Postcards of beautiful Bled, only 50 cents!
Although we didnt know about Slovenia until recently, when we started doing a bit of research, one region was repeatedly described as very beautiful, the Julian Alps in the northeast of the country. When we left Ljubljana, we hopped on a bus to take us to the small town of Bled
, next to an alpine lake of the same name. Fresh off the bus, we set out to look for the hostel when a lady came up to us and offered to drive us to her guesthouse. We figured we didnt have much to lose so we hopped in. It turned out to be an amazing deal. We got a full apartment (i.e. with kitchen, entertainment area, bathroom, bedroom) within a short walk of the lake for only 15 euros each. That's cheaper than the hostels we've been staying at!
All settled into our fancy pad, we walked out to visit the lake.
Row, row, row your boat
Nestled amongst the surrounding hills and distant mountains, this is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. It is just as nice as the ones I've visited in the Canadian Rockies (and much warmer). To add to the image, there is a small island in the middle of the lake with a small church. We rented a boat and rowed out across the tranquil water to this nice spot. Inside the church, you can ring the bell and it is said to grant your wish. We could hear this bell dinging while we walked around the lake and we were eager to give it a try ourselves. Since that day was my Dad's birthday, I wished him a good one as I tolled the bell. Emma rang it seven times to wish good health for seven people she knows (guess who). Before setting off again in our boat, we took a swim in the water.
A nice view from the castle
I found a high tree branch and jumped into the clear blue lake while Emma swam in the more conventional way.
Later in the day we went swimming some more, but I'm a paranoid traveller and I was too nervous about someone stealing our stuff that didn't stay in for long. Emma, on the other hand, swam halfway back to the island. That evening a huge thunderstorm came and we took refuge in nearby Chinese restaurant, where I had a tasty meal. That night I watched the World Cup final on tv. I have been following the tournament during my time in Europe, including the game we watched outside in Cologne. I'm not normally a football (soccer in North America) fan, but I wanted to get an authentic European experience, and many of the countries we've been to have been football crazy during the tournament.
I've enjoyed watching many of the games (and nearly fallen asleep during others), I must admit I have been dreaming of the upcoming hockey season when I get back to Canada. Anyway, I was rooting for France in that match and I was disappointed that they lost, especially in the arbitrary shoot-out.
On Monday, we did some more exploring of the surrounding area. First, we climbed a hill to visit a castle overlooking Lake Bled. The view from the top was stunning! Next, we took a hike to a nearby canyon, which was also fairly impressive. A wooden walkway criss-crosses the gorge and takes you from its beginning to the waterfall at its end. It was a hot day and we wanted to swim under the waterfall, but we got too scared and suffered through the heat instead. When we returned to our lake, Emma went for another swim and I took a one-hour hike up a hill to scenic lookout. It took me a while to find the panoramic spot amongst the woods, but when I did I was glad I had made the trip. I pulled out my trusty camera and took my own shots of this wonderful view, the same view you get on hundreds of postcards in the town below.