Spent an hour in the hotel pool and jacuzzi in Bled and then, after a cooked breakfast during which I decided to head for Italy (I fancy a pizza by the sea), I checked out of the hotel and set a course for Trieste albeit via the Postojnska Caves. The total journey time to Trieste is only about 1.5 hours from Bled and the Caves are very much en route.
The Postojnska Jama as it is known in Slovenia is a 100,000 year old cave system that has been carved out by the Pivka River and which currently comprise 25km of underground caverns, halls and passages (more are being discovered every year). They are without a doubt one of the most incredible natural wonders I have ever seen.
Over a period of about 1.5 hours an English speaking tour guide took me and others through some 5 km of the caves (that was about 3 km on a mini-train and 2 km walking) which included the “Great Mountain Cavern”, the Russian Bridge which led to the “Hall of Beautiful Caves” (i.e. the Spaghetti, White and Red Caves), the “Winter Hall” (which includes the Snow White Stalagmite) and the Planina Cave (where the Pivka surfaces before going back underground and emerging elsewhere in Slovenia as the Unica River). There was also a “Concert Hall” (which is somewhere in or between the Winter Hall and the Plancina Cave – Had I bought a programme, I could have told you precisely where it sits) which is used for various musical performances and can house 10,000+ people. Enough words…
The entrance to the caves and a typical path through the system
Not pleased with the above photo but I include it because it provides an indication as to the size of some of the caves
Stalactites hang down (usually) from the ceiling
Stalactites can take various forms including the spaghetti type at the top of the above left hand photo or the curtain type on the right
Stalagmites rise from the ground. The one in the right hand photo is known as Snow White
The photo on the left includes stalacmites and stalagtites. When they meet as in the right hand photo they form sometimes giant pillars but it doesn’t happen overnight. The ‘Mites and ‘Tites grow at the rate of about a millimetre every 10 years.
The cave system is home to 100+ species, one of the largest (at 25 to 30 cms) and most bizarre being the Olm or proteus anguinus, otherwise known as the “Human Fish”. It is anaemic in appearance with no eyes (but enhanced hearing) and a different number of toes (back and front). I suppose there could be humans like that but not too many. On average, they live for between 60 and 70 years but have been known to last 100+ years. What is remarkable is that they can go 10 years without eating (by slowing down their metabolic rate).
Heading on to Trieste now but that was a good 1.5 hours even if it did cost 25 euros.
ps It’s not my photo, but that is a proteus.