April 18, 2010

For those of you who missed it...

...and for the geologists and geomorphologists of my acquaintance who would rather see the rock behind me than me and my white coat.

I wanted to go to Slovenia’s most visited site before the tourist season starts, so I decided to go over the weekend (even though I had just come down with a cold).  Postojnska Jama is the largest cave in Slovenia’s karst.  With a million visitors a year, it is reportedly the most visited cave in Europe.  People have apparently been visiting this cave since the Middle Ages, and tourism proper has been taking place for nearly 200 years.

I took the train from Koper in the morning.  There’s really not much to see in the town of Postojna, so I walked out to the caves, wandered around a bit while I waited for my tour, and tried to enjoy the entertainments of some type of youth festival that was going on there.  This consisted of things like little boys playing the accordion (which was actually pretty impressive) and a Slovene teenage girl rap group.

The entertainment at Postojnska Jama.

The tour starts out on a little “train” that takes the groups 2km into the caves.  There are some interesting things to see along the way, but it’s hard to appreciate them when moving.  After we got off the train, we were separated into language groups to walk another 1.5km.  Overall, I am trying to reserve judgment on the experience until I get to another one of the caves which is less visited (probably because it’s harder to get to) but has UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

The concert hall in Postojnska Jama - the only part of the cave where photos are permitted.

After I got back to Koper, I stopped at the supermarket at the new mall in town.  Then, last night there was a concert in the Taverna (former salt warehouse) next to my flat.  I would have wandered down to see what was going on, but with the cold meds, I really needed to crash.  The last thing I remember while lying in bed falling asleep is “Summer Nights”.

On an unrelated note, like most of Europe, we haven’t seen any tangible effects of the Iceland volcano.  But, like most of Europe, Slovenia’s airspace is closed.  My host, Anton, was in the U.S. for the AAG (geography conference) and is now having trouble getting back.  The last I heard from him, he had managed to book a seat on a flight into Rome for Monday and, if that airport remains open, then will have to make his way back to Slovenia from there.  He’s scheduled to run a geography field course to Germany at the end of the week.  I’m supposed to be going on that trip, so if all goes according to plan, I will provide an update after I get back – preferably one that does not include the (damn) white coat, but that might be too much to hope for…


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