To the south-southwest of Ljubljana lies the province of Notranjska. What characterises Notranjska, apart from the abundant, verdant forest greenery (oh, and bears – except they’re brown and harder to find) covering the greater part of it, is that it is the place where rivers and water play games: now you see me, now you don’t.
It’s Karst country, and is described as being like a ginormous Swiss cheese. Full of holes. Above ground. Underground. At Planina and Cerknica their respective lakes fill whenever there has been a lot of rain. Like this summer. Cerknisko Jezero (Cerknica Lake) glistened in the sunlight (a rain-free day). Peaceful Still. Mirror-like. Reflective. Framed by trees and woodland. And a Marko Pogacnik installation. http://www.markopogacnik.com/about.html
A lone fisherman was drifting, silhouetted, somewhere in the vicinity of the “middle.” Wherever that is! Did he catch the trout I had for lunch? Cooked to perfection at a local gostilna. It is said that when the lake drains, the locals busy themselves scooping up fish by the barrow-ful. No prizes for guessing what’s for dinner each night in Cerknica and surrounding villages!
Valvasor, a pioneer of the study of the Karst lakes phenomena, described it this way: the lakes are fields sitting above collapsed caverns, full of sinkholes, potholes, siphons and underground tunnels. After continuing rain they gradually fill and the water finds a vertical pathway to the surface creating broad, shallow lakes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Weikhard_von_Valvasor
So that’s disappearing lakes. Rakov Skocjan is the place to go and see a disappearing river phenomenon. It’s a 6km long gorge of hollows, caves, springs together with big and little natural bridges. Standing on one side of a bridge you can see a river resembling a still, calm pool. Walk across the bridge to the other side and the river transforms into a foaming, turbulent torrent of water sending shock waves through the gorge.
Then again, on another day, there may be nothing there at all. Just the rocks, trees, flowers, birds and insects, ferns, mosses and lichens. And a lot of water hiding.