Start with a visit to limestone caves, gingerly down moss slick stairs with a matchstick tangle of trees at the bottom where the river on fury days tumbled through here. The caves themselves are immense, like stalactitic airplane hangars dissolving into darkness. We walk twenty paces, let our eyes adjust, twenty paces more and so on. Sometimes they open on the other side to pooled glades, we echo our way through an hour before pedaling on.
This area sees considerable logging, we’re on roads built for that, truck wide and crowned, drizzle turns to pour, I hang back to avoid the rooster tail, soaked but it’s warm and the initial dismay discomfort reaches equilibrium soon enough. Good pace so good time toward Ljubljana.
Lunch stop on a bench next to another tiny house with a saint and holy image under the one tree in a wide open rollingscape. We talk about paper we’re going to write and conferences we’ll organize, unusual and pleasant to be traveling with another philosopher. Once we descend it will be straight lines on tractor tracks perpendicular and parallel to a road trafficked enough to be going somewhere.
Reach it by late afternoon, navigating the outskirts and then into the center, stop on a bridge to hear an activist musical performance, clap along with the hippie dressed gathering. Press on, Jack’s talking about the dragons and we find them gracing the ends of a bridge. Sit at a cafe, espresso and beer, respectively, watch the dense throng in that small European summer way, sitting on the terraces along the river, street performance food stalls life sized chess next to fountains and statues on flagstone walkways or round squares. Spend the night at a tidy hostel after late walking around gelato and crowd watching.
This southern central part of the country isn’t mountainous, but the hills come bright cymbal crashes to our tired legs again and again, ride through small developments that might count as suburbs, through ploughland. One lane roads nearer the lake, above it now and the loop we won’t pack up right away but instead with all our gear see the sights round Bled that we missed earlier until the last hour to pull everything off the rentals and bring them back. Tomorrow early car to the airport to Brussels to cross the ocean train subway walk turn down the street key stairs home.