Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bats and all

Slovenia tourism websites boast of two "must-see" caves.

The Postonja caves are quotedly referred to, by a fellow traveller, as being "just like Gringotts, minus the goblins."  And who wouldn't like to feel like they've stepped into a Harry Potter film?  An open air train carries its passengers through the extensive caving system for a ten minute ride before the hour long tour on foot. It is the longest accessably available cave system in the world, measuring 5.3 kilometers (3.3 miles) long. Since the caves are relatively close to Ljubliana, along with multiple tour operators offering packages to Postonja and its nearby castle, the caves are infiltrated with visitors.

The Skocjan caves are a UNESCO World Heritage site and are ranked among the most important caves in the world. Earliest records of the caves date back to 2nd century B.C., and is believed to have been inhabited as early as 3,000 B.C.  Its distinguishing factor is the Reka river which flows right through it. The biggest stalagmite is 15 meters (45 feet) high and 250,000 years old.  Up until recently, tourist would have to scale the cave walls, sometimes as high as 140 meters (460 feet) above the cavern floor. It is also rumored that the Greek god, Hades, lived there.

Since I wanted to visit one of them, I was left with a choice:  Gringotts or the underworld. The decision was easy.  I chose hell.

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