June 26, 2015
Orc Cave and Dancing Stallions
Entering the Scokjan Caves we really had no idea what to expect. We were on the tail end of a German and English guided tour through the caves. At first the caves did not amaze. having been to Carlsbad and Mammoth Caves in the states, I was disappointed at first. The limestone has been carved by an underground river that dumps into the Adriatic near Trieste. The stalactites and stalachmites were there but not in overly impressive displays.
It was not until we reached the river portion of the cave that I knew why the place is put in the same league as the Grand Canyon. The “normal” rooms open into a monstrous cavern. Since we were not allowed cameras, I will rely on some downloaded from Google. But like art, pictures do not convey the immensity and excitement.
I think the best comparison is from the Hobbit movies where the Orcs start descending from the cracks in the Dwarf carved mines. The feeling was the same. To make it hit home even more there were old stairways carved into the walls. The CGI movie makers must have used these caves as their inspiration. Some of the old suspension bridges were right out of Indiana Jones. The ones that we walked on were fine. I quickly told Peggy that we were not taking the tour that included those old walkways.
Wooden ladders that were not part of the tour
The tour was a couple hours long. We climbed another 100 or so stairs on top of the 400 in the cave. It was good exercise but we were done by noon. Peggy saw the signs for the Lippenzamer Stud Farm and pleadingly asked if we could please go there. Since time was not a problem and she acted like the little girl who wants a pony for Christmas, I agreed to go and see these famous white horses.
As we drove in on a remote road we came across a herd of mares in a field. Peggy got out and was able to pet one. She was so excited. By the time we reached the farm, I just got out the card and bought a tour and tickets to the 3PM show. We were given a “private” tour since we were the only English speakers. Our guide let Peggy pet the horses in their stalls. She was like a little kid. Every once in a while I get the chance to do it right.
The Lippenzamer breed started with Andulsians from Spain that were breed with local Slovenian work horses. The result was a famous war horse that Napoleon always posed on. I am not sure when the dancing part came about in Vienna. Maybe it was the love of the waltz. Remember that Slovenia was part of those Viennese Hapsburg empire until 1918. The breed almost became a Soviet Union exclusive until stolen back by U.S. Troops acting under orders from George Patton.
We got a beer and pizza for lunch outside the Casino and made sure we were in the front of the line for the show. We had ringside seats to watch the horses dance. Peggy reminded me that we never even leash trained our part wolf, Kia. These horses go sideways and a bunch of fancy footsteps that would make Michael Jackson envious. The show stopper was them rearing up and walking to on two feet to the William Tell Overture. Peggy was happy.
Our guest house tonight very nice. The lavender along the entry gives you an idea. Our room has the old beams and brick tile roof I associate with Italy. Actually this part of Slovenia was Italian until after WWII. We are having a three course dinner here tonight. The end of a perfect day.