Our trip to Slovenia was organized through a company called Slotrips, more accurately a collaboration between Katy and Domen from Slotrips. They offered a great mix of self-guided and guided itineraries. We’re still mid-trip but I can safely say that they are one of the better organized companies we have ever traveled with.
A key part of this is the app that they have you download, functionally named Trip Plans. Once you log in, the app was pre-populated with our full itinerary and helpful tips like cycling and hiking directions, in addition to restaurant recommendations along the way.
This started right from the beginning with clear directions on where to meet our guide Bostjan and a picture of the vehicle we were looking for. Sure, instructions to get in a white panel van found in the parking lot behind a bus station might seem like cause for concern in another situation, but in this case it was quite handy.
You should really go to Majerija
After meeting Bostjan, we hit the road to make our way to Ljubljana. Before we even made it to Ljubljana, our trip started on the right foot with lunch at Restaurant Majerija in the Vipava Valley.
Katy came across Majerija while looking for unique wineries with hotel and restaurant offerings. While we didn’t end up staying overnight in one of the underground suites, the rave reviews lead us to make a lunch reservation we didn’t regret.
The meal wasn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but the quality was great. The menu featured all local, fresh ingredients prepared in creative ways. In fact, the menu was such that we weren’t sure what to try and ended up going for a “surprise tasting meal”. Essentially you tell them how many courses and they bring food. Just because we’re on holiday, we also opted for the wine pairings. Delicious.
Full of great food and wine (fortunately Bostjan was driving) our next stop was the Postojna Cave, a 24km long karst cave system that has been a tourist destination for over 125 years.
A visit to the caves starts with a 2km underground ride on a small train, where the first thing you’ll notice, if you visit in summer, is the drastic change in temperature. According to the readout in the car, the temperature was about 34 C outside. Inside the cave it is always 8-10 C. Fortunately, Bostjan had warned us and we packed sweaters.
From the end of the train, there is a guided walking tour that takes you through another 2km of the cave.
A few other tidbits of interest:
- The cave is actually just one of 5 caves in a larger system
- The 500m closest to the entrance are blackened from when 1,000 barrels of airplane fuel that was being stored by the Nazi army during WWII was burned by Slovenian partisans who snuck in the back of the cave from one of the others in the system.
- The cave is home to ‘human fish’ a kind of blind newt that I had never heard of, but Ella was able to name from a picture on a sign at the entrance. Thank you Kratt Brothers.
The scale of the caves was amazing and not something that can be captured in a photo, though I obviously tried anyway.
Our next stop was interesting, Predjama Castle. Built into a 123 meter cave, it was home to the “Slovenian Robin Hood”, aka Erazem of Predjama.
It was really fascinating to see how the castle had been built using the caves and rock face as part of its natural defence. The castle has a clear and rather succinct hand-held audio guide and it makes for a pretty efficient visit.
We also learned that Ella does not enjoy torture, so that was a bonus.
Arrival in Ljubljana
From the castle we made our way to Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, our home for the next two nights. After a busy day it was already getting a little late so we dropped our bags and made our way to one of the many restaurants along the river to get some food before getting Ella (and ourselves) to bed.
Up next we’ll explore Ljubljana by bike and by foot.