I haven’t just been a travel blogger, 2016 has changed me into a notorious travel blogger. Slovenia happened in one such crazy way. I opened the Europe map and tried seeing various countries I could do as summer had not completely set in. Thats when I chanced upon Slovenia. After an hour of research I was convinced that my next expedition had to be Green country – Slovenia. There could be one more reason I decided to go there, it is officially stated that the people in Slovenia are ridiculously good looking…need I say more 🙂
While I am in love with most European cities as each has a charm of its own, this time around I selected my base as a small town known as Bled. I booked Adria airlines which is Slovenia’s local airlines that flies from Zürich that meant I would take a train from Basel to Zürich and then an hour flight to Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia.
I started on a rainy day from Switzerland and prayed that I land on a dry ground in Slovenia. The prayers well answered, it was not only dry but sunny too with a few clouds just as hosts to welcome their guest 🙂
The first thing I tend to do when I land in a country is get a local sim card. Ljubljana has a very modest airport with just a few shops and thus I did not find a sim. There are shuttle taxis available at the airport that take you to the city and to Bled too. I had booked a solo taxi in advance and hopped into one. A word of caution is to agree on the fare well in advance before hiring a cab.
Bled: Bled is a lake town of Slovenia, a popular tourist destination and is around 50 kms from Ljubljana. I stayed at Best Western in Bled and reached around 14.00. Wanting to make most of the day, I quickly packed my travel pack with bare essentials and left to see the town. It wasn’t difficult to gauge that it had the characteristics of any small town where the information office closed afternoon hours and the fact that everyone knew each other.
I bonded with a local over lunch and made friends with him. He recommended I do an adventure day trip and wouldn’t regret it. I instantly booked one – more on that later. I walked with him to the Bled lake where he headed to work and I moved around.
1. Lake Bled is a lake that lies in the northwest of Slovenia.
It is 2120 meters (6,960 feet) long, up to 1380 meters (4,530 ft) wide with a maximum depth of 29.5 meters (97 feet) and it is of the tectonic origin, After the last Ice Age, the Bohinj Glacier deepend its natural tectonic hollow and gave it its present form. When the ice melted the basin was filled with water. The lake is lovely to behold from almost any vantage point, and makes a beautiful backdrop for the 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) walk along the shore.
I had not seen a more beautiful lake than this one before. Lush green gardens, lazing swans, little swimming ducks, beautiful boats and the lake.
I sat on one of the benches just soaking in the beauty and telling myself…yes these memories are mine forever.
2. Church of Assumption: Right in the middle of the lake is the church of Assumption. It is the most picturesque church I have seen so far. Just like the one I saw in fairytales.The church has a 52 meters (171 feet) tower and there is a Baroque stairway from 1655 with 99 stone steps leading up to the building.
The present form of the church dates from the 17th century when it was renovated after another earthquake.
The Legend goes that a temple used to stand on the island, dedicated to Živa, the Slavic goddess of love, which was protected by the priest Staroslav and his daughter Bogomila. When Črtomir, the leader of the pagans visited the island, Bogomila and him fell in love. Out of fear for Črtomir’s life, Bogomila converted to Christianity in the times of battles between the followers of the Christian and Pagan faith and then stayed with her father at the location of the new church. Later on, Črtomir also converted to Christianity and became a missionary.
And another one of the sunken bell goes as once upon a time there lived a young widow in the castle of Bled. Her husband was killed by robbers and his body was thrown into the lake. She was so inconsolable that she gathered all her gold and silver and cast a bell for the chapel on the island, in memory to her husband. But the bell didn’t arrive there. The bell, the boat and boatmen sank during a terrible storm. The desperate widow sold all her property after this accident. She offered the proceeds for the construction of a new church on the island. She left Bled and lived the rest of her life in Rome as a nun. After her death the Pope had heard of her misfortune and of her good deeds during her life as a nun, so in memory to her he decide to make a new bell. He said that anyone that rings the bell three times and believes in God, his or her wish would come true.
I love listening to legends and sharing them with you all.
While on the boat to the Church of Assumption I made friends with a guy from Singapore. He was a rapper and rapped all the way to the church.
The good part about summer days is that the sun sets around 21.00 and we have a nice day to make the most of our trips.
3. Bled Castle: I was back to the garden act 18.30 and wanted to take some good shots from atop the castle. On the way I met these two couples from England to confirm if that was the right way and they looked at me and smiled. Are you going to bike it up or walk? The ladies chuckled while the men looked serious. I felt too embarrassed to say I didn’t know how to ride a bike and thus pointed at my two feet. Oh all the best said the uncle patting my back. I was full of zeal and thought the climb to be just a 20 min brisk walk uphill….it turned out to be a mountain. But it was so beautiful and I was the only one climbing that I had to capture it in a video.
Once I reached the castle I saw taxis, private vehicles and buses but still I was happy to make it up the climb.
The castle has a winery, a small church, an iron foundry and a beautiful cafe atop. The views of the lake and the island are spectacular from the top.
4. Cremeschnitte: I climbed down the castle when it had begun to drizzle. The local had recommended to try the Bled cake which is locally known as Cremeschnitte. The town is full of locally run restaurants and cafe each offering the Cremeschnitte. I settled for a cozy and less crowded one at the corner of lake. After a quick chat with the owner I got to know that he offered 25 types of coffee and I chose a peanut butter coffee with the cake.
The market square was close and so was the post and information office. I read my novel for sometime before calling it a day.
5. The Vintgar Gorge: The next day I decided to finish seeing everything that Bled had to offer and headed to experience the most intact nature of Bled – The Vintgar Gorge. The vintgar gorge is around 4 km from bled by foot but I never realised the distance as the the town is so scenic.
The Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6 km stretch of greenery with naturally formed waterfalls, pools and rapids. The educational trail leads you over wooden bridges and Žumr’s galleries, and ends with a bridge overlooking the mighty 13 m high Šum waterfall.
It was one of the best walking trails of my life. The pictures will give you some idea but friends to experience it is a totally different thing. I chose to go there in the morning to avoid the crowds and thankfully I did not find a single soul till I returned.
I stop my Slovenia adventure here covering Bled, the part two will be the caves fun 🙂 Covering Slovenia in one post would be too unjust so stay tuned for more 🙂
Part two: Triglav National Park