BledBuoyed by Bled
Welcome to Bled! Yes, it really looks like that. Always.
Well it's been a while. I haven't stopped traveling, and in all honesty I haven't stopped writing either. But I've been pretty bad at posting updates here. After a while there were been enough trips that the backlog rather became its own excuse etc. etc. oh good gods look at the pile etc. etc. eldritch horrors etc. etc.
In early 2017, I like to think I had turned a corner on the previous year. My employers seemed to think so, and I was bundled off to a meeting of the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee. Dan, you may ask, aren't you a policy guy? Do you know how to science? Why, no hypothetical blog reader, I really don't. Yet if the past five years have taught me anything, it's that science and policy could stand to be on better speaking terms. Which was pretty much my role at the meeting. With the help of a few friends who are much smarter than me we transmuted two papers I had written on technical and campaign issues into a science project. All of which is well and good, but does nothing to alleviate the dread of presenting said policy papers
to an audience of experts. In the end, the whole trip was a good one, apart from waking up each morning to horrid news from my current administration. The Bled Wedding
But I'm getting sidetracked. It's a travel blog, and the job's kind of the plot element that gets me to a spot more than anything else. Not that this explains much. For a bunch of whale scientists, Bled is about the strangest pick for a conference venue. Not only is it located in a country with 40ish kilometers of coastline, but it's about as far from that little sliver as can be. Bled is a small mountain town hugging the shores of a mirror calm lake. It's a postcard ready location, complete with a castle perched atop a cliff over the lake, and a small church on the one island in the middle. It's all tremendously beautiful, the kind of calming place that has drawn everyone from 18th Century Poets, to Marshall Tito, to current Presidential ghoul Donald Trump to its shores. It’s quiet, and in the off seasons not quite a place for solitude, but at least for reflection.
The same, could not be said of
my hotel room. The first day I dumped my bags in the room, went off to check in for the conference, then shuffled back to shower and take a nap. After a while I opened the bathroom door and was surprised to find a number of ants going about their business. Blurry and jetlagged, I wiped them away with the welcome card, then went out again.
This was a mistake. By the evening they had regrouped. Flicking on the lights revealed a living bathroom floor, hostile to my plans for a shower. A little too proud to admit defeat, and a little too antisocial to ask for help I turned to hydropower and tried to blast the foe down the drain. Which seemed to work, until I flushed the toilet and ants poured out. That’s about when I decided the ants could keep the room. Fortunately the hotel staff took my vaguely described horror story seriously, and bumped me up to a suite. Which was hardly the worst outcome. Plus breakfast at the five star hotel next door was a delight. I rarely eat so well. Certainly I never plan to. Give us this day our Daily Bled.
Me by the church in the middle of the lake.
Bled's nice. Really. It's one of my favorite places on earth. If I ever get married, it's on the shortlist for a location. Apart from the backdrop though, there's not a lot to do. In a sense that makes it the best place to be for two weeks of work. It's quiet, and easy to build up a new routine with few distractions. Almost every night I found myself circling the lake by foot, looking up at the stars, the mountains, and the water around me. I wish I had found more answers in that time, but it's a calm island in my memories. It's also fairly close to Triglav National Park, an alpine paradise of towering peaks and knife sharp ravines filled with turquoise rivers. On our free day I walked to Vintgar Gorge, the closest of these points. The trip took maybe an hour’s hard walking out of the little bowl of hills around Bled and then over through a downright pastural scene to reach the place. I was a little winded, but not disappointed by the time I got there. Another night I wandered into the hills until I got good and lost in pitch darkness, and
Another day was spent wandering until my feet hurt. the surrounding area's just as gorgeous as one would expect.
nearly broke a leg for my troubles. Still worth it in the end.
Both visits were like that. We'll return to the blog for a second visit to Bled, but for now it'll suffice to say that it's wonderful little place. Stay for a day, return to the waking world and realize a hundred years have passed.
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