Lord of the Rings has nothing on me!

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Mar 25, 2008

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Flag of Slovenia  ,
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Guest blogger Dave here.  We arrived in Ljubljana at 6AM, it was still way dark. After stuffing our packs into the lockers at the train station, we decided to go explore the town.  It was Monday morning, all the students are arriving into the city for school.  We, on the other hand, were leisurely strolling along the city.  It was quite a quaint little town.

After the morning stroll around town, it was time to head out to the Skocjan Caves.  This is the only UNESCO Heritage Site in Slovenia, so it was a definite "do-not-miss" on our list for Slovenia.  The "silent cave" portion was like any other cave with the typical stalactites and stalagmites.  But the "rustling" cave portion is the reason to visit the caves.  As the Reka River reaches Skocjan, it dives underground.  The resultant spectacular sight is something out of "Lord of the Rings."  We felt like Frodo and company traveling the underground world of Moria.  As we looked over the sheer cliff edges, there was no where to go but straight down into the rushing ravine.  We even had to cross a bridge high over the water; that was knee-knockingly intense.  It reminded me of the scene where Gandalf was fighting the Balrog in LOTR-Fellowship of the Ring.

Feeling advanturous, we decided to drive to Italy, just to say that we were there.  The closest Italian city was Trieste, so that was where we headed.  Just to preface, I don't drive stick-shift.  The last time I drove stick I had to push the car backwards everytime I needed the car to go in reverse.  since then, after much research, I had learned that theoretically you either have to pull up or push down to shift into reverse.  Given my novice status in gear-shifting, imaging my dismay as we crossed the border and had to start going downhill to enter the bustling port city.  What I was worried about is "what goes down must come up!"  Sure enough, not only were there no signs to direct us back into Slovenia, it was also 6PM so traffic hour was in full force with impatient drivers and crazy pedestrians who didn't realize they were putting their lives in danger stepping out into the street in front of my wheels.  The most harrowing point was when I was "forced" into a driveway in a very steep canyonish residential neighborhood.  In trying to turn around, I had to back out up-hill away from the driveway into another.  I almost ran through their gate with their dog peeping through the door crack.  Then because the lane was so narrow, I had to make another even steeper turn backwards so I can point the front of the rental car downhill again.  Well, as luck would have it, another car came down the mountain just to exert a little more pressure.  As my little VW Fox kept wanting to ram into the wall as I wasn't sure how to make the car go against gravity, Lily got out of the car to help direct.  What I was thinking was, "Good move, this way the dent won't be as big as there would be less force when I crash into the wall."  Again, please realize I only learned how to put the car in reverse 6 hours prior to this, and this is the third day in my life I have ever driven a stick.  Miraculously, I was able back up.  I either released the clutch slightly more than the brake or something like that, or God just pulled the car backwards (I think the latter is the more likely possibility).  We made it back down to the coast so we can give it another shot at the Slovenian border.  Ultimately, Lily was able to navigate us up-hill through random Italian villages and back to the border checkpoint as the sun sets behind us.  I had never been so happy to cross a border in my life!  -DC

Lily here, all i can say is it was quite a ride to get some Italian gelato. we didn't even get a border crossing stamp. Too busy trying not to stall and hold up the traffic.        &nbs p;     
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lilyc on

Re: Brotherly Love..........................
yah, itoe definitely éxciting´when you are facing death from simply driving a car. never knew driving can be so hard. i guess that´s why i stick to navigating. then again, itoe not really brotherly love. i think itoe more his obsessive need for control :). oh yeah, instead of 3 days of experience, i would have none. Amazing Race would be boring with us in there. I can think of many people that would be more exciting to watch. any ideas?

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