Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Skocjan Cave

[Note: Apologies for the blurry photos in this post. The light in the dolines and caves was somewhat inimical to quality photography.]

Two blog entries about Slovenian caves may seem excessive, but I feel compelled to highlight Skocjan Cave anyways.

That's because Skocjan quickly became one of My Favorite Places - and one of the four or five coolest places I visited on this trip (alongside Pamukkale, Plitvice Lakes, and Thrihnukagigur Volcano.)

To get an idea of what makes Skocjan (which, by the way, is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site) so cool, imagine the Grand Canyon. And then imagine if it were underground.

Ok, it's not quite as deep as the Grand Canyon. But it is a big canyon. And it is underground.

Also: Think of the Mines of Moria from the Lord of the Rings. Except with 100% fewer Balrog.

It's less well known than Postojna Caves, but much cooler and more unique, in my less than humble opinion.

Ok, I'll stop gushing.


We had some time to kill before our tour, so we took the somewhat lengthy (and arduous) self-guided "nature walk." We learned - and then promptly forgot - lots of information about the history and geology of the area.


The first part of our tour took us through some of the dolines - that is, collapsed caves that used to be an extension of the main underground section of the cave.

And though they might not technically be caves, these were still really, really cool.

After hiking up and down the gorges for a while, it was time to visit the main attraction - and actually enter the cave itself for the first time.


...Photography isn't allowed in the main - and coolest - part of the cave. I took a few clandestine photos (naughty me, I know), but they mostly turned out blurry and didn't come anywhere close to capturing the "feel" and scope of the cave. But a quick Google search turns up some decent images. Though this is yet another of those places you just kind of have to experience in person.

You start out in a narrow, obviously manmade tunnel that might make you a bit claustrophobic. Then things open up as you enter a fairly ugly, typical looking cave. There's not much in the way of formations - just, well, a lot of rocks.

And then you keep on walking, and then suddenly things really open up.

Suddenly you're walking beside a giant canyon. You can look a hundred or more feet up, and a hundred or more feet down at a raging river.

You cross a bridge over the gorge that really did bring to mind thoughts of Moria and the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

You keep walking on the cliffside, and you're just kind of in awe.

It's a canyon. And it's underground.

Ok, maybe that doesn't sound as cool to you as it does to me. Maybe it's just one of those "you have to be there" kinds of experiences. But once you have been there, it's pretty darn tough to beat.

That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Skocjan Cave. Go there.

...And that's it for caves. And Slovenia. And the Balkans. My trip was drawing to a close - but I still had a few more stops before returning to the US.

- A few days later I left for the airport and took an early flight to the land of the Danes...

1 comment:

  1. How did I miss this post? Very interesting cave..What some amazing experiences you had on this trip. Walking by an underground canyon and river Astounding. However this may be one I prefer enjoying vicariously.