Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Underground beauty

Surrounded by dripstones and bats

I have to admit that I didn't know which title I could give to this article to make it more appealing, because this attraction certainly and undoubtedly deserves it. When visiting our cave in Postojna, prepare for a cooling of 8-10°C. In fact, you're lucky because the Postojna Cave is open all year long without exception. During the season between May and October you have the opportunity to see it hourly. Within an hour and a half you can see 5 km of its interior, some of which on your feet and some of it with a cave train. The cave can also be visited by disabled people and children in strollers. Fortunately, there is never bad weather in the underground. The more daring ones have an option to visit 3 underground caves of the Postojna Cave system in the company of experienced cave guides using a rope in 2-4 hours with the caving equipment and a helmet.
Photo: Iztok Medja,
This year the cave is celebrating 200 years since the cave lamplighter Luka Čeč has discovered its most beautiful parts and for this purpose there will be several events and celebrations. Its greatness already saw more than 38 million visitors. They also brought the news about the cave across the globe. They reward every millionth visitor so keep your fingers crossed! The Postojna Cave is also known as the longest tourist cave in Europe as it has 24 km of underground routes.

People in the past believed that a dragon lives in the Postojna Cave. As you know olms live in the cave and when they floated to the surface in the course of strong currents, people were convinced that they are the dragons' offspring. They have no eyes, they live for more than 100 years and can live without food for up to 8 years. Two years ago 21 olms came out of the eggs in the cave but their reproduction is still considered a secret.

Photo: Dragan Arrigler,
The cave was fun even in the 19th century and it was a privilege to visit it at that time. In the visitor's book where he talks about the cave he says that it was already illuminated at that time as if there were stories from the Thousand and One Nights going on there. Before 1900, the cave had permanent electrical lighting. Nowadays, concerts are taking place in the cave. It was in this cave in the world that a new science was born - biospeleology that studies life in caves. Our cave system is considered one of the most diverse on Earth.

Photo: Iztok Medja,
Thomas Cook also included it's visit in his first journey around the world. He said that it was worth making a trip from Venice to Postojna for this world gem.

Photo: Iztok Medja,
After an interesting and mysterious day in the limestone and water landscape you can wake up fresh in a new day at the Proteus hostel in the centre of Postojna around which the park is planted. The dormitory building where the hostel is located, is 800 meters away from the Postojna Cave and 500 meters from the main bus station. The hostel makes sure to organize colourful events for which you have to ask in advance. If you decide to be their guest, remember that with the HI Slovenia membership card you get 10% off

You'll be amazed at the special features of the Karst world and its mystery. In the upcoming summer days the cave visit is perfect for a pleasant refreshment. While you're at it also take a look at the dragon's offspring. What lovely creatures our amazing planet Earth creates, right? Let's take care of our mother Earth!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Among the alpine peaks

Floating in the air

Have you ever glided freely through the air looking at the beautiful mountains around you? Have you ever seen the world as birds do? In Bovec you'll find many adrenalin junkies and this excitement gives them the feeling that they're alive. That way they feel the world around them more genuinely. Fly now in tandem with the outdoor agency Avantura. Their take-offs are from Mangart, Stol, Kuk and Kanin. They have already presented nature from the air to many satisfied customers who still come back to fly with them. HI cards holders have a 10% discount on a tandem paragliding flight.

For relaxation after the experience in the air treat yourself to a hand massage for which you should ask in advance. You can also enjoy in a jacuzzi and in Finnish sauna. They also connect you to restaurants in Bovec so that everyone can find something for themselves. Don't worry, they take care of all your senses!

To fill up your batteries after an exciting and intense sports adventure go to the hostel Bovec with free wi-fi. You'll find it in more than a century old but now completely renovated house in a traditional provincial style. So that your legs won't get tired too much, it'll take you to the hostel only 5 minutes from the main square or from the bus station. And one reminder, in the Bovec hostel with the HI membership card you get a 10% discount on the overnight accommodation!

Who hasn't looked yet in the sky and wished being like a bird completely carefree and weightless? At least for that time in the air, you'll put your problems off your chest and feel only that moment. All in all, this moment is the only one we have and which really counts. The past has passed and the future hasn't come yet.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Underworld of the only liquid metal on the planet

Can you guess what I mean?
Walk through the Anthony's main road which is the entrance for visitors to the underground of the mercury mine in Idrija. I probably don't need to say specifically that the mine is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In front of the pit, there is a large Šelštev building which used to be a calling room which means that they checked the presence of the miners there, made a short prayer with a plea for a happy and safe work after which they were given their daily assignments. It included, among other things apartments from the employees in the mine. The famous Slovenian engineer Stanko Bloudek was born there.

Foto: Jani Peternelj, Fototeka:
Antony's Main Road from the year 1500 is one of the oldest preserved entrances into a mine on the oldest continent and thus also the oldest part of the mine in Idrija. Don't be afraid if the dwarf Perkmandlc is in the cave! He liked to dig ore, tease the miners and sometimes he even showed the miners where to dig ore. Children will learn about the various mining professions here and with a bit of luck they can also find the Perkmandlc's treasure. You'll witness the stories of the hard life of miners and you can see a unique underground chapel. There are also statues as miners' patron saints: St. Barbara and St. Ahatius. With the HI card you're entitled to a student discount.

Prepare to walk about 1200 m on a pleasant 13°C in one hour. When buying a combined ticket for the Anthony's main road and the Hg smelting plant, you get an 11% discount.

Foto: Samo Trebižan, Fototeka:
If I talk about mercury so much, I can tell you more about it, right? They used it for all sorts of things. From extracting gold and treating diseases to measuring the temperature and predicting weather. Working with it brought us Nobel prize winners. The experiments with it gave us the basis of modern chemistry and we're using it in space exploration. Nowadays due to its toxic characteristics it's used less. Through the centuries combustion engineers in Idrija also refined the burning furnaces for the smelting of ore. With the help of experiments and interactive games, you'll learn more about the importance and usage of liquid metal in many areas of life to this day.

Foto: M. Lenarčič, Fototeka:
To best anchor the freshly gained museum knowledge in your heads and to unwind, I recommend staying in the Idrija hostel. It lies atop a hill above the city where a bed awaits you for only 9€/night. The closest cafes to seize the day are only 5 minutes away by foot. They offer you free bed linen, a towel, as well as free internet and parking. If booked in advance, an all-inclusive package is a great deal. If you decide to become their guest, remember that you get a 10% discount with the HI Slovenia membership card. 

As far as I know my closest contact with mercury was when I smashed the thermometer with it. I got really scared about that because it's poisonous but fortunately I quickly got rid of the mess. Who doesn't have at least a bit of it in the dental amalgam fillings, for which some people say harm us while others say they're safe. If my dentist didn't really know how to answer to this question, who can?