Slovenia Day 7: 21/08/2015

After a relatively good sleep, BattleDad gave me a lie in with another hour in bed while he sorted BattleKid out. Everyone was late to rise but we enjoyed some yummy omelette and fruit salad for breakfast in an effort to try clear the fridge of food.

We got ourselves dressed and went out to visit some of the sights around Bled itself. First on the agenda was Bled Castle. Perched on a cliff top 130 metres above Lake Bled, it is accessible by foot up the hill or by car (our preference) and is the oldest castle in Slovenia dating over 1000 years old. We found a parking spot at the castle car park for both cars, saving us the walk up the steep hill! We didn’t see all of the medieval castle due to a small person with us but the views from the castle of the surrounding area more than made up for this.

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We did see the print works, the forge room (where BattleDad bought an original iron dragon, forged by a 6th generation blacksmith of the castle itself) the museum, wine cellar and some of the chemins de rondes of the battlements.

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Open from 8am to 9pm June to September (earlier closing hours at other times of the year) it costs €9 per adult, €7 per student (15-24 years of age), €4.50 per child and under 4’s go free. Parking is also free but is quite limited at the castle grounds.

After the castle we headed for the lake so we could visit the island. BattleKid fell asleep on the way so I let BattleDad go meet our friends for a drink and another slice of cake while I waited in the car with BattleKid. Amen to euro roaming finally working on my phone.Once BattleKid woke, I took him to meet everyone and we waited by the shore for the gondola to return. when he did, we climbed aboard and settled down for the 10-15 minute journey to the island. We took a gondola from the far end of the lake as the trip is short than if you take one from the Bled side of the lake, which I’ve heard takes 30 minutes.

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We had 40 minutes on the island before we needed to be back at our gondola and this was more than enough in my opinion. There isn’t much to see on the island other than the church and souvenir shop. I bought some chocolate from the shop. If you want to enter the church on Bled Island there is a charge of €6 per adult and once inside you can ring the bell for luck. BattleDad went in to ring the bell for our group. I lit a candle outside the church for my Mum (as she does it for us every Sunday when she goes to mass) before we quickly walked around the edge of the island before getting back on our gondola for the return journey back to shore.

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The charge for the return trip to the island is €12 per adult. Our friends were charged €6 per child and BattleKid went free of charge on our laps. It might seem expensive but I think it is worth it to say you’ve been on the only island in Slovenia.

After visiting the island we got a bite to eat at the camping restaurant and afterwards, BattleDad and I headed back to try to get BattleKid down for a snooze. But he had other ideas! At 5pm I gave up with him and started packing us for the next day.

We got dressed nicely and headed into Bled for a nice meal at the posh restaurant we visited with T&G’s friends for our last meal in Slovenia. BattleKid was fairly well-behaved and ate well. We finished up just after 8pm, got BattleKid home to pj’s and a bottle, swiftly followed by bed. We had brought L and T home with us so that T&G could relax and have a few more drinks on their own. BattleKid went down after I’d done some more packing, and BattleDad and I had a cuppa. It was a nice day seeing the sights of Bled to round off our holiday.

Slovenia might not be a country you’d have ever considered visiting but I can highly recommend it. We will definitely be going back at some stage. All that was left was the flight home and I was looking forward to my own bed and seeing the BattleDogs.

I’m happy to report that our flights were on time and we even made it back to Wales from Luton in time to pick the BattleDogs up a day early. All in all we had a great holiday in Slovenia. I hope you’ve enjoyed following the diaries of this holiday. Next on the agenda is a return weekend to Bluestone in October with W and S and their baby L again. Hopefully we get slightly better weather than we did in June but we’re not holding out much hope!

Slovenia Day 6: 20/08/2015

BattleKid woke just after 7am and we relieved BattleDad of the sofa. BattleKid and I had breakfast together after his bottle and enjoyed some playtime together until everyone else got up. I got myself and BattleKid ready to go out while they all ate.

BattleDad and our friends were going to do the toboggan runs this day. They cost €10 per child (6-14 years of age) and €15 per adult for 3 rides plus the chair lift. I decided I would go for a walk around the lake with BattleKid while they did this. BattleKid dropped off in his buggy, only the fourth time in a long time, for a 45 minute nap while I walked about a third of the way around the lake, stopping occasionally for pictures. I wondered if he was starting a new habit of snoozing in his buggy. I really hope so. I’m certain his Snoozeshade® helped him to drop off! When he woke we had stopped by some ducks but had to move due to wasps driving us mad again.

Bled Castle

Bled Castle

 

Bled Castle
Bled Castle
Bled gondolas
Bled gondolas

We met BattleDad after his second run and stopped at a hotel restaurant for tea, coffee and a Bled cream cake which was delicious! After this we met G and L and tried to find somewhere to have lunch while T and T did a rope walk near the toboggan run. It took us over an hour and we ended up with paninis which were actually quite nice. However I had to eat and move BattleKid quite quickly as we were plagued by wasps yet again! They were seriously doing my head in at this stage. They were putting a dampener on any outdoor meal we tried to have. After lunch I ran to top up our parking and then met BattleDad, G and L at the lido. The hounds were eating ice cream when I arrived from the little kiosk beside the entrance to the lido. It sold seriously good ice cream!

We went in, I changed BattleKid’s nappy and then walked up and down the length of the lido to get him to nap. It took a good 20 minutes but he nodded off and slept for just over an hour. I sat down once he’d dropped off and just enjoyed some peace and quiet while BattleDad and G enjoyed some time swimming in the Lake. T and T arrived well after 4pm, totally wrecked from their tree top rope walks. Apparently their last one had been very difficult and adult T had managed to injure herself on the face on that last one. Not good!

There was just enough time for T junior to join BattleDad and G in the Lake for a quick swim before it was time to pack up and head back to the apartment. We got BattleKid fed when we got back and then had showers before putting him down at 8pm. The rest of us then had a “bitsa” dinner: bits of this and bits of that, to use up the excess food in the fridge.

Everyone was knackered after the days adventures so it was a quick cup of tea before we went to bed early, ready for our last day in Slovenia before we headed home to the UK.

Tune in tomorrow to see what we got up to on our last day in Slovenia.

Slovenia Day 5: 19/08/2015

My nights sleep was horrendous. BattleDad was snoring badly and I ended up on the couch at midnight clock watching until after 2am. I was really hot too as there was no fan in the living room.

BattleDad brought BattleKid into the living room just after 6am and I went back to bed. I woke somewhere before 9am and we had a quick breakfast before heading out for the day. It was grey and dull so we decided to go and visit the Postojna Caves, about an hours drive from Bled, which had been recommended by our host. We dressed warmly as the guide-book suggested and headed off after breakfast. The drive wasn’t very interesting as it was mostly motorway but BattleKid had a snooze on the way there.

It was drizzling when we arrived and parked the cars. The car park is situated across the road from the entrance to the caves and it was busy. I think everyone else had the same idea as us with the grey and miserable day that was in it.

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We had to queue for tickets as we couldn’t sneakily book them online for that day. If you’re ever planning to visit them I’d recommend booking your tickets online beforehand to save yourself the queue. We waited over half an hour in the queue before getting to the ticket booths. BattleKid was quite good during this time, if a little bored. We got to the booth just before 12 but found that our tickets were for the 1.30pm train.

As we had to wait for our train we decided to get lunch as the tour in the caves takes about an hour and a half to complete. We had pizza in the Kavarna Cafe in the restaurant and they were the best tasting pizza we’d had in a long time. And not overpriced either.

You need to be at the train station 10 minutes before the time on your ticket so we made our way up at 1.15 after finishing lunch and joined our fellow English-speaking tourists. The guided tours are run in 5 languages including English, Italian, Slovenian, French and German. Our guides name was Peter and his English was excellent.

You board a little train that takes you the 2 km into the caves to the Great Mountain Cave (Velika Gora).

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Selfie on the train!
Selfie on the train!

This train ride is a little scary as there is little head room along some parts of the track. It’s easy to see why they say no standing or leaning out on the train. I’m only 5′ 2″ and even I felt like ducking in parts! You travel through some stunning halls and caverns until you end up in the Great Mountain. From here you carry on with the tour on foot over the Great Mountain, across the Russian Bridge through to the 500 meter long Beautiful Cave (Lepe Jame) filled with ribbon-shaped stalactites and stalagmites, some dating more than 2 million years old. These caves, halls and galleries certainly live up to their name!

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Did you know it takes 30 years to produce 1mm of stalactite!

From the Beautiful Cave you go back through the Hall of Tubes, the White Hall and the Red Room, both named after the prominent colour in the halls. After these you’ll pass the Diamond Stalagmite and Pillar Column, two symbols of the Postojna2015-08-19 13.11.16

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Caves before ending up into the Concert Hall (KoncertaDvorana), named because it can accommodate several thousand people at once and has had concerts held in it for over 100 years. From here you take the train back the 2km to the entrance.

Postojna Caves have a constant temperature of 8-10°C inside so being dressed warmly is a must. A raincoat is also advisable as the humidity can rise inside enough for it to rain within the caves themselves. It didn’t while we were there but you still felt drops of water falling on you every now and then. Good walking shoes are also a must. There are walkways around the caves which are big enough for a buggy (we took BattleKid in his Maclaren) and most are accessible by wheelchair too. The walkways look slippy but aren’t at all as they’re made from flintstone, so despite their shiny appearance they are surprisingly grippy under your feet.

In total you get to see about 5.7km of the 24km that comprises Postojna Caves. Tours operate every hour from 9am to 6pm during May to September, less so in other months. There are various packages available if you want to combine the tour with the exhibition and/or vivarium and the nearby Predjama Castle. We only did the caves tour and it cost €22.90 for an adult, €18.30 for students (15-24 years old), €13.70 for children (5-14 years old) and under 5’s are €1. If you are ever in Slovenia I highly recommend visiting the Postojna Caves. They’re a great day out and well worth the visit. I’d just recommend you prebook your tickets online to avoid the queues!

We eventually surfaced at around 3.30pm and when we did it was raining but we decided to have a drink and some cake before heading back to Bled. Thankfully the rain meant less wasps! The cream cakes at Lake Bled were nicer but the Postojna ones were still quite nice. We got back to Bled just before 6pm and decided to stop in town and have a meal together seeing as BattleKid had had another snooze on the way back and was in good form. We opted for a Chinese meal and although the restaurant didn’t look like one to write home about, the food was very good and BattleKid got to partake of his first ever Chinese meal!

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We got back to the apartment at 8pm, just in time to get BattleKid to bed. He went down without too much trouble and we had a relaxing few hours before turning in ourselves. However, I had to run BattleDad out to the sofa at midnight for snoring again. It did mean a better nights sleep for BattleKid and I!

Stay tuned for our next day in Slovenia, coming on the blog tomorrow.

Slovenia Day 4: 18/08/2015

BattleKid woke at 6.30am in much better form and BattleDad took him out for his bottle so I could get another hours sleep. When I got up I could see he was in much better form than the day before and I knew immediately he’d been suffering from over tiredness from the late night he’d had. Coupled with a fan our host had given us for our room to try cool it down a bit for BattleKid the day before, he had had a much better nights sleep and you could see it in him. He ate toast and pottered around while we waited for everyone to get up. I got washed and dressed and made scrambled egg on toast for everyone which BattleKid also partook of. We got ourselves organised after breakfast and decided to head out in the cars in convoy to another of the lakes about 25 minutes away which had been recommended by T&G’s friends. BattleKid got a 40 minute nap on the way there which was great.

It was Lake Bohinj we were visiting this day and it was really picturesque. It is also less built up than Bled and bigger.

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Lake Bohinj lies within the borders of the Triglav National Park and is a large glacial lake 26km southwest of Bled. It has two rivers flowing into it: the Savica from the west, and the Sava Bohinjka from its southeast corner. Triglav is the country’s highest peak and can be seen from the lake on a good day. It is an area of natural beauty and it’s easy to see from our pictures. We went for a walk around the lake, stopping along the way to let BattleKid throw stones in, but only got a quarter of the way around before we headed back to get some lunch beside the parking area.

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And lunch was huge! The cheeseburgers were as big as the plates they were served on and my hotdog was enormous but yummy. After lunch it was still nice and sunny so we headed to Bled to spend some time with our friends at the lido. I’d brought our swimming gear this day, just in case we managed to get to the lido. BattleKid got another 40 minute nap on the way back to Bled and once he had woken up he and I joined everyone else at the lido for some afternoon fun in the sun!

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BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed himself and still wanted to go into the water despite starting to shiver. His Waterbabies lessons have obviously paid off as he loves the water and swimming. We’re looking forward to getting back to them in September. We got out when BattleKid was starting to get cold and watched BattleDad, G and young T dive off the diving board. However, after 10 minutes sat with T and L the heavens opened and we had to run for cover. BattleDad, G and T had just gone out on paddle boards so they didn’t mind the rain so much.

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I took this opportunity to get BattleKid and myself dressed and gave BattleKid his snack of fruit while we waited on the boys to finish up on the paddle boards. After leaving the lido, BattleDad and I took BattleKid back to get him his dinner while our friends dropped by the supermarket on their way up.

BattleKid ate well and enjoyed playing with L and T after his shower. It was surprising to see L playing with him as she’s usually anti-kids haha! But she still indulged him bless her. At least T&G won’t be becoming grandparents any time soon. T&G decided to stay in with us and at 8pm we got BattleKid into bed as they fed L and T. Us adults had our dinner just before 9 and then enjoyed an hour or two of chatting over music, them with their glass of vino, us with our trusty cup of tea before turning in ourselves.

We all had a really great day by both lakes and couldn’t get over what a different child we had on our hands. Even L asked if we had switched children during the night. Hopefully by going more to BattleKid’s timings we’d gotten our nice child back. It felt like we’d finally started our holiday and hoped we would have more days like this!

Tomorrow sees day 5 in Slovenia. Tune in to see what we got up to!

Slovenia Day 3: 17/08/2015

BattleKid started rising at 5am with shouts and cries. He wouldn’t settle so I tried to bring him into bed with us but I gave up before 6am and went into the living room and sorted his bottle.

He was extremely cranky and very tired, and he wouldn’t eat anything I offered him for breakfast. It was a trying hour and a half until BattleDad got up. BattleKid continued to be cranky and irritable and I put it down to either teeth or over tiredness, most likely the latter. Eventually around 9am I took him into bed to try to get him to nap but didn’t have any joy. I had to walk out after 15 minutes as he was really winding me up. He was knackered but just wouldn’t go to sleep. BattleDad somehow managed to get him down and I sneaked in for a nap too to catch up.

He woke again a really cranky manky and we decided to let our friends do their own thing while we dealt with this demon of a child. We ventured out in the rain to stop by a pharmacy for BattleDad as the only inhaler he had with him was almost out. He had to see the doctor first for a prescription and only resurfaced an hour later after I’d had to go walking with BattleKid to try to stop him from crying and whingeing. My patience was wearing very thin and it was only 11 o’clock.

We went to Lidl for some more supplies and went back for lunch. After lunch we tried again to put BattleKid back down for a nap but had the same battle as earlier. I nearly lost it with him and BattleDad had to come rescue us from each other. At that point I broke down crying. I hated my child at that moment in time and hated myself even more for feeling that way. I wanted nothing more than to go home. Where was my lovely little boy gone? Why had he been replaced by this horrible child? I knew why. But it didn’t help things. This was fast becoming the holiday from hell and if someone had given me a ticket home I’d have bitten their hand off. My patience was gone and I sobbed.

BattleDad got BattleKid settled making me feel even more useless and upset. I went into the bedroom, climbed into bed with tears streaming down my face but managed to get 2 hours sleep with BattleKid. I felt much better when I woke and BattleKid seemed in a bit better form. We got up and went for a walk around the village we were staying in, stopping by the grocery store to get plug-in mosquito repellent. We found a little playground on our travels and stopped to have a few minutes of fun with BattleKid.

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When we got back it was 6pm so I got his dinner sorted and cooked a bolognaise at the same time for BattleDad and I. Our friends, who had returned from a day out with their other friends, had decided to go out for dinner to the local restaurant we’d visited on our first night. We got BattleKid a bath after his dinner. He seemed to really enjoy it and took his bottle afterwards with no problems. We got him down just after 8pm and got our own dinner sorted. We were just finishing up when our friends arrived back from having dinner and they had a couple of glasses of wine while we had tea and we watched a bit of TV in between catching up and chatting. We hoped for a better night and day than we’d had. It had been torture for BattleDad and I, and I was glad our friends hadn’t been with us during the day to witness BattleKid’s outbursts and tantrums. I went to bed weary and still upset about the day we’d had. I was apprehensive as to what the next day would bring.

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of our Slovenia Holiday Diaries.