|window boxes full of flowers in radovljica|
Day 4: discovering the regions history.
Early starts and more bus journeys were the order of the day as we walked around some absolutely stunning historical towns. Radovljica, Kropa and Kamna Gorica. I'm not even going to pretend I didn't butcher the pronunciation of those - Slovenian people have endless amounts of patience, but I am still very sorry.
All three of these places were on the same bus route (the Monday Hop-on-Hop-off), and mum was lamenting that we probably didn't to the towns in the right order - apparently Kropa -> Kamna Gorica -> Radovljica would have been better for her - but in the sunshine they are all gorgeous, so I really wasn't complaining.
[warning for being image heavy... but it's a travel post so that shouldn't be a surprise!]
|snaps of Kropa|
|Kropa surrounds this (quite fast flowing) rive, it's so pretty|
|part of radovljica's old town|
The History: these towns used to have a thriving ironwork industry - in Krope and Kamna Gorica especially, you can see all these intricate pieces of ironwork around the villages. There are also museums, and you can book an ironwork demonstration if you wish to see how they did it. If that doesn't interest you, then Radovljica, which is quite a bit larger than the other two, has a bee keeping museum (#savethebees) with actual bees (#savethebees), and an interesting display on the history of the region. It also has a gingerbread making place, as well as somewhere you can craft beeswax candles, but we couldn't find them.
Radovljica has two parts to the town as well, so you have to walk a little way from the bus station to get to the old town (where tourist information and all the museums are). It's well worth it though!
(Also I didn't take any photos of Kamna Gorica... I have video footage but no photos...)
|a traditional Slovenian boat - the Pletna - taking people to the island|
|one of the swan boats on lake bled|
Our last day in Bled! We decided that we'd spend the day doing things around the town, seeing as the next day we'd be travelling for a while to get to our next destination. So we went to see the castle in the morning, a few of the churches on the way back down, and then get a rowing boat to the island after lunch. It was a really chill day, the castle has beautiful views, and the island is very peaceful, even though it's a popular destination for tourists.
The heat wave was also starting to set in properly, so we had absolutely gorgeous blue skies, and the entire lake looked like it was sparkling. We did feel really sorry for the guys rowing the traditional Slovenian Pletna's across the lake - it looked like an awful lot of hard work... especially if the boats were really full. But they did look lovely on the water...
The last day for this part! It was an exciting day of buses and transfers and hearing words that send a shiver down any Brits' spine - but I'll get to that in a second. This was the day we traveled from Bled, sleepy-pretty lake protected by mountains, to Portoroz, Mediterranean beach. Via Postojna Cave, of course - because it was en route.
Our transfer journey went like this: Bled -> Radovljica -> Ljubljana -> Postojna -> Portoroz. From Ljubljana to Postojna, we were intending to take the train to speed things up a bit, but upon arriving at Ljubljana station, we learned that there was - gulp - a replacement bus service.
It wasn't actually as bad as we were thinking - the bus basically did the same journey as the train, stopping only at the stations of the places the train would have passed through, though it took a lot longer. The train station at Postojna was also a bit of a walk from the actual location of the caves (the bus station is a hell of a lot closer). Because of this, we didn't get to see the castle - which amused the lady at the ticket desk when we were going to enter the caves, apparently it's a British thing to want to see alllllll the castles(???) - but that's ok because the caves were pretty spectacular.
They're described as a 'jewel of nature', which I think is pretty fitting. They have some amazing formations, and though I felt like I was back in a KS2 geography class on the guided tour, it was nice to have some of the ones that are harder to see pointed out. It's a bit chilly down there too, compared to the roasting temperatures outside, so bring some warmer stuff if you're planning on visiting. I would suggest you do, since the underground train to get to the start of the cave formations can get up a bit speed wise, but if you don't, they do offer a rent-a-coat service.
Afterwards, it was back on the bus to travel to Portoroz, a journey that I spent a lot of napping, because long coach journeys often make me travel sick, and I find being asleep counters that quite nicely.
I'll end this part here, since it's a pretty good place to break. I definitely recommend travelling to the Bled area if you're one for scenery and walking. I'd love to go back in the winter when all the ski resorts are up and running and there's snow.
I bet it'd be like a winter wonderland
What do you guys think? Has your wanderlust been sparked?