Saturday, July 9, 2011

Super Slovenia Still

The next day began early with breakfast cooked by Andrej’s mom. A super typical (albeit old fashioned style) Slovenian breakfast. It was specific type of flour which has been boiled (and not regular white flour...). It clumps up when boiled and turns into a dough like substance that you eat with a spoon. This was piled high into one big bowl which we all shared from. Andrej said you couldn’t really even get a breakfast like this anymore in a restaurant, true countryside Slovenian breakfast. And hearty, of course, to get you ready to do some work.

We headed out again and didn’t come back for about four days. After driving a few hours (which it takes to get almost anywhere in Slovenia!) we were at Bled, a city/lake that is very popular with Slovenians and tourists in the summer. The water is crystal clear and it is in the middle of the mountains. In the middle of the lake sits a castle.

Bled Castle on the island in the middle of the lake:

Brecht making a clumsy jump in:

We swam for a bit, and me being blind as a bat, I guess I didn’t go so far from the dock. Mark was a champ and swam all the way to the island, which was probably at least a 30 minute swim or more. After a bit of walking around Andrej took us to his favorite lake in the area, Bohim, a less touristy lake with no town by it and only camping. We arrived at night and set up our tent, had a few drinks by the water, looked at the stars (can’t remember seeing stars so clear in a loooong time) and went to sleep. The next morning after getting up we took a dip in the water. Brrrr! Let me tell you, that wakes you up and refreshes you! I am thinking now to swim some in Gent, I always felt really good after getting out of the water swimming in so many places in Slovenia. This lake was even clearer than the last, and you could see all the fish swimming around. It really felt similar to Yosemite. A waterfall could be heard at least a few miles away, and it was really quiet and serene.

Morning breakfast and swim:

We then drove again for a few hours through more amazing mountains, and stopped in at one of Slovenia’s more famous attractions, the Postojna Caves. These caves are massive (about 12 or 13 miles long). There is a 5-10 minute train ride that takes you down through the caves then about an hour walk through various parts of the caves. There are three levels to the caves, of which we only walked on one. They are filled with stalagmites and stalactites of all different types and sizes. We did get to see one of the worlds only blind amphibians,which lives in the cave. They are white and sometimes called the ‘human fish’ because their skin contains no pigment. They are probably 10 or 12 inches long, and can go for months or years without eating.

On the drive to the ‘hostel’ for the evening, we stopped outside an incredibly beautiful castle. A stone castle built into a massive rock wall. Something out of Lord of the Rings.

After stopping in at the grocery store for dinner items, we arrived at the most hilarious hostel I have ever stayed at. In fact, it was basically a convent next to a church that was used for religious retreat for large groups. Andrej knew about it because he worked on some restoration ther in one of his previous jobs. Literally, this place was in the middle of nowhere. So it was 3 massive floors filled with rooms, an industrial kitchen, and we had the place to ourselves. I wouldn’t exactly say ‘hostel’ was a good description, but nonetheless it was entertaining to eat and stay in what was essentially a religious retreat place.

Repenting and stuff:

Nice setting for breakfast. Makes you feel more honest to begin your day:

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