If we’d had our choice of dates, we wouldn’t have picked our first full day in Ljubljana for a side trip. But the tourist season wasn’t yet in full swing (and we were glad it wasn’t), and in the course of our advance planning, we had found that a tour offered on Thursday was the only one that could fit our schedule. So we booked it with Kompas, the privatized successor to the state agency that was socialist Yugoslavia’s “Intourist.” It’s still the biggest tour operator in the region, with offices in all the former Yugoslav states.

Postojna Cave (photo found on the Web)
Our motive for this excursion was the chance to see the spectacular cave at Postojna (‘po-STOY-na’), officially described as Slovenia’s biggest tourist attraction. We had chosen it over the Škocjan (‘SHKOTS-yahn’) cave — an alternative that the Rick Steves book recommended as somewhat more of an adventure, but only for the physically fit. We judged that this condition pretty much eliminated us.

Predjama Castle
Postojna is about 53 km. (33 miles) southwest of Ljubljana, and is served by the railroad — in fact, we would pass through it a few days later on the train to Rijeka — but the station is about a mile from the caves, and the town is not renowned for beauty. Taking the Kompas tour instead of the train gave us several advantages (though of course they didn't come free): we would be driven all the way to the caves, not plunked down a mile away; the tour would also include a visit to Predjama Castle; and the bus would pick us up right at the Hotel Slon. So we yielded to these seductions and made the reservation before leaving home. Although it was the cave that interested us most, we were happy that the tour would include the famously photogenic castle, which though not historically significant is a spectacular sight (or perhaps I should say site). Had we made our own way to Postojna by train or bus, we wouldn’t have had time, even if the opportunity came up, to go there.

Photography was mostly prohibited in the cave, so we have only a couple of pictures of that, but the castle (which we visited first) fully lived up to its reputation for camera-worthiness.

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