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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 46.3607, 14.0786
As we drove the transfer from Croatia into Slovenia on Monday we couldn't think of any famous Slovenians, but given that this country has a population of just 2 million perhaps that is not surprising. This is doing them an injustice really as we have since learned that since 1960 they have won several Olympic medals for rowing, and have the beautiful Lake Bled as their national training ground - right outside the gates of the campsite.
Camp Bled is on the opposite side of the lake to the town but not too far, so yesterday after a drive out to our first Lidl of the trip and a bumper shop (David said he hadn't seen me so excited about grocery shopping for ages - decent fresh produce and a good range of meat seems to have eluded us at supermarkets in Croatia - the language barrier didn't help), we walked a circumnavigation on the easy level path. We took yet more photographs, from all directions, as the Lake and surrounding area are very picturesque, with wooded hillsides, distant mountains and pretty villas, but the focal point is most definitely Bled Island topped with the Church of the Virgin Mary.
morning, we sampled a local speciality - Bled Cake - a sort of deluxe custard slice - with a coffee at the nearby rowing centre. Delicious it was too and must be laden with calories made with such creamy ingredients and a generous dusting of icing sugar.
We then did another 'must-do' and took a 'pletna' (small, flat-bottomed, wooden boat, propelled from the rear with two oars - think punt crossed with a gondola) across to the island where we visited the church and indulged in the tradition of making a wish while ringing the bell. The building is quite small but ornately decorated with paintings and a gleaming, golden altarpiece.
With just 30 minutes allocated on the island, we walked around the pathways, then climbed the 90 stairs to the top of the lookout bell tower which houses a large pendulum clock, before taking the boat back to the shore near the campsite.
After lunch, we drove out to Vintgar in order to walk the mile-long gorge of the same name. This is where the Radovna River has cut a deep chasm between the hills of Hom and Borst. Discovered in 1891, the Vintgar Gorge was opened to the public after construction
of wooden boardwalks, bridges and pathways with the water below rushing over rapids and cascades. The culmination of the walk is the magnificent 16-metre high Sum waterfall - the highest in Slovenia. We were blessed with seeing a beautiful double rainbow through its spray before retracing our route back to the car.
This is our first visit to Slovenia but we intend that it will not be our last. The people are very friendly, and being taught English from an early age they are keen to communicate and pass on knowledge of their country. Indeed, whilst at Banjole in Croatia, a Slovenian couple recommended that we visit Postojna and the caves which are apparently the largest in Europe. Next time!
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