Balkans Day 17 - Bled

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September 27th 2018
Published: September 27th 2018
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Today we are going to Lake Bled. I have been looking forward to this because I’ve heard it’s really beautiful, although my daughters have counselled against swimming, due to the enormous fish. It’s 4 degrees, so swimming isn’t featuring in our plans. It’s not until we leave the hostel in Ljubljana that we realise how foggy it is. However, as we head north towards the Julian Alps, the fog lifts and the sun appears.

First stop is Vintgar Gorge; a gorge with a river running through it. You can walk along a 1600m boardwalk which follows the gorge, crossing the river several times for great views of the rapids and waterfalls.

Then we continue to Bled. It’s warmed up somewhat by now, so I stop moaning about not having packed gloves and even shed one of my jumpers.

We opt to do a full circumnavigation of the lake along the 6 km of paths that skirts the water’s edge. It’s really beautiful, the water is blue-green and the lake is surrounded by trees with a backdrop of mountains. Perched on top of the cliffs is Bled Castle and in the middle is Bled Island (Slovenia’s only Island), a forested islet with a church on top.

You can reach the island by pletna, a sort of gondola with oars which docks at a jetty beneath a staircase. You then climb the 99 steps to the church. The oarsmen says that traditionally, the man should carry his wife up the stairs. The old man looks a little concerned that this tradition is going to be enforced. We have 30 minutes on the island while our exhausted oarsman takes a well earned nap. After realising that the church costs €6, we follow the little path round the island where we spot some enormous fish, then wait for our boat back to the mainland.

Our return journey is shorter, as we are dropped in a different location. We complete our (now prolonged) circuit of the lake. By the time we have retraced our steps to our guesthouse, we have walked around 8 miles and are exhausted. We check in and the old man announces he is not moving again. So I buy myself a gourmet lunch of sausage and salad from the supermarket and we have an early night.

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