cheeky little river..
You might not even notice this little river much behind the rich green forest leaves as you excitedly walk along the secret path to Predjama castle from the Lodge..
In high summer time the water might be just burbling along as your secret companion to the castle, but you will probably take time to admire it when you cross the bridge that you must go over on your final approach to the most unique castle in the world..
Your reward for walking here is to be just moments from your first and the best view of the largest medieval cliff fortress in the world..
And if you pause for a moment on the bridge you can also wave bye bye to the river as it starts the cheekiest bit of it's journey!
First we need to know that Mt Nanos (1,313m) is Slovenia's last mountain before the Mediterranean and apart from providing stunning views from the Lodge back garden it also controls the weather.. and the water.
Yes, Nanos is like a huge green city in the sky and forms a massive geological rock barrier that marks a dividing point for water in this long section of central Europe..
So every drop of water that lands or flows on the other side of Nanos should end up in the Adriatic Mediterranean sea and all the water on our Predjama castle side should flow off towards the Danube and ulimately in the Black sea..
Well not the Lokva as this river is called! This cheeky little river starts here on the Black Sea side of Nanos and sneaks through the cave under Predjama castle to reach the Vipava valley on the other side of the rock cliff and ends up in the Adriatic sea!!
By the way, if you check on googlemaps it only shows a small section of the river.. Not far into the secret walk you will meet up with some of the many little forest tributaries that whizz past you from all directions and gush into the Lokva.
Soon enough you will meet the river at the bottom point of the secret track and then the curvy river stays with you like a soulmate all the way to the castle.
More and more water gushes into the main flow from little forest streams on the way and then the Lokva rushes off to disappear into one of the many caves in the huge Karst rock wall under Predjama castle..
Have you ever heard of a river flowing INTO a cave?? The Karst geology around here is truly wierd, millions of years of water have eroded and polished secret routes & passages into the leaky limestone rock all over the place.
After a lot of effort the river finally pops out on the other side of the mountain in the Mediterranean.. the water has been tested with coloured dye to see where it finally ends up and so it is true..
This is awesome and just in keeping with the wacky nature in this corner of Green Slovenia.. when you visit the castle you will hear all about the cheeky Knight Erasmus who lived in the castle over 500 years ago and also made the most of these leaky limestone caves to baffle and confuse his enemies!
Pretty much all Lodge guests make time to hike the 40 mins to the castle along the secret forest track. It will certainly be one of the highlights of your time in Green Slovenia with the final prize being a unique view of the castle.
Once you are on the secret track, it is easy to find your way to Predjama and one of our final instructions to guests is to stay with the river.. sometimes we do not get enough time to explain how special this little river actually is, so this was a motivation to finally write this blog and get the story out there..
A last little thought.. one of the most amazing things about exploring in Green Slovenia and something that you will not realise until you are actually here is the amount of natural fresh flowing water everywhere you go.. partly cos of the 4 Alps, the huge Karst underground and the rain we get to help make this country the greenest in Europe..
It is just so pleasant to walk in green nature with the soundtrack of running water..
Maybe you will only notice this when you leave Slovenia and do not hear the sound of running water in your ears anymore.. but listen carefully on your way to the fairytale Predjama castle for the gurgling of the Lokva river and it will help you find the way.. before cheekily sneaking off somewhere where it really shouldn't be going!