Whew, today was truly a whirlwind (by the very, very end of the day, my phone had logged around 27 miles)! We had agreed upon a 5 AM set-off, but we ended up leaving more around 6 AM, hoping to beat the heat that was coming. This day's route has been changed for 2017, so for the first part, we followed the directions given on the EPWalkers FB group and followed the arrows that were wonderfully painted leading us up and winding through forests and such.
Life's a climb, and this morning sure was one too! But an uphill also means beautiful views, which is exactly what we were graced with starting off early in the morning. We continued making our way through tough hills and took many breaks, munching through our breakfast pack that was prepared by Bistra the night before.
The first 20 km were definitely tough, and the promise of coffee & drinks in Laze pushed us to the rest stop we needed--we arrived around noon time with sore feet & in need of a refresher! Most of the group decided to take a taxi from there to our final destination, Postojna, but Ava and I were ready to walk the final stretch, which was mainly on road. #takenoprisoners
And even though the walk was a tough one, it was made so enjoyable with each other's company :) We took a stop at a supermarket (getting stocked up on snacks), talked to some builders who refilled our water bottles (the house would take 3 years to build to then be sold by the owner who lived right next door), and continued to apply and re-apply sunscreen. We were very determined to make it to Postojna because we had heard about incredible caves there--in fact Jakob had actually visited these caves 40 years ago, and it was amazing that he was back again to see them!
Postojna is quite a big city, which was certainly surprising after coming from Bistra, an area with only 5 houses. We walked for a while until we got into our hostel around 4:15 PM, and upon finding out that the last tour for the caves was 5 PM & we would have to walk over there, we dropped our packs, changed our shirts, and went on our ways to the caves (without the packs #blessed)!! Luckily, when we reached the caves, there were still spots left on the tour, so we treated ourselves to some ice cream, while we waited for the beginning of the tour.
The tour took us through around 5.7 km of the cave--we rode on a train for the first 2 km, walked around for the next 1.7 km, and rode the train back for the last 2 km. Both Ava and I were quite tired at this point, but the caves were ~amazing~, so I'll leave some highlights from this time:
•The rocks are limestone, and the color comes from different minerals (red is iron & black is manganese)
•There are baby dragon animals they have there that have such a slow metabolism that they can go 10 years without needing food. They also don't use their eyes, so after the first 4 years, the skin grows over them
•You can get quite creative with what the rocks looked like: piranhas, blob fish, angry monsters, and my personal favorite, cauliflower
•When the guy first discovered the cave, it was completely pitch black (our tour guide, Greg, showed us what it was like and damn, I would not have wanted to be him)
•The caves were exactly 9.4 degrees Celsius! I rented a coat from them, but I suggest if you go, bring some warm wear with you!!
•There is a part of the cave called the Spaghetti Chamber. Bravo!
It was truly an incredible sight, and I could see why people come from all over the world to see the caves! We walked back to our hostel, joking the entire way (semi in delusion from tiredness), getting back around 7 PM, upon which Fly & I ran back out to the Spur to pick up food for dinner that night and breakfast & lunch for the day after! I made myself some tomatoes & eggs & veggies, and we got sandwich materials for the following day. Since we were staying in a hostel, we met Baske, a geologist & professor, as we were eating in the kitchen, and he shared with us that he was headed to Trieste (so perhaps we shall see him!).
A long, long day, but honestly, lots of fun & lots had happened. We have the luxury of sleeping in until 6 AM tomorrow (what!! Can you believe it?!) since it is a shorter day, which all together is a blessing. Always thankful for new friends & old, and it's hard to believe there's only 3 days left WHAT!
PS Sorry for not taking you through the time table, I thought I would revert back to this style of writing!