After successfully navigating our way out of Ljubljana, IB and I headed south towards the Croatian border to find our home for the night. Before we passed the border though, there was a little bit more of Slovenia that we wanted to see. Another Pinterest discovery of mine was the Predjama Castle. Situated about 10 kilometres from the famous Postojna Caves, this incredible castle is perched in the middle of a vertical 123m high cliff. Built over 700 years ago, the Predjama Castle’s most famous occupant was the knight Erazem of Predjama. The story goes that Erazem rebelled against Austrian emperor Fredrick III and eventually killed his kinsman. This outraged the Austrian leader, forcing him to stage a manhunt to take down Erazem. For a year and one day Erazem was bound to the castle and befuddled Austrian soldiers in how he was surviving without any supplies. What the soldiers didn’t know was that Erazem had built a secret tunnel leading out of the castle, therefore giving him access to the nearby village. However stealthy Erazem might have been, unfortunately for him, the soldiers had the last laugh. Successfully bribing a servant to wave a flag to show wherever Erazem was in the castle, it was when he was on the toilet that the flag was waved, causing Erazem to be literally caught with his pants down.
Today, the castle is used as an historical monument where people can go inside the castle and see how occupants lived and how the castle was built. IB and I were short on time so we passed on the tour through the castle, opting to eat lunch in front of it and trying to get a half decent selfie. I had been slightly obsessed with seeing this castle ever since I first read about it and was elated to finally witness it firsthand. It’s truly an architectural miracle (from my very amateur architechtural point of view) and a hidden wonder of Slovenia. Actually all of Slovenia is a hidden wonder. This small country is very underrated and should be higher on people’s must-see lists. I can’t recommend visiting this country enough. The hospitality we received, the sights we saw and the things we experienced make Slovenia one of my favourite countries and one I definitely have to return to.
After pulling ourselves away from the Predjama Castle, we jumped back in the car and headed towards Postonja Caves where we grabbed a quick coffee and had a wander around. Because of our time limit (we were still 3 hours from our destination and it was late afternoon) we didn’t go on a tour through the famous Postonja Caves, however it gave us all the more reason to return! We headed towards the border and this time were met by an official border crossing at Rupa, where we crossed through with no issues and continued down towards Rijeka. The drive towards Rijeka where my Aussie bogan accent pronounced it as Ri-jeka, was beautiful and I nearly jumped out the window when we first saw the Adriatic Sea. The blue water and the white rocky mountains were postcard perfect as we cruised along the motorway. Bypassing Rijeka we continued towards Krk Island where we were finally a place to stay for the night. Crossing the huge 1400 metre bridge to reach the island was slightly daunting but we safely made it to the other side. I hate to admit how shriek-y IB and I got, passing the beautiful coastal landscape of Krk Island, but what more can you expect from two excited girls? We drove the 45 kilometres down the island towards Baška, where we planned to camp. We arrived into the small town just before the sun was starting to set, creating a perfect sight for our first view of our home for the next two nights. Racing out of the car and down to the clear water we stood in amazement at the beach surrounded by huge rocky mountains and wondering how we managed to land ourselves in such a beautiful place.
Finding a camp was easy and we scored a spot at Camp Zablaće just metres from the pebbled beach. A quick shower to freshen up, we grabbed a bottle of wine and headed down to the water to enjoy being at the beach. We stayed there until late, when raindrops started to fall, forcing us to retreat to a nearby restaurant for a tea. The rain started to get harder and we decided to call it a night, mainly because the waiters were slying indicating they wanted to close. As we walked back to our tent, the heavens opened up and the sprinkling turned into a massive storm, complete with thunder and lightening. We got to our tent totally drenched and laughing our heads off. The storm lasted a while and it was a bit scary being so close to the elements as our tent lit up every few minutes and the grounded rumbled with each bit of thunder. Tiredness got the best of us though and we eventually fell asleep, praying we wouldn’t get fried by lightening.
The following morning we woke to a clear sky and warm weather. We survived! We climbed out of our tent and our German neighbour asked if we were okay. We realised we were rather loud last night, squealing at each lightening strike and laughing at our bad luck. Our neighbour thought it was hilarious though, saying he did the same thing when he was our age. The sun was beaming down on us so we left Mr German to his reminiscing and pulled out our scary white legs from hibernation and for the beach. We rented two sun beds and made it our perch for the day. Fully intending to see more of Baška, we ended up sun baking for the entire day, enjoying the sun and rest. It was long weekend in Croatia for Labour Day, so the beach was quite busy with families taking advantage of the public holiday and the hot weather. A Croatian band was playing right near our sun beds and the beach bars were filled with locals getting absolutely wasted. Around 4pm we finally decided to move from our sun beds for some ice-cream and some time in the shade. Having spent about six hours in the sun, IB and I were the colour of tomatoes and certainly did a ripper job on our first sunburn of summer! We decided to finally check out a bit more of Baška and walked down the beachside streets, deciding on what to have for dinner. We found a gorgeous little restaurant called Garofulin, whose speciality were platters with gourmet meats and cheeses. The wrought iron tables outside gave us a perfect view of the sun going down in the distance and we gorged ourselves on different cured meats, washing it down with chardonnay. Suffering a small case of heatstroke, we were absolutely knackered from a day of doing not much. There wasn’t a huge night scene in Baška, especially only being the start of May and the majority of holidaymakers being families so we didn’t feel too bad for heading to bed early – this time without the huge storm.
Waking up the next morning to a dreary, cloudy sky we were stoked that we managed to get in a beautiful day yesterday. We packed up camp and had breakfast on the waterfront before heading towards our next stop – the Plitvice Lakes. More on them as well as our last days in Budapest in the next post!
From the girl who has some funky looking sunburn lines.