Days: 480-481 (18 October 2015 – 19 October 2015)
Total distance travelled: 127,787.8 kilometres (79,371.28 miles)
It was misty, but beautiful morning that saw us rise early in Bled, ready for the morning bus service to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, the problem (for the bus company at least) being that we never actually even got to see the bus!
As we sat awaiting its arrival, an opportunistic local taxi driver… well we assume he was a taxi driver, offered his services at the same price as the bus, but with an immediate departure!
Very quickly six of us took up his offer (he had a mini-van) and we were on our way.
We were soon striking up conversation with both our driver and new companions, two of whom formed an Irish couple who were seeking a train from Ljubljana across the Croatian border.
Fat chance of that says our driver (not in those exact words) as the border has been closed due to the refugee crisis!
Given they had a flight back home to catch the following day, this caused quite the concern (also for us, given that was the direction we were also soon headed).
An hour or so later and we had our confirmation.
The border was in fact closed, but fortunately just for railway traffic.
Motor vehicles (including buses) were still able to cross, as it was far easier for them to control who could pass back and forth.
With a potential crisis and large detour averted, it was time to check-in to our hostel and check out these new surrounds under a morning of beautiful blue skies.
Turns out we were far too early for check-in, but leaving our bags and being able to head to explore was fine with us.
We’d barely kicked into any sort of gear on this lovely Sunday morning, when just across the river that divides the capital we stumbled upon the makings of a very raucous affair.
Turns out luck was with us, as just getting under way was the Pivo (beer) and Burger Fest, a great combination at any time!
The only problem was, which beer(s) and which burger(s) to choose?!
We sampled both a Pils and a Pale (Ale), but for the burger, we went for something a little more exotic… at least it certainly wasn’t anything either of us had indulged in before.
Apparently a pretty common meat around these parts, it was our very first taste of the flesh of a horse!
Normally people will say it tastes just like chicken… but this time, it was closer to beef!
Could we have stayed here all afternoon?
Sure we could.
Could we afford to stay here all afternoon?
As such, we polished off our last mouthfuls of both burger and beer, and got back on our way.
We followed the water a little, the aptly named Ljublanica River, but whether its name came first or that of the city, I know not.
There was a charm to this place, so we just wandered around and did our best to take it all in, albeit with Sunday morning worshipers putting paid to our plans to properly explore the main cathedral.
Unwilling to disturb their little congregation, our attention quickly shifted towards Ljubljanski Grad (Ljubljana Castle) and the hill atop which it sat.
The castle itself, it wasn’t much… at least there wasn’t too much to be seen in the areas that didn’t require an additional entrance fee.
Still, the views were nice and its position in the sun was appreciated by both us and a large posse of geckos we spied sunning themselves on some rocks (seriously, there were close to a dozen).
Still, after rounding the day out with a couple more beers, it proved a decent introduction to the Slovenian capital.
We woke with grand plans for the following day, the idea being that we’d make a bit of an excursion back towards the Italian border to visit the apparently impressive Skcojan Caves, a subterranean labyrinth inside a karst mountain range.
Things weren’t looking all that enticing, as morning greeting us with grey skies and pretty heavy rains.
Still, we couldn’t let this ruin our plans could we, so we layered up and soon found ourselves back at the train station (which was conveniently also right beside the bus station)… only the word was, there was no train headed there any time soon!
No drama, lets try for a bus.
Sure enough, there was a 9am bus, so we established which bay it would depart from, then found a little shelter under which to wait… and wait… and wait.
We queried with a few of the bus drivers that did arrive, but none were apparently the ride we sought.
Back indoors at the ticket office, we were told not to worry (well maybe not, there wasn’t a heap of English being used) and there was a bus at 12pm…
So we stuck it out.
With it still raining.
Come midday, the bus still didn’t show…
9am had passed… 12pm had passed… and we’d gotten nowhere!
* We were all set to catch the bus from Bled to Ljubljana, however an opportunistic man with a van was waiting with the offer of a ride for €7.00 per person (he ended up with a full car load, and as the bus charges €1.00 for luggage, he was ultimately cheaper and faster).