Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Last Day in Slovenia

We dragged ourselves out of the apartment around 10:30 this morning.  It was nice having a lazy day. That was the laziest part, however.  We searched out a food store and had a very cheap breakfast before hiking the 3.5 miles around the lake.  It is a beautiful setting, and the castle builder took full advantage of it.  I couldn't have chosen a better location for a castle myself.  

I have to note, however that this villa on the lakefront was my first choice for purchase, should we win a lottery soon.

The lake has a little island in the middle and is absolutely adorable.  It was hard to stop taking pictures.

We took a "pletna" boat out to the island to look around.  These boats were made after the farmers in the area petitioned Queen Maria Theresa for permission to charge a fee to go to the island.

In the background you can see Tito's villa.  He was the dictator who ruled Yugoslavia for many years.  Slovenians liked him because his mother was Slovenian.  There may have been other reasons as well, of course.

We had a nice lunch overlooking the lake and tried the "Bled cream cake".  It was delicious but very rich.

For our last dinner, we splurged on a wonderful meal at Tito's villa.  Unfortunately, he couldn't be there tonight because he's dead, but it was a great meal regardless.

It's just as we'll we're leaving tomorrow because the wind picked up on our walk home and lightning flashed over the mountains.  It looks like the rain is moving in.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Driving the Julian Alps

We escaped our prison confinement this morning and rented a get-away car to head to the mountains.  The rental went very smoothly and the car is the nicest we have seen yet.  We stopped at our next accommodation to drop the bags and then headed to a nearby gorge for a hike.  It was underwhelming.  In fact, it appeared strangely like home...and no, we are not secretly up Grouse somewhere.

Can you see the rainbow?

After the hike, we drove through some spectacular scenery.

The hole in the mountain is actually large enough for the Statue of Liberty to crawl through.

By far, the best part of the day was the car train.  At the end of the drive, they have an engine attached to several flat bed cars that you drive onto.  Then the train drags through a whole series of tunnels back to almost the beginning.  This proved to be Very exciting and we have lots of video clips we can't upload so you'll have to make do with the still photos.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Prison Camp

Oh My God.  What Was I thinking? This was the first thought as the very nice car rental driver pulled up in front of the Hostel Celica complex.  He was trying to find a way in.

Eventually, he just dropped us at the gate as the bar was down.

Welcome to Hostel Celica, former prison.  Somehow, in my mind I had imagined they'd fix the place up a bit for the tourists.  I had read this was decorated by several artists and each cell had been done differently.  I even booked us a cell room for two nights.  This was not how I had envisioned it.

Try to find the third bed..... Look up yep that's it!  Guess who sleeps up top?There is art on the wall. It is a panel of ceramic tiles of some people walking.  On the up side there is lots of atmosphere and plenty of people around. There is also some very interesting art outside the building.  

Imagine our surprise when we arrived. The shoe rack is a little inconvenient for shorter people.

Do these guys share our rooms?
Absolutely beautiful but.... Note Frank the mouse on the left.

We arrived here after an interesting but long day hiking through caves; 500steps and 170 metres below ground.  It was totally amazing but you weren't allowed to take pictures so no pictorial for you! Then we couldn't find the car rental place to drop the car because the address we had doesn't exist and they don't number the buildings.  We did eventually find it after asking at a few different businesses.  It had been a stressful hour or so, but the car guy drove us to the hostel. What a relief!  At least, until we arrived.  We didn't have to talk.  We were all thinking the same thing.

The hostel itself is great, once you get past the cramped dorm style living.  We missed the Hookah night but managed to get in on the All-you-can-eat dinner.

Before you all send out the guard, you should know that the city is beautiful.  It reminds me of Prague, and for good reason.  The architects who designed it based it on Prague.  We wandered around today.

Holly and Heather focused on shopping and Kenna walked around giving directions to people who were lost.  We  all enjoyed our mid day sit by the River, a stroll round the castle and we were going to have ice cream but the it was almost  dinner and as it was all you can eat BBQ, we didn't  want to miss that.  

Bottom line: Another interesting day for the records.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guessing Game

Ever cognizant of trying to keep the Blog interactive and entertaining, we've devised a game of "guess whose drink is whose. Who had tea? Who is finished their yummy apple cider, and who is dragging their feet?


Day 10:  Kenna cuts us loose.  Well, ten days is about all the togetherness we could take, and Kenna opted for a day on her own.  Meanwhile, hardcore travel guide followers Holly and Heather took a wander through Rovinj and rode bikes out around the peninsula. It should be noted that while Kenna missed out on the nude beach, she managed to catch the lovely lunch on the Adriatic.

I know you're all looking for the nudists, but this isn't the spot.

Not the spot either.

Action photo.  We were going slower past the nude beach, and no, we didn't take and action photos there.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Beautiful Day

We'll let our pictures do the talking today.  We began our morning with the most amazing hike through Plitvitce Lakes park.  This is a natural geological phenomenon.  The lakes are staggered on many different levels, which sounds impossible except they cascade endlessly.  The paths have been erected in places you wouldn't normally get to walk so you get to see spectacular sights.  The water is a gorgeous blue because of the calcium in it.  The formations creating the waterfalls were created by the deposits of the calcium as the water flowed.

We got there by 7:40am to beat the crowds and this was a good idea.  By the time we left at noon, the parking lot could have rivalled Disneyland.  Seeing The lineup for tickets, the fight for parking, the wait for the shuttle and the constant flow of humanity almost destroyed the serenity of our walk.

This gives an idea of how the water steps gradually down, instead of just flowing quickly.

You all know how I love my ducks in a row.

This one is for Julia.  :)

Just had to throw this one in at the end.  Evidently, at this toilet, if you pay, you can not only have some toilet paper but also a seat to sit on!  I wonder if paper is one cost and the seat another? What kind of toilet service will you get for a really big payment?