Published: June 28th 2012June 26th 2012
Island in Lake Bled
Groom must carry bride up these stairs
We went to the train station and bought tickets for Zagreb tomorrow and Lake Bled today. (For some reason I thought we got bus tickets and tried to get on one, but it was a train ticket… not much difference in time or money!) The train was electric, very comfortable; it stopped at every small town and took an hour to get to Lecce Bled. From there we took a 10 minute bus to the small resort town of Bled.
The Lake Bled was as beautiful as all the descriptions we had read. It truely felt like Switzerland! The weather was so nice, sunny, 70 degrees, delightful place. We decided to walk around the lake, 3.5 miles, which the guide book says takes 1.5 hours without stops for photos. Our walk took almost 4 hours! We took lots of photos, watched the swans, meandered leisurely. There is a castle on the cliff over looking the lake and a small island in the middle with a staircase leading from the landing to the very cute little Baroque church with bell tower.
There are traditional “pletna” boats on the lake to take visitors to the island for
a mere 12 euro (or one can swim, which we saw several times). The “pletnas” are hand-made boats, similar to Venice’s gondolas, made the same way since the 17th
century. There are 21 official “pletnas” and a union of sorts that the gondoliers belong to. The oarsmen put the earnings in one fund, give a cut to the tourist board and then equally split the rest among the union members.
The island is also a destination wedding site. The groom is supposed to carry his bride up the 99 stairs to prove his worthiness to wed! Since it was Tuesday, we didn’t witness this event.
We stopped at Marshal Tito’s villa, now the Vila Bled Hotel, and had a beer on the terrace. Tito did have the most beautiful view of the island and its staircase. It is 95 steps up from the lake trail to the hotel (I counted). The hotel was very nice 4 ****, and supposedly has some wonderful murals of Tito propaganda in the 2nd
floor ballroom. There was a meeting going on so we could not go in to see them.
We walked another hour and
had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake and a small beach. We had mushroom soup and goulash and sampled a piece of the famous Lake Bled Cream Cake (tasted like Boston Cream Pie with a pastry crust).
I bought a small watercolor for 10 euros from an artist who was painting on the side of the lake. It will be a nice memory, and I like to support artists.
We put our feet in the lake, surprisingly warmer than the ocean has been. Then we caught the bus and the train back to Ljubljana.
We took a rest, then I headed out for the art museums and the Orthodox church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. The church is new, build in1936, soon after the Slovenes joined a political union with the Serbs. There are frescos on all the walls and ceiling, and an incredible painted “iconostasis” separating the material world from the spiritual world. There were icons everywhere, and a tiled floor, no pews. I lit a candle for my new grandson who should be born very soon.
Then I crossed the street to see the Museum
of Modern Art, where I spent several hours. The permanent collection began with the 1900s. There were a dozen bromoil photographs, some Dadaist photograms and photo collages, and some prints from paper negatives. They let me take some photographs.
The current exhibit was most interesting: the art of Marko Pogacnik: “The Art of Life-The Life of Art.” “The Art of Life” showed the artist’s approach to working together with the natural world and his personal interpretations of places and regions. The second part demonstrated his ideas of the use of language of art in communicating with nature’s consciousness and raising human awareness of the environment and space. There were large space installations made of natural materials and a walk through model of a 9-dimensional model of the earthly universe. Many people were involved in the making and installing of “geopuncture circles” in different countries, including US/Kentucky, definitely a good example of public art.
I met Gary for a beer near our rooms. We went to dinner in the restaurant below our rooms. It is very crowded at lunch but only the “roomers” were around for dinner. We ate outside in the “garden” and had
gnocchi, grilled meat (2 kinds of sausage, chicken, porkchop), and the salad bar (lots of potato salad, saurkraut, lentils, etc.) and a local wine. Nice evening.
More Photos Below!
There are more photos below