Lake Bled

The only island
Bled, Slovenia

 


Off on another day trip today.

And feeling even more tired than yesterday.

But I dragged myself off out into the rain (again) and was picked up at 8.30am. This time, we’re heading North. The first stop was at a small old town about half an hour out of Ljubljana.

Skofja Loka. One of the oldest towns in Slovenia. Today is a public holiday in Slovenia. And it was deserted. No one around. And all the shops were shut. It was quite a cute town, lots of old buildings on two streets. Part of the old city walls. An old bridge – one of the oldest in Europe, and that’s about it!

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Next stop – the one I had been looking forward to.

Lake Bled.

A couple of years ago I had seen photos of this lake and that’s when I decided I had to come. It looked so pretty. Today, it looked less pretty as the sky was a dull grey, full of clouds and raining on and off. Which was a shame.

The lake is the main tourist spot of the country. And is relatively small, 2km long by 1.5km wide. We stopped for some photos at various points along the shoreline. Baby ducks swimming along the edge. And nice views of the water, with the little island (only island in Slovenia), green alpine forest trees and the snow covered mountains in the background.

The only island in Slovenia, in the middle of the lake, has a small church and a cafe on it, plus 99 steps up to get to them. And the only way to get to the island is by a small rowing boat.

These boats are rowed by men from special families, and only 6 families are allowed to operate these boats! They have rather a monopoly and charge a fortune – EUR14 per person (!) to get across. They squeeze about 20 people on each boat, so are doing pretty well…! The island wasn’t too exciting.

It took about 5 minutes to walk along all the way around the edge and up to the church. But we were stuck here for the next 40 minutes. So I just sat around doing nothing.

Once back on the main land, we headed up the hill to try castle which sits on the hill by the side of the lake. We didn’t fancy going inside, so clambered up some rubble at one side of the castle and ended up with amazing views back over the lake and across the valley behind. It was so pretty.

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For lunch we stopped off in a small alpine town. There was piles of snow littered across the ground. The restaurant served only local style food – options being various combinations of sauerkraut, mushrooms, potatoes, beans, dried meat, cheese or sausages. Weird. I didn’t feel like eating that kind of food (even though I was so hungry). But given I was here, I should try something local. So got sauerkraut, beans and potato stew. I thought it was going to be mostly beans and potatoes with a tiny bit of sauerkraut on the side as a condiment. Totally wrong. It was 99% sauerkraut. Totally weird. I struggled through some of it, but didn’t manage much!

Next up, Bohinj. This is another large glacial lake, sitting between several snowy mountains. And right under Triglav, the highest peak of Slovenia. The road and pavements were full of piles of snow. It was pretty – a small bridge, church, loads of tulips and the large flat lake.

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Again, shame it was cloudy. The last stop of the day was a 2km walk along the Radovna River, through Vintgar gorge. Of course it started raining again. But it was so pretty. Bright blue and green water, swirling over rocks, small white waterfalls and greenery everywhere.

They have built a wooden walkway the whole length of the narrow rock gorge, so you can walk along, with the water right next to and under you. Right at the end were a few waterfalls. As it had been raining (and snowing) for the past few days the water level was pretty high and there was a lot of spray coming from the waterfall. So not only were we wet from the rain, but also the waterfall.

It took about 45 minutes to drive back to the city. I got another takeaway rice noodle and vegetable dinner. And tried the icecream shop again – it was open! So I got some chocolate and vanilla rice milk gelato. It was amazing!

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Time to head home. I left at 8am and had to walk back to up the train station for my shuttle to the airport. This time we picked up several people enroute and a journey that should have taken 20 minutes took nearly an hour. Ridiculous.

And lucky I wasn’t in a rush! The airport is tiny. But scanning was a joke. The woman confiscated my fork. Since when was a fork banned?! I walked 10m away from scanning and the cafe next door had metal forks for people to use. So stupid. I was annoyed.

We left on time at 11am. Flying to Luton airport, as there are no other options. Don’t think I’ve ever been to Luton before. Luton seemed a very small airport. Within 10 minutes I was off the plane, through security and on the bus to the train station! Very efficient.

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