Still in Slovenia but close to Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. 14th July 2007

Well, I'm still at the castle. You remember, the one where Ezram got caught with his trousers down. If he'd not been blown up, or squashed, whatever, this is the view he would have seen from the balcony next to the smallest room.

I headed south, to another cave, near Divaca, and just got there in time for the last tour of the day. Nice cave, although not nearly as impressive as the last, although it has an amazing underground gorge over 100 metres deep, for this reason it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. this cave is very much a live cave, there is still a river flowing through, and the cave formations are still growing.

I took a short walk to a viewpoint. The river flows under the church, you can see the exit below. It then flows through a short cave under ridge directly in front, then enters the large cave immediately below the viewpoint. It stays underground for 30 Km, then comes out in Italy.

I asked if was OK to park in their car park for the night. They said, no problem, if anyone asked, which was very unlikely, I was to say I was taking the first tour in the morning.

In the morning, disaster struck! I noticed the computer was not charging. This was not terribly unusual. I've already mentioned that it is difficult to get a connection. Anyway, no matter how much I wiggled the plug I couldn't get it to charge.

Now, while shopping in Postojna yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, I noticed a big electrical store, with a selection of laptops. I headed back there in case they could fix computers. the computer specialist, I later learned was called Dario, said there was no one in the town. He'd taken plenty of desk tops apart, but rarely touched a laptop. he said though if I took it apart, I shouldn't have problem, everything was attached to the motherboard. I took out about 15 screws but couldn't get it apart. Dario was baffled too. Then, like the Italian man when I had the keyboard problem, suddenly changed into thinking mode. He pulled apart the strip connectors for the keypad, and the keyboard, and removed these. There, right under the centre of where the keyboard used to be, was the final screw........

Just as an aside, taking a quick glance at the underside of the keyboard, there was enough red wine residue to make almost a glass of wine, if reconstituted.

We looked at the back of the connection for the charger. This is loose he says, and pushes something back. Suddenly we have contact! It's charging.

I've got to have another computer I said. I can't live with this. So then I went to reassemble mine. Even with a new computer I will need some files from the old one. By chance I bought a 1 Gb memory stick about a week ago, and I'd backed up my files onto this, but I know I'll need more. When I put it back together and switched on it screeched. Dario says it makes a different noise for different problems. That screech means the memory is not right. So we pushed the memory cards back home and Bingo! I had a working computer.

A few hundred Euros later I had another working computer, but this one was in a rather better state. Dario dashed out and came back with a big laptop carry case. Special offer this week he says. This is included. I don't want it I said, I already have two. You've got to have it he says, it's free!

So off I went to check out the new computer. The wireless seemed more sensitive than the old one. So now I needed somewhere for the night while I got to work transferring files and programs. I'd previously located the Tourist Office. Away from the centre, with a miniscule sign, and down the stairs in the basement of a small office building. First time I went I asked for a map, and the lady pulled a dozen brochures from different places and gave them to me. So that, I surmised, I wouldn't need bother her with any more requests for information. Well I did. I went back and asked where could I park for the night. At the camp site 5 Km north she says. I don't want a campsite I said, I don't any of their services. I just need somewhere to park. You can't park a camper van in this town she says, go to the camp site. Thanks for nothing I thought.

About 3 Km outside town I spotted a small track leading into a wood and followed it. This is looking back from my parking spot, to the way I came in.

Not exactly over used.

Well, that was the easy bit. Now I had to get the new computer working in the way I wanted. To set up Outlook Express - now with Vista called Windows Mail - I needed to get my seven different email accounts installed, and transfer some 600 addresses, including yours, and copy over some 10,000 archived email messages. I managed to get both computers working. It took a few wires.

I was up until 1 am before I finally gave up for the day.

Next day I had to go back to the tourist office for something, I forget why now. But I had noticed a good internet connection outside their office so sat there for 20 minutes or so, downloading updates and copying more stuff over computer to computer. Tourist office lady storms out, you can't park there she says. Now there were still empty spaces, in the parking, and no one had arrived while I was there. I didn't really understand why - she spoke very limited English, very unusual for a tourist office person, but I think it was maybe an (unmarked) spot for one of the other offices in the building. OK I said I'm going. She didn't understand and carried on in full flow. I said it again, no difference. I finally had to shout, I'M JUST GOING! I give this office the accolade, of the very worst tourist office I have ever found in all my years of travelling. Hardest to find, most obscure situation, and most disinterested, almost unpleasant, staff.

I thought it was time I started moving again, I drove around this little town.

 

And continued on.

I guess I passed by this church.

Next day I found another cave. We were allowed to take pictures in this cave, but mine didn't work. Here's the best.

I found another place for the night, with super view. Pity about the power lines. Those hills in the distance are in Croatia.

Similar view, bit further on, next day.

A village. Called Kazje, if you're interested.

My route through Slovenia has been, more or less, starting in the north west, meandering down southwards, then heading to the east, and following the border up in a north easterly direction. There are some suggested routes on the tourist maps, and I followed these wherever I could.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this such well tended garden.

In general, there are a lot of well looked after gardens. That's as well as the flowers that tumble over balconies everywhere, masses and masses of flowers. When I get home I'll resurrect my two window boxes and plant geraniums, but it will be a shadow of the flowers here.

Just in this particular are, there are houses everywhere you look, lots of vines too, it's a wine area.

This little train winds in and out of Croatia as it follows the valley, the country boundary is the river.

Next I went to the castle in Ptuj, and then met up with Branko Ambrozi.

Best regards

David Barker

Actually I'm now in Hungary, and still a few days late with this epistle.

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