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Slovenia, The Tour Begins!

Day of Recovery

The day after my hellacious journey to get here my incredible friend, Kaja, had the surperb idea of using our first day of exploring the spectacular countryside at the SPA!!! Oh heaven!! But first the berry harvest…

Mulberries, Strawberries, cherries oh my!!!

Mulberries, Strawberries, cherries oh my!!!


The view from Kaja's balcony with harvest

The view from Kaja’s balcony with harvest

An entire mid-morning to afternoon of relaxing, dip in the pool, more relaxing, sit in the hot tub, pizza, more relaxing. I almost felt human by the time we got home. Tomorrow is the start of some serious adventure…

Off To The Lakes

GoPro selfie, Kaja and I.

GoPro selfie, Kaja and I.

Setting off early we headed about 2 hours away to Lake Bled, a famous lake and tourist attraction. I had heard great things about Lake Bled from other visitors and from Slovenians, it was the place they all said to visit.

Castle at Lake Bled

Castle at Lake Bled

Well, it was beautiful, but so touristy, the water didn’t look very clean and there was no real place you could swim.

We had hoped to get one of the little boats over to the island, the only island in all of Slovenia.

Lake Bled Island

Lake Bled Island

When we first asked the guy he said he could not take only two people, so we waited around about 15min until four showed up, that’s when he expanded his earlier statement telling the family of four that he needed 12 people before it would row to the island. That kind of pissed us off, because instead of being clear with us he just dismissed us and made a rude comment to his colleague as we walked away.

The boats to the island

The boats to the island

Put us off the boats and Lake Bled completely… well ok I would come back for the local delicacy, a custard cake with cream and flaky pastry called kremšnita!

mmmm yummy.

mmmm yummy.

This Is More Like It

And then we arrived at Bohinj Lake…

Lake Bohinj.

Lake Bohinj.

It was everything I had imagined Lake Bled to be, stunning scenery, pebble beaches, water crystal clear and beautiful shades of blue and green. I just had to stop a moment and take it all in..

.

.

We found a little spot to settle in and watched the ducks forage and the trout come right up to the shallows.

ducks.

ducks.


After a short nap to work off the jetlag, I decided it was time for a dip. The water was refreshing to say the least, and absolutely perfect, the little trout would come around your feet looking for food that might have been stirred up by your movement. I could have stayed there all day, heck for a few days!
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0110.
But all too soon it was time to explore our next destination, the falls.

Savica Waterfall

You have to walk up 500 steps to get to the waterfall, which in the heat made a rather exhausting climb. But it was well worth it, just stunning. The walk is through the forest with views and rest stops along the way.

Kaja on step number 422

Kaja on step number 422


The View

The View

Finally you reach the top and see the waterfall running straight out of the rocks, no wonder it is called the Source of Life. All you can do is take photos and stare in wonder… as you get your breath back!

Savica Waterfall

Savica Waterfall

Then about face and head back through the forest, much easier and faster going down.

A few facts:
Height above sea level – at base 894meters / 2933feet
Two part waterfall in the shape of the letter A
Height of large waterfall – 78meters / 255feet
Height of small waterfall – 25meters / 82feet
Capacity – permanent / rarely runs dry

I march to drink the Savica
The cold source of enchanting songs
To toast the master of songsters
May I enjoy in this drink!

~ Valentin Vodnik (Slovenian poet/journalist/teacher/translator and priest)

Up Up and Away

Finally we set off to take the cable car up Vogel, a ride up 1535meters / 5036feet. Absolutely jaw-droppingly sensational and slightly terrifying at the same time.

View from Vogel

View from Vogel

We didn’t stay up as long as we planned as the little restaurant at the top was only serving about 3 items on the menu, so after a couple of pics we headed back down.

views

views


Friends at the top!

Friends at the top!


Traditional

Along the way home we stopped at a place serving traditional food, Kaja had the mushroom soup, gobova juha, which I declined due to the heat but which was incredibly delicious. I opted for the carnivorous version of 2 Slovenian sausages, kranjska klobasa (a National Trademark – no other countries can use another recipe and call the product by this name, only the Slovenian recipe is the true one), some sauerkraut, which was very sauer and a side of mash potatoes mixed with red beans. All very… heavy, perfect for a cool winter’s eve, but in the middle of summer at 5pm, shoo!

Home and sleep in preparation for adventure DAY 2!!!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Slovenia, Travel

 

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Bats, Caves and Waterfalls

16th November 2011

Taekwondo at Sunrise

I had promised Gaurub that I would be sure to find him and the Taekwondo group this morning, so just before 6am I open my eyes, heard the rain pissing down, closed my eyes and went back to sleep. Since the kids practice in the open I assumed they would cancel class. Thank heavens I went back to sleep, ’cause class was cancelled and wandering around in the dark and rain would not have been a good wake up. Will have to try tomorrow.

I only rolled out of bed 4 hrs later at 10am. Went to my usual breakfast and wifi spot ordered my usual and got some work done. Then headed over to Laxmi’s as it was a day for sightseeing, not much improvement weather wise, but am at the point where I don’t care.

Sightseeing with Lamsal

Lamsal, Laxmi’s husband, had been trying to convince me to go sightseeing for a few days offering his services. I like Lamsal, but he can get a bit insistent and would never give me a price on how much for a few hours. One of those things that really gets irritating after a while, as you don’t want to insult him but you can’t afford to give a huge amount. On some advice on a friend just give what seems about right and if he complains its his own fault.

At 2pm I hopped onto the back of his motorbike and headed off towards Mahendra Cave.I must admit after spending those couple of days in Kathmandu riding with Buddha on his huge off road bike, weaving through the traffic of that crazy city, sitting on the back of this smaller one with a driver who may not be as confident as my mate, got a little nerve racking at times. But all in all he was a safe driver and I soon learnt how not to fly off the back when we hit a bump or a hole.

Situated about 20min by bus north of Pokhara Mahendra Cave is a stunning spot to explore. They have lights that guide you in, but it is a valuable idea to take a flashlight with you as there are often power cuts, and it can get very dark down there. Discovered in the 1950’s it is a natural limestone caves with some interesting formations. Unfortunately, unsupervised visitors have begun damaging these and also scaring the rare bat species that reside in the cave.

When you get to the center of the gave there is a Hindu Priest who will bless you dot your forehead with red paste for a few dollar donation. I think he was so excited to see a foreigner that he used up all his English words in a span of 1 minute, it was very amusing. As you exit the cave you can leave using the common big entrance or veer off to the right and go through a tight maze to squeeze out through a small opening. I opted for the entrance to exit.

As we left I was in awe of numerous birds in the sky, large birds. I tried to identify them but could only get as far as some kind of raptor species, maybe a kite or hawk. But truly spectacular to watch them ride the thermals and then rest in the tree right above me before riding the thermals again.

The entire experience was great, however, it turned out to be a vacation day for all Hindus so the place was overrun by local highschool kids, in any country that can be annoying when you simply want to take in the natural beauty of a location. But still fascinating.

Exiting Mahendra Cave with my blessed dot on the forehead

Bat cave

Our next stop was Bat cave and it was even more spectacular, it helped that we seemed to have timed it in between crowds of kids. We bumped into an older lady who I had seen in Mahendra cave, her guide was a monk and spoke almost no English, but had a great smile. He seemed relieved when we helped her out, in her very apparent exasperated state of dealing with limestone pitfalls and a guide who just didn’t understand how she wanted her picture taken. It took us a bit of an awkward trek over the limestone, slippery from water, before finding the main chamber of bats. There were thousands and it was truly incredible.

Bats!


A closer view of the little darlings

As we were enjoying staring at the little critters, those wonderful children arrived and were very noisy. We could see the bats getting a little spooked and once we “explained” to the kids that they were about to have a thousand bats come flying out of the cave after being disturbed, they quickly quietened down.. I am not sure for how long. Kids are the same no matter where you are!

I bought Lamsal and I a soda and we sat down and relaxed watching a local family attempt to crawl out of the adventurous exit of this cave. I think one of the dads should have taken the larger, easy exit.

Leaving the caves behind, Lamsal took me to the largest Hindu Temple in Pokhara. He tried to explain some things about Hinduism and about the different gods, but I think that is a subject that needs a common language, as I got confused very quickly and just ended up nodding and smilling (an action that has got me out of a lot of difficult situations).

Devis Falls

The final stop of the tour was Devis Falls. This amazing spectacle of mother nature is a gushing waterfall that has cut deep into the rocks and disappears underground before emerging on the other side. With all the rain it certainly lived up to all the hype. It was spectacular.

Devis Falls

The only bummer was Lamsal trying to be the best possible tour guide he could be, which involved in him man handling me into different locations that he felt gave the best view. As much as I appreciated this, the more he did it the less I wanted to stay and look. Never a good combination.

The story of how the falls got its name, however, is a very sad one. It is said that a Swiss couple were swimming in Fewa lake in 1961, when the sluice gate was either opened or overflowed, washing the wife down into the river and ultimately over the falls. They never found her. Her name was Mrs. Davis.

Frustrations

When we got back I went to pay Lamsal. He continued to insist I pay what ever I would like, and since I was also mildly irritated at having been “tour guided” in the annoying sense of the word, and his deferral of discussing anything in the terms of payment, I offered him the equivalent of about $5. He looked at it and said “is this for gas?”. I just rolled my eyes and gave him some more as he mumbled something about how much it would have cost to take a taxi. I know its a cultural thing, but seriously, he wouldn’t give me any hint of how much to pay not even trying to bargain or anything. That’s just downright irritating.

I decided to skip dinner with the family that night and treat myself to a night out. I had lasagne at my favorite Fewa restaurant, which was delicious but ridiculously rich, could barely eat half. My “friend” from the other night, a stray dog, saw me immediately and came over to sit and stair into my very soul. I could only ignore him for so long. When he had finished my garlic bread and saw that I only had a drink left on the table he left, typical male!

Homework

I was back in the room by 8pm, man my nights out are pathetic, when there was a knock on the door. Garaub was there asking if I could help him with his homework. I guess “when you got skills”, as he so kindly put it, you got to help out as much as you can. After homework I headed back and watched movies… Until power went out.

Tomorrow will be my last day in Pokhara as I have decided to return to Kathmandu and the friends I made there.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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