Slovenia

     There were 3 stops in Slovenia, Lipica, the home of the famous Lipizzaner horses, the Postojna caves, and the fortified Church of the Holy Trinity, with gorgeous 15th century frescoes. 

     In order to explore the Postojna caves, you ride a little train deep into the cave system for about 2 km to the Great Mountain. Then you walk on paved pathways across the Russian Bridge to explore on foot. All tours are guided and no one can leave the paths. The official policy is No Photos, but our guide said that she had given up making people behave. So in the interest of diplomacy, we could take a limited number of no flash photos discretely. After viewing the proteus ( no photo strictly enforced) in the Concert Hall, we again boarded the train to the entrance. The temperature is a cool constant and I loved the hooded hobbit capes which you could rent if you didn't have a jacket.

    The small Church of the Holy Trinity sits on a hill in the village of Hrastovlje and was built as protection from those pesky Turks. The interior frescoes were completed in 1490 and feature stories of redemption. The best known of the frescoes is the Dance of Death. Frescoes in the side naves show the zodiac signs with work associated with that period of the year. A guide greets you at the door and gives explanations of the various aspects of the church. There is a recording in English. A small entrance fee is charged.

     The Lipica Stud Farm is a huge complex of stables, arenas, training facilities, museum, chapel, gift shop, restaurant, hotel, park, and even a golf course. I spent most of a day here viewing 2 training sessions, a competition (not with Lipizzaner horses), a guided tour of the stables, carriage museum, the museum dedicated to the breed, and then a performance of the older horses. Schooling begins at age 4 and lasts 8 years before a horse is ready for performing. Only stallions are used for the shows. Mares are used for the carriages. We were able to visit the stables where the young foals were kept. They are born dark and by age 7, start losing their color to become the famous white horses. A certain small percentage never lose their birth color.

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