quite large. Stalactites are smaller mineral formations that hang from the ceiling and collect water that drips slowly from their tips. These stunning natural phenomenons grow only 1 cm every 150 years…crazy and incredible at the same time. We entered the cave through a 300 meter man made tunnel that then led us into the first series of caves known as the silent chambers. They are called this due to the silence that is heard and felt as people walk through the limestone passageways. As you go further into the cave you enter the second part of the caves where the River Reka enters into the ornate passageway and creates a thundering sound among the acoustic cave chambers. The lack of this sound in the previous caves is what gave them the nick-name of the silent caves. It was absolutely breathtaking to walk through such an amazing underground formation and ponder on how and why it formed the way it did. The caves are filled with a variety of lifeforms that are only existent in that area. Bats live in the high corners of the caves, and at one point our guide even pointed out a giant pile of bat dung…it was actually quite interesting and quite high!

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Since no photos were allowed, the next best things is google images! I love google…

Skocjan caves are included on the UNESCO world heritage list due to their richness in both biodiversity and archaeological heritage. They are more than just a beautiful series of underground passageways, they are a unique view into the beauty of the earth. As one of the deepest underground canyons, at one point nearly 150 meters underground, the Skocjan caves are simply astounding and should be added to everyone’s Europe itinerary.

When we were in a chamber known as Organ chamber due to a huge rock formation that has the shape and acoustics of a grand organ, our tour guide asked for someone to sing so that we could all hear the acoustics of the cave. Steven belted our Phantom of the Opera so fast we were all stunned, and it he sang it absolutely beautifully. Everyone went silent the second he opened his mouth, and the chamber rang from top to bottom with flawless sound. It was incredible. Now every time I enter a cave I am going to have the Phantom of the Opera song ringing through my head, which I am completely fine with of course…thank you Steven!

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Behind me is the Bled Castle up on the hill, and behind that the ALPS!!! If only it were winter and I had my skies!

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The island that we rowed our little boat to…

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Our cute little boat.

We arrived back in Ljubljana and headed to Bled on the next train that was passing through. Ljubljana, despite the fact that it is the capital of Slovenia, has a very very small train station. When we arrived in Bled, we couldn’t even find the train station, come to find out their was only an information desk in the station and it closed at 5. Since that didn’t do us much good, we just taxied on over to the lake where the real beauty of Bled is held. When we reached the lake, I felt like I was already in Switzerland. It is a lakeside town with all the commodities a resort needs plus some. It has a ski hill, an island with a beautiful old church, a stunning ancient castle on a cliff overhanging the lake, a view of the alps, swans and ducks prancing around the lake’s shore, and many great-smelling restaurants. We rented a boat and spent a couple hours spinning around in the majestic lake waters. It was so fun, and really nice to be able to relax a bit. Today was a great day because we got to see some of the naturalist wonders of Europe…which were absolutely incredible.

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Sometimes I get a little crazy…

I forgot to mention something about the Czech that I am going to speak about now…mostly for my mother’s laugh…When we were in Prague there was a young group of boys there who kept looking over at our little group of four. Too make a long story short they wanted a picture with me, and it took me a while to figure out what they were asking for. I thought it was funny because I remember my mom telling me stories about when she traveled through Europe and all the local boys would ask to take pictures with her and her blue eyes. Obviously back then, not too far back only 25 years, there were probably less American girls touring around and there blue eyes were more popular among the locals. It just made me laugh when these boys asked for my picture…I envisioned myself as my mother 25 years ago.

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