(Prepare for the longest running sentences you will encounter).
Trieste was supposed to be a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the many cities we have faced on our awesome, but not altogether smooth running holiday. A quiet little coastal town, so close to Slovenia, it was selected by Clare and Rebecca (advanced travelers and frequent Euro train and bus patrons, and therefore complete experts on the subject (!)), as the perfect place to position ourselves for a one day visit to a set of caves so thoroughly researched and longed for by Rebecca, otherwise known as Skojan Caves.
After being directed to a set of caves in Slovenia, which unbeknownst to us were in fact a DIFFERENT set of caves to the ones we were intending to visit (one would probably deduce with the help of basic high school geography, that an area known for its amazing underground rivers and rock structures would MOST LIKELY boast more than one set of caves…our bad), a detour was in order to redirect to the RIGHT caves, a fairly expensive venture in terms of both time and money (deep breaths).
We eventually arrived at the caves at 4pm (having left Trieste at 10am…need I say more about the apparent reliability of the “when in Rome” sentiment – never believe the locals, even if they don’t know how to get somewhere they WILL make it up…).
Despite this costly mishap, we had a lovely afternoon in the humid 12 degree depths, the walking path that descends more than 170m underground and winding through stalagmites and stalegtites was lined (romantically enough..) with small lantern lights – a truly breathtaking scene. Bec managed to hit the nail that is her fear of heights right on the head by traversing a bridge high enough to make even the non vertigo sufferer’s knees like jelly (ahem, me…). I felt much like I imagine Shmeagle (to be said in a slimy bubble-in-the-throat tone) would, surrounded by a constant, yet not creepy dripping sound, followed by the rush of an underground river and still-live stalagmites/tites that resembled various amimalia figures. A river enters outside these caves and flows underground until it re-emerges somewhere in Italy. They were in fact the most amazing caves I’ve ever seen and you’ll have to take my word for it due to the stingyness of the Slovenians whom prevented any photo taking…
Aaaaaanyway, after our nice little sojourn, we walk to the station closest to the caves as apparently the free shuttle service finishes before the last tour (go figure). This was no mean feat by the way, we miraculously managed to choose the right path despite some very ambiguous directions and distinct lack of signage (and with some help from a young man from Colorado called Charlie). We catch a train to Sezana, according to the cave people, this is the way to get to Trieste. To our complete and unpleasant surprise, we are told that the next train to Trieste departs at 4am! After trying to decipher the conversation of a few train conductors (most likely trying to get the younger man of the group to give us a lift to Trieste in the hope of being paid in kind…) we refused to give up and walked to the Autostazione and managed (with some more help from a lovely Dutch bus driver) to decipher another sign (in Italian – go Clare and her universal language skills!) that there is in fact a trial bus that began less than a month ago, leaving in half an hour to Trieste! There is a God despite my previous beliefs! After confirmation from a cute Italian man donning cereal in bulk, our elation is well and truly set in.
IN ADDITION (oh yes my avid blog readers, there IS MORE), not only were we really getting home on wing and a prayer, the bus trip set us back a whole 1 euro, 6 euro cheaper than the fare there…and so the vision of us sleeping on a train platform in the tiny town of Sezana, surrounded by seedy Slovenian train conductors until 4am, is vanquished! Hooray!!
So despite the constant obstacles that seemed to present themselves way more often than any obstacle should, we were unbelievable relieved to have stumbled on this accidental method of travel home with a king sized bed, pepsi machines and a roof over our heads waiting for us in Trieste.
We are truly blessed. I’m becoming a Catholic again. (Figure of speech only…don’t get excited Grandma…)
The People You Meet
3 years ago