Awakened in our beautiful, modern hotel on a chilly mountain morning, overlooking the picture-postcard Lake Bled.
The lake is surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps, still capped with snow. We drive around the lake after breakfast and climb up to the Bled Castle perched on a cliff high above (you can see the castle beyond the island church in the above photo).
A castle view above Lake Bled. The castle was built in the early 12th century to protect against local foes and later the Ottaman empire. It became less important as time moved on, but was later used as an SS headquarters by the Nazis during WWII. They left with most of the treasures and burned the rest near the end of the war.
The castle is beautifully preserved with not-too-hokey demonstrations of black smithing, bee keeping, and wine making (vineyards not far away). The wine in Croatia and Slovenia is good and getting better all the time by the way. Some American wine makers are helping develop the art there.
It’s also the perfect place for this young, just married couple to save some money on wedding photography using the art of the Selfie.
Later in the afternoon we take a trip on the unique Pletna boats (no motorized conveyances allowed on the lake) to a tree framed island in the middle of the lake.
The old church, 100 steps above the lake…
…is restored marginally with only a few of it’s original fittings still on display. We discover the real charm of the church for us is the modern art displayed in an upstairs gallery.
A local glass maker and local abstract artist really brighten up the drab restorations as we listen to the visitors ringing the “good luck” bell in the belfry by pulling the rope in the sanctuary three times. Some take it very seriously.
To end the afternoon, we drive an hour to a magnificent national park, Lake Bohinj, surrounded by majestic mountains.
The statue in the background honors the first team to climb the highest mountain in the area in 1775…while wearing wooden clogs! Don’t make climbers like the used to I guess.
The two statues in the foreground walked across the street to a well-known restaurant and had a “light” lunch of indigenous goulash (huge and delicious) a sensible salad, and a mixed grill that included over one half each of a chicken, pig, steer, plus several sausages. Needless to say dinner was scant.
To try to work off the LUNCH we trekked off on a three and a half mile hike around Lake Bled. A must do if you’re ever here. It was crowded as we are in the heart of a National holiday, but the scenery is gorgeous. And, believe it or no, it did give us a slight chance of eating something for dinner.
The other thing we forgot to mention, just for your edification, Ljubljana is Melanie Trump’s hometown. Yes.
Tomorrow to the Postojna Caves and on to Opatija, back into Croatia. good night!