To Postojna - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

June 22, 2022

To Postojna

Today promised a break in the heat, with cooler temperatures and some cloud cover. It was welcome news as I had a big climb up out of the valley to Postojna, home of the Postojna Caves and the Predjama Castle. The route was fairly straightforward - straight up highway 444, the "old road" that had been supplanted by the newer, high-speed road that took most of the traffic. But before committing myself to 444, I took one last swing through the small towns of the valley, passing through Podraga and Podnanos.

It was in Podnanos that I realized that the key to my room at Guesthouse Koren was in a back pocket of my cycling jersey. It was one of those large old-fashioned keys that aren’t cheap to replace, so I knew I had to find a way to return it. I called out to some folks at a bar/café on the corner and after explaining my situation, the owner Miriam confirmed that she knew the owners of Guesthouse Koren and promised would call them up return the key. Thankful for such a tidy solution, I cycled on. As I was ready to merge onto highway 444, a car pulled over just ahead of me and who should jump out but Nevenka – in search of her key. I was quite astounded at the timing of it all as she had no idea I’d taken the back road to this spot and easily could have missed me. She knew Miriam so all was good and we said our second round of goodbyes.

Leaving the Vipava Valley
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Passing through Podraga and a nice family garden
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In Podraga - another fine example of the pastel painted houses, with peach being one of the popular colors
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Miriam to the rescue - with promises to return the purloined key
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Nevenka intercepted me looking for her missing key
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The ride up the hill was not at all bad – five miles with a fairly steady grade of about 6%. The absence of traffic kept me relaxed and in rhythm and I only stopped a few  times for water, and once to read the warning signs posted on the side of the road. Once over the top, the whole tenor of the ride changed – more traffic and more weather. The cloud cover had increased and I became chilled heading downhill. I searched for some time for a good resting place, finally stopping at a side road where I spotted a nice field of large hay bales – it turned out to be a perfect place for a rest and a snack.

Heading up
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Thankfully, virtually all the traffic is on the "new highway"
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I was a bit afraid that this might be a warning about wild boars in the area - but it was a virus warning. A plea to properly discard all food items in an effort to control African Swine Fever Virus, a highly contagious virus of pigs
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I found a resting spot for me and Vivien George in a hayfield tucked away off the side o the road
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The large bales of hay make for a fairly comfortable back rest
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Rachael AndersonGreat photo!
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11 months ago

I had booked an apartment not far from the Postonja Caves with the intention of visiting them this afternoon - though the Predjama Castle was higher of Nevenka’s list of recommendations. However, I got a message from Booking a couple of days ago saying the Apartment was closed for repairs and that I was being rebooked at the Jama Hotel, located at the Postojna Cave Park. I arrived around 2 pm and found the whole venue to be a bit of a zoo. It took me about fifteen minutes to even figure out how to get into the hotel!  Once I found it, I booked the 4 pm tour of the Caves.

I must say I had done virtually no research about the Caves, or the tour. Thus, I was totally unprepared for the experience - a 24 km cave system that you partially explore by underground train and on foot. The pace was fast, with little time for pictures so I just sat back and took in the whole experience – amazed by the vastness of the chambers, and the variation in color, shape, size and number of stalagmites and stalactites.

My hotel was in the middle of the Postonja Cave Park - it took me a while to even find hotel reception
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One the the two stalagmites that are emblematic of the Postojna Caves
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The second the two emblematic stalagmites
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The cave is at a constant temperature of 50°F, which was a nice relief when entering on this hot afternoon. I wore my puffy vest, but still got really chilled on the ride back as the wind rushed over the train car. Seeking comfort food, I had a warm bowl of potato soup and dumplings for dinner but went overboard with a Bled Cream Cake for desert - I never had one while in Bled. It was tasty, but roiled my stomach later that night – a little too much icing on a short but very full day. 

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Today's ride: 19 miles (31 km)
Total: 1,460 miles (2,350 km)

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