(All photos © Sean D Sorrentino, 2012)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sometimes I really hate people

Don’t ever let people tell you that Americans are badly behaved overseas. They might be, but they are certainly no worse than anyone else.

We spent a leisurely morning escaping from Piran. It was a bit of a hassle transferring everything to the car, using the free parking ticket, and then returning that ticket. We finally made it out the door and were on our way to Postjna Caves. These caves are bigger, and in many ways more impressive than the Škocjan Caves we went to yesterday. The problem is that they are much more popular and much easier to get around in. The pains of walking 3 kilometers over rough ground, climbing up and down stairs, with nothing to help you get along means that many people don’t even try. Postojna Cave has its own electric railroad. Apparently nothing attracts idiots like an easy cave exploration.

I pointed out yesterday that the caves do not allow photography. They are especially against flash photography. Let’s face it. None of us have professional equipment and tripods so that we can take long exposure photos. That means that none of our cameras are really going to be effective in the caves. The flash on your average camera is designed to work out to about 12 to 15 feet. Beyond that all you are doing is annoying people. I’m trying to see the neat formations in the rock and you’re flashing me in the eyes with your idiot camera. What was really funny was how people were trying to be “covert” in their photography. As if it was possible to cover the fact that the screen on the back was almost bright enough to read by. They just couldn’t understand how people were figuring out that they were taking photos. The one dude with running a pretty expensive looking SLR and using the red-eye flash? Dude, can you think of a better way to prove to everyone that you have absolutely no idea how to operate a camera? We were in the English language tour group, so this means everyone who was not Slovene, German, or Italian ended up with us. From the Asian dudes who were doing their best to live up to the camera happy stereotypes to the jerk woman who was trying to out-German the Germans with her nasty attitude, we were surrounded by fools and idiots. They probably didn’t like me either. There are times that I think it should be legal to push one of them over a railing as a warning to the rest.

The cave was pretty though. It was really flat and easy going. The train pulls you through the mouth of the cave about 2 km back to the walking tour. Then you stand around waiting for the next trainload before the tour starts. They separate you into language groups, and off you go. It’s a steep climb up to the top of the “mountain” and then it’s mostly downhill from there. The path is paved with what looks like the same non skid stuff that Disneyland uses on their ride pathways. The railings are sturdy enough that it would be difficult to avoid accusations when you claimed that a particularly annoying idiot fell over those rails. Honestly, anyone who can walk without a cane or walker should be able to do this tour. And really, if you can get beyond the total lack of respect many people show for the natural resource, you will really enjoy the beauty of it.

The Wife and I reflected on the different way of dealing with rules. In America, we expect that the rules will be uniform, apply to everyone at all times, and be enforced. Otherwise they shouldn’t have the rule at all. We felt that if they weren’t going to deal with the photography and the flashes, then they should just be honest and take down the no-photography sign. Maybe they just got tired of trying and decided to ignore it.

We emerged from the cave and immediately hopped into the car for the long 9 Kilometer journey to Predjama Castle. Why did we decide to go there?

That’s why.

I’m not sure that there is much truth to a lot of the “artifacts” that they show, but no matter, the castle is really cool. I’m just glad I wasn’t the guy who had to hang on the edge of the cliff and lay the foundation stones. I’m perfectly happy to stand on the battlements and drop stones on people, but I’m not hanging off the edge and building the place.

We ate lunch at the restaurant at the base of the castle. We both had venison. Mmmm.

We ran into our first real difficulty of the trip on our run into Ljubljana, the capitol city of Slovenia. We were trying to get to the Slovene Language for Tourists class that the tourist board runs on Wednesday at 5pm, but we got caught in traffic and I programmed the wrong location into the GPS. Then we found out that not a single hotel in central Ljubljana has a room for rent. It appears that there is some sort of Economics convention in town. They demonstrated the Supply and Demand principle admirably.

We finally begged the guy at the Tourist Information Center to call around for us and find us a room. We are in a little “pension” somewhere west of the city. It’s pretty nice, thought the towels are like sandpaper. The restaurant is great and the waiter was even better. I was stressed out, pissed off, and fearing that I was going to have to sleep in the car. Now I have a bed calling my name.

Federal Trade Commission Disclaimer:
These blog entries reflect my personal opinions about the locations The Wife and I visited during our travels. I have not received money, freebies, or any other inducements to provide positive coverage of anyone, anywhere, or anything. In fact, no one on this trip knew or had any reason to know that I am a blogger. I do not work for the Tourist Boards of any country, nor am I employed in the travel industry in any way.


  1. I will freely confess that I took (or, at least, tried to take) pictures in the Skocjan Caves... but I turned off the screen before entering the caves, never used flash, and never held it up to my face. The results were about what you would expect, but a few of them turned out decently.

    That said, yeah, tourists are idiots; I think that is pretty much universal, regardless of what country they might hail from.

    Anywise, that castle was pretty much our primary motivating reason for going to Slovenia to begin with, and I dare say it lived up to our expectations.

    1. Did you notice how when you were walking around the castle that you would go out a door into a hall and suddenly be outside? It was weird. The whole place struck me more as a fortified patio than a castle. I bet it would be tough to assault.

    2. Honestly, I think that was entirely a function of being strapped to the side of the mountain - after all, the rooms could only be so deep, and it could not exactly sport a "normal" courtyard.

      And, yeah, no, storming that thing would be a pain in the tush, especially with the all-too-convenient back door letting everyone out.