Lake Bled – Ogulin
Hurray – today we stayed drý and in fact had sunshine all day. But I digress as I need to start at the beginning.
Hotel Park although lovely is massive and has a very clinical feel to it. There are just loads of tour groups everywhere. The restaurant is buffet style and there is loads of it. It is not my favourite way to eat as the food can at times all end up tasting very similar, but so far on this trip the quality of food has been good.
Waking to sunshine we get up even earlier to have a quick wander along the shores of Lake Bled in that wonderful sunshine that has been missing for so long.
All too soon it was time load the bike again and hit the road, not literally, and on to Ogulin in Croatia.
It was only 156 miles today with an excursion to the Postojna caves. The caves were first discovered in the 17th century but it wasn’t till 1818, when the cave was being prepared for a visit by Francis I, the first Emperor of the Austria-Hungary that a new area of the cave was discovered accidentally by local Luka Čeč.
In 1819, Archduke Ferdinand visited the caves, and this is when the caves became officially known as a tourist destination. Electric lighting was added in 1884 which further enhancing the cave system’s popularity.
In 1872, rail tracks were laid along with the first cave train for tourists. At first, these were pushed along by the guides themselves, later at the beginning of the 20th century a gas locomotive was introduced.
During World War I, Russian prisoners of war were forced to construct a bridge across a large chasm inside the cave. During World War II, German occupying forces used the cave to store nearly 1,000 barrels of aircraft fuel, which were destroyed in April 1944 by Slovene Partisans. The fire burned for seven days, destroying a large section of the cave and blackening the entrance.
After 1945, the gas locomotive was replaced by an electric one. About 5.3 kilometres (3.3 mi) of the cave system are open to the public.
In June 2015 the cave administration reported that cave divers managed to explore a further underwater section of the cave leading towards Planina Cave, thus lengthening the cave system from 20,570 m (67,490 ft) to 24,120 m (79,130 ft).
Today you catch the electric trains that take you 2.5 km into the caves where we are met by a guide who takes us through a further 1.5k before we board the train back to the entrance again.
Coming out from the constant temperature of 10 degrees we are hit by the sudden heat. Following a lovely crepe each we decide to set off ahead of the group. The satnav plays up and we pass the entrance to the caves three times but eventually head off in the correct direction.
The ride for the rest of the day is through some very rural areas. Many of the houses haven’t yet been completed and the state of the roads are poor. But it is a wonderful ride with Annie and Terry down from the hills and towards the Croatian border.
Another first today was crossing a boarder which was actually manned. However our passports were checked without having to remove helmets or raise our visors.