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Eurotrashed 2007: Eastern Europe part 2

My Eastern Europe trip just got extended because I had the wrong return date in my head!

Slovenia

I got an early start from the hostel and walked down to the train station. My first stop would be Vienna just an hour away in Austria. At 10:57 my train to Slovenia pulled away from Wien (Vienna) Südbahnhof. It is a 6½ hour trip to Ljubljana with one change of train. It was a very beautiful ride. From Ljubljana I went to Bled, a well known mountain town. I can play tourist in the city anytime but I'd better get to the mountains as soon as possible.

Bled: 7 - 11 October

Bled Castle and the Julian Alps

This town lives up to its reputation. Look for yourself: Beautiful Bled. Vintgar Gorge was a special treat. Traveller's Haven hostel has some really nice mountain bikes to loan people staying here and I borrowed one to bike over to the gorge. I had heard that it was good but didn't realize just how good. Wow. The pictures do not do it justice.

As of this moment I'm not sure if I will be climbing Triglav or not. About two weeks ago they had some bad weather and there may be a bit too much snow for what I am equipped to handle and I can't rent everything I'd like to have. Hmmm.


After walking around Bled Lake on Tuesday and getting more pictures, I joined seven others and went canyoning in nearby Jereka. It was a pretty easy trip but the guide let me do all my own rappels instead of being lowered so that was really cool. It was fun and the wetsuit was amazingly warm. I barely felt anything in the chill water. I took along my little waterproof camera and got a few shots. If the embedded movie makes you curious there some blurry canyoning photos available too.

By the way I would like to make a special mention of this great hostel, Traveller's Haven, in Bled. It is near the bus stop, grocery store, below the castle, and near best pizza place in town. Being only two months old they aren't in any books yet so I want to help them out with a mention right here. It is spotless and new and the owners are friendly and able to help out with all sorts of questions. Having such easy access to a former mountain guide is great if that is your thing too.

On an unrelated note, I ordered a fig and herring pizza last night. It sounded so bizarre that I simply had to try it. As it turns out the fish wasn't herring but anchovies and the pizza was unusual but good.

Thursday morning I discovered a very startling fact (nothing to do with digesting a fig and anchovie pizza). My return flight isn't on the 17th like I thought but the 24th! Whoa! I have a whole extra week so I spent a lot of time thinking of my schedule and emailing a few people that were expecting me quite soon. I also did what might possibly be my last laundry load if I stretch things a bit.

Triglav National Park

Once I had some dry pants I headed out with a nice Aussie girl from the hostel to Bohinj which is a small town and lake within Triglav National Park. It has quite the reputation as a beautiful spot and we agree. The bus ride was about 40 minutes and we got off near a gondola at the Vogel ski area which whisked us up to 1500 meters. There were some clouds but not much haze so we had wonderful veiws in all directions but most especially across the valley into the heart of the Park. Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak, was shrouded in clouds but the rest of the peaks were clear. We didn't have a tremendous amount of time so abandoned our plans to walk around the lake. With more time it would have been nice to hike out to a couple nearby summits.


Ljubljana: 12 - 13 October

Ljubljana

I finally stopped being wishy-washy about Triglav and left Bled. I'll be back someday to have a go at the summit when things are more in my favor. For now I headed off to the capital city which I had heard great things about.

I'm staying in Alibi Hostel which is right in the center of the Old Town "action" under the castle.First impressions are that this is a really interesting little city. There aren't really any big sites. The beauty is in the sidewalk cafes and unique little bars in the historic center. The castle looms over everything from the hilltop. I went out in the evening for a stroll and found a nice little restaurant. Because Italy is so close it has a huge influence on the food in Slovenia. That's why I've visited so many pizzarias lately. It is a welcome change after so many pork and dumpling meals! Anyway I found a nice little place and had some garlic soup and black risotto (that would be squid ink) all washed down with some ice water because I was several quarts low and needed to rehydrate. Here is the first set of Ljubljana night photos. Tomorrow morning I'll take a few more before moving to the coast.


Piran: 13 - 14 October

Piran

First I took a few more pics in Ljubljana before going to the bus station. Then I spent most of the next three hours sleeping against my backpack as the bus drove toward the coast. When I awoke what I saw there thrilled me: Piran photos. What an incredible addition to this trip. I have not been to a town like Piran before on this trip, or any trip for that matter. It seemed to me to be what I should expect from coastal village Italy. I love it and could not have arrived at a better time. This Saturday is their annual celebration of things Piranian although I did not know it immediately. After moving into the local chapter of Alibi Hostel I made my rounds through the streets and arrived back in the main square where there was music, free food and wine, and many people. The tourist season has ended so it was mostly locals although with the border so close there were still many pushy Italians. I hope all Italians are not like the ones I experienced here. Back to the food... I tried all sorts of things that I can't name. Most of it was seafood since we are on the coast here but there were also various sweets that I tried as well. All of it was great except for the weird wine-bread soup. I don't know what it is called but the soup seemed to be just warm red wine with bread floating in it. It tasted just like you would think.

After leaving Piran I stopped briefly at nearby Koper. Really I could have passed on it. There wasn't much to see and it sort of played havoc with my plans to get to the Karst (cave) region of Slovenia. Good thing for taxi drivers willing to bargan.


Slovenian Karst: 14 - 15 October

Predjama Castle

I began my foray into the karst region on the trip down from Ljubljana to Piran but I only saw the terrain from the coach window. Now was the time to become a little more familiar. My adventures began with Škocjan Cave on Sunday and continued with Postojna Cave and Predjama Cave & Castle on Monday. In that first one I wasn't able to take photos inside and got busted when I tried. :) However, let me assure you that it was VAST. Wow.

Perhaps surprisingly the highlight of my karst adventure was the last event. Look at my Predjama Castle photos and tell me that a castle coming out of a cave isn't cool.


Continued

Eastern Europe Continued.



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eastern-europe2.php last modified on 25 January 2017 10:59:34 UTC