Saturday, 27 June 2009

Slovenia's Coast and Karst

Friday 26 June: Spacious italiarail train (7th mode of transport) to Trieste then local bus (8th mode) across the border to pretty Venetian harbour town of Piran (Pirano in Italian) for a few days rest from the frenetics of Paris and Venice. The best and most secluded little section of stony beach, preferred by naturists, is below the clock tower of St George's Cathedral, high above the town. Take care as even the most seasoned traveller can burn the parts where the sun rarely shines.
Sea food, particularly grilled sardines, and pizza especially good when washed down with locally produced Tehran red, Malvazija white or nearby Karst region Merlot. Great local rambles from the TIC's Piraner Wanderwege leaflet.
Another day out is by Slovenske zeleznice split-level train (9th mode) from Koper to Divaca station for Skocjan Caves (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with a wide array of staligtites, staligmites, columns, pillars, curtains and a cascade of water deposited limestone pools. You can get a bus or, better still, pick up a free map from the station and take the hour-long trail through Skocjan Caves Regional Park to the caves. The signposted walk is easy to follow and is even more clearly signed on the way back to the station. There's no rush as the only two afternoon trains back to Koper are at 5:23 and 7:00.
Next day, bus to Koper then Slovenske zeleznice split-level train (10th mode) to Postojna in the Karst limestone region for the local caves, the largest in Europe. Viewing the spectacular cave section open to the public is by underground electric train (11th mode) for 2 miles then about 1 mile walking. At €30 for an en-suite Hotel Sport was a pretty good deal. Next day walked 12 miles or so to Predjama Castle and back to stretch my legs a little before more rigorous walks later in the trip. Click to see my pictures of Piran, Izola and Skocjan Caves and again for Postojna cave and castle.

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