Thursday, December 29, 2016

Predjama Castle and Postojnska Cave

Our first stop today was the police station.  We had to register as visitors to Slovenia.  This happens all the time when traveling internationally but generally your hotel takes care of it, but since we are staying with a friend, we all went to the station today to register.  It was really easy and we were in and out in about 30 minutes.  We handed over ids and passports, the officer recorded it in his book and off we went.

We were going to spend the day in Ljubljana but we decided to change our plans and out of city since the registration process hadn't taken too long.  Ben woke me up at 5:30 so I ended up sleeping through the drive, but we ended up at Predjama Castle.  It is a castle built into a cave.  It had several levels and was built right into the side of the mountain and into the cave behind it.  We felt first hand how miserable it would have been to live there.  It was cold while we were there and most of the kids were not impressed.  It was really a neat building though.  A nice Robin Hood-style story always makes things more interesting too.

Cave and Castle as one!

After the castle we went to Postojnska Cave.  I like caves but wasn't expecting much above and beyond what we've seen in the states.  There is a train ride involved so I have been talking this up to the kids to get them excited.  Well, this was quite the experience.  To start us off, we ate our squished pb & j sandwiches in the cafeteria.  It was nice to be warm.  Then we walked up to the cave entrance and found a little bit of Christmas still hanging about.  There were market stalls selling handcrafted wares, various musical groups sharing their talents and best of all, a large fire in the middle of it all.

The fire is in front of the kids.  So toasty warm!

We had wait a bit before our tickets were called and the kids admired some sheep penned just outside the cave entrance.  We boarded our train and started our journey into the bowels of the cave.  5 kilometers are open for touring.  3.5 kilometers are viewed by train and the remaining 1.5 are walked.  The train isn't the kid train at the amusement park.  It's basically benches secured to a moving flatbed and moving at about 12 mph through the cave.  The cave was well lit so we were able to see a lot.  Hyrum was able to get some awesome cave pictures.

This week there is also a Live Nativity going on for a couple hours everyday.  We decided to do that tour and I am so glad we did.  They did an excellent job, demonstrating scenes like Zacharias being told of John's birth, the Angel visiting Joseph and telling him to marry Mary.   There was music and light throughout the cave.  The last scene was of the birth of Christ.  It was beautiful.  There was a women dressed as an angel who sang Silent Night in Slovenian as well as English.  It was a special event and I am glad we were able to make it work.  All of our kids really enjoyed it as well, even the ones who aren't into caves.  

We decided to head to Italy for some dinner.  I asked the kids what kind of dinner we should have and it was unanimous "Pizza".  So off we went.  Thankfully Italy was only about 45 minutes away.  That brings our country count up to 10.  We also started playing the license plate game with European countries.  We're up to 23.  It's been a couple of good days.  The kids were almost begging for bed tonight.  Tomorrow we are going to check out Ljubljana.

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