Day 16 | Ljubljana – Trieste (70 miles)

 We spent a wonderful two nights in Ljubljana and grew very fond of the small city. We spent our ‘free’ day doing a walking tour and spending the afternoon with a lovely Canadian couple that were staying in our hostel.   After wondering what to do with our last few hours in the city, we finally decided on one rather odd activity; a mind maze (a seemingly regular thing to do in Ljubljana). You are placed in a room with various objects, and the aim of the game is to escape the room in under an hour, piecing together the clues you find.    We ended up leaving the room with 10 seconds to spare and we had such fun doing it. We were skeptical beforehand and we could hardly stop talking about it for the few hours after.   Sadly, we left pretty little Ljubljana and set off for the caves and Castle of Postojna (which is between the Italian coast and Ljubljana). We cycled quickly and arrived at 12:15. At this point we pondered whether it might be best to see the caves and then head onwards to Trieste today instead of tomorrow.  We spent an hour and a half in the caves and it was just indescribable. The caves were overwhelming beautiful and so enchanting. There was even a train inside the cave that drove around for 5 kilometres in a cave system that spans 21 kilometres!   We left the caves in utter astonishment and cycled 10 kilometres onwards to the castle of Predjama. The castle was built into the cliff face and it was just as beautiful and impressive. Hidden away in the rock is the most amazingly intricate and well-maintained  castle, and we felt so lucky to have been able to witness such astounding creations in one day.   It was 15:30 now and we had two choices. Number 1: stay the night in the unexciting town of Postojna (which was what we had originally planned). Or, number 2: cycle 30 more miles to Italy!!   We went with the latter and cycled straight to Trieste. The ride was fairly easy and we were bursting with excitement as we had our first glimpse of the Mediterranean.   Making our way into Trieste was more challenging than we had expected, as we dodged the crazed Italian drivers and struggled to keep our balance on the cobbled roads which somehow always seemed to be going downhill.   We had no accommodation booked here, and so frantically went in search of a cheap place to stay. Luckily, we found a small hotel near the centre of the city for only 20€ a night and dumped our bags in the room. All we could think about was delicious Italian food. In fact, we had been dreaming about it all day, and that was what had motivated us to carry on and reach Italy.   After a day of 70 miles, up and down the hilly countryside, we treated ourselves to a delicious pizza and pasta dinner. ITALY, we love you already.     

  

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Day 7 and 8 (Waitomo Caves)

The kiwi bus was full up today. We drove all morning until we reached Cathedral Cove (where Macklemore filmed his hit song ‘Can’t hold us’). Dan and I were the only brave ones to bear the glacial water and swim out to a nearby island. After recovering from the water, we drove to Hot Water Beach where you dig small pools in the sand and due to the geothermal activity underground the water becomes hot (the clue is in the name of the town). It was very bizarre and unfortunately we did all of this in intermittent rain but it was brilliant nonetheless.

Day 8

We arrived in Waitomo this afternoon for Black Water Rafting in the infamous underground caves.  My new mates, Dan, Aaron and I booked a 5 hour caving expedition which we expected to be good but turned out to be the BEST thing i have yet to do in Australia and New Zealand!! We had an incredible guide named Mika who took us everywhere possible including a 50 metre tunnel that she hadn’t ventured into in over a year. We zip lined through darkness, jumped off waterfalls, admired the bioluminescent glow worms and enjoyed the beauty and charm of the Waitomo caves. This day will be hard to beat.