Slovenia Caves and a Castle (in a cave)

I’ve started to realize that I’ve been planning all my trips lately based on a single photo or comment from someone about a particular locale.  For Slovenia, it was a photo of Vintgar Gorge (I’ll share photos from this place soon) which was amazing but I had to find other things to do as well.  Turns out, Slovenia is amazing, especially if you like hiking.  It’s filled with awesome canyons, caves, castles on islands, delicious food and its inexpensive compared to Western Europe.  After just a few days it became one of my favorite countries in Europe.  It’s easy to find cool sites in Slovenia and we found two on the way to Lake Bled from Croatia.  Predjama Castle and Škocjan Caves, the latter of which is also a UNESCO site.

Predjama Castle
Predjama Castle

We visited Predjama castle first which is not just a castle but a castle in a cave (the best kind.)  There’s a long and interesting history to the castle but I’ll just share my favorite anecdote.  In the 15th century this robber baron named Erazem was holding down the castle.  The kingdom of Hungary was mad at him and sent an army to try and take it over.  For a year and a half, Erazem held off his enemy and by using a secret tunnel in the back of the castle could obtain fresh food to prevent being starved out.  They taunted their befuddled attackers by throwing fresh cherries at them from the castle – the attackers thought witchcraft was at work – how else could they get the fresh cherries?  Eventually, the besiegers bribed a servant to reveal when Erazem went to the toilet.  When he did, they fired a cannonball at that part of the castle (the weakest section also) and killed him while he sat on his (other) throne.  The tour inside the castle is 12 euros and worth it. Continue reading “Slovenia Caves and a Castle (in a cave)”

Dear Taylor…These Travel Tips (and more) Are For You (and everyone else)

Dear Taylor S.,

Sorry we left you hanging for awhile. We received your message while we were in Budapest, on another vacation (how fitting since you mentioned you appreciate travel tips).

 

In any case, congratulations on accepting your 2016 invitation to be a Kyrgyz Republic Peace Corps Volunteer!

To settle any confusion, I am not talking to myself; there will be another Taylor joining the Kyrgyzstan Volunteer community next year.

Below are some tips for you as well as for other volunteers coming to Kygyzstan.

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To give you a taste of what’s waiting for you:

You will soon know what all of the following mean:

PST, LCF, HE, TEFL, SCD (hope you already know this one), LPI, PM, CD, SSM, DO, PCMO, IST, MST, COS, SPA, PCGO, GLOW, TOBE, PSN, VAC, VRF, EAP…not done yet…PDM, MRE, FLEX, ACKG, PCT, PCVT, PCV, RPCV, PCL, and everyone’s favorite, RADAR (I actually forgot what that stands for, but you’ll find out soon enough).

Nurlan, Usubaly, Naima, Mariia, Sultan, and Leila, will become common names for you to say.

You will begin to become familiar with statues like this:

 

And you will be able to say (and read) the following without batting an eye:

Менин атым Тейлор. Мен жыйырма…  жаштамын жана мен Америкадан келдим. Мен Тынчтык Корпусу бизнес волонтёрмун.

Seriously.

And there’s a good chance you will start to miss things like this (unless you are a vegetarian or lactose intolerant, in which cases you will not be alone; other volunteers have found their way). Hint: Eat/drink as much of your favorite foods as you can over the next 6 months. Ah! The countdown has begun!

Continue reading “Dear Taylor…These Travel Tips (and more) Are For You (and everyone else)”