I think it’s becoming awfully clear, that we really had just the greatest time in Slovenia, and I’m not even finished yet!
Isn’t it strange?
But before we go any further, I’ve just been featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!
Isn’t that cool?
I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.
Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.
Thanks so much!
Back to Slovenia!
If you had asked me about Slovenia a few years ago, I couldn’t even have shown you where it was in the map, and now I can’t stop writing about it!
Really, I’m becoming quite the (baby) expert!
Slovenia has been nothing but an utter delight!
And the Slovenian locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.
If you’re just joining, and why is that?! This is what I have written so far:
Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!
Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!
But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!
When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!
However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!
One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!
Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!
This week, I’m going to tell you about the lovely time we had at Lake Bled!
Lake Bled, otherwise known as Blejsko jezero, Bleder See, or Veldeser See, is a lake in the Julian Alps of North-Western Slovenia!
The lake is of mixed glacial and tectonic origin and is 2,120 m (6,960 ft) long, 1,380 m (4,530 ft) wide, with a maximum depth of 29.5 m (97 ft), a small island in the middle of it, and a medieval castle hanging over a cliff!
The fact is, you can’t go to Slovenia without at least spending a few hours at Lake Bled.
We decided to dedicate a complete day to it! After all, it isn’t every day that you get to go to the Julian Alp mountains, and visit the fabulous beauty of a lake that has been attracting and dazzling people for more than one thousand (1,000) years!
As you know, I’m a huge fan of taking trains, but just like Croatia, the train station for Lake Bled is a little iffy to get to. In this case, the train from Ljubljana only reaches to the Lesce train station, which is about 4.5 km from Lake Bled, and you still have to take the bus!
We decided to take the bus.
Don’t get confused. The bus station in Ljubljana doesn’t really look like a bus station, and is sort of in the middle of the road! However, there are loads of buses with signs towards Lake Bled, and you can pay for your ticket on the bus. A one way ticket is about €6.00 per person.
Cash only of course!
It took about 90 minutes and the buses are usually crammed to the brim, so take something to read, or simply look out of the window!
Once we got to the bus station, we sort of walked around the tourist office, found a little road going down a slight hill, and right there in front of us, was Lake Bled!
It was June, and boy it was hot, so the first thing we opted for was an ice-cream, and then we had another one on the way back!
On the return journey, we were approached by a little agency that offered to take us back to Ljubljana more frequently than the public bus, faster, and in a semi-private vehicle with far fewer people, at a cost of €8.00 per person, rather than €6.00!
I admit, I was a little suspicious at first as I thought it was some sort of scam, but when I insisted on a receipt, was given it with no hassle at all, and saw the very nice van, I was sold!
And true to their word, we were back in Ljubljana in less than 45 minutes!
Let’s get to it!
Absolutely ignore all those people who say that Lake Bled isn’t a thing, too many tourists, not worth the talk, is over rated, etc. It’s absolutely not true. It’s worth it and what’s more, if you’re in Slovenia, and you don’t visit, you’re a fool!
I said it!
And here’s why!
So was it any wonder that Lake Bled was on the agenda, and besides, walking around the lake was just so tranquil. A slow pace takes about three (3) to four (hours), whilst a brisk walk would probably take about an hour and a half.
Less, if you ran!
2. Bled Castle: The castle, other wise known as Blejski grad or Burg Veldes, is a 12th century medieval building that was built on a very steep cliff overlooking Lake Bled, and is the oldest castle in Slovenia!
Bled Castle is one of the most iconic places in Slovenia and is home to a museum collection, the Knights Hall, the Gothic Castle Chapel, a castle printing workshop, a wine cellar, a castle smithy, a herbal gallery, and the Castle restaurant! And if you’re lucky, you get to experience an archery tournament, and just like Ljubljana Castle, costumed characters wandering around the castle courtyard too!
3. Bled Island: Within Lake Bled is a sort of mini-island in the middle of it!
On the island is a Baroque stairway all the way back from 1655, and with 99 stone steps leading up to the pilgrimage Church of the Assumption! There is also a lovely bell-tower with a wishing bell that can be rung, the chaplain’s house, provost’s house, small hermitage and some rather mysterious legends…!
The only way to get there is by boat, or swimming!
4. Sail Away: All around Lake Bled and Bled Island are traditional wooden boats called pletna boats which can either be rented privately, or which you can travel in with other people. The origins of the Pletna boat goes back to 1590, and you can recognize it from its’ colourful awning and oars that remind me of Thailand!
You can also rent rowing boats, canoes, and other sport equipment!
5. Take photographs: There’s no need to feel shy taking photographs. Everybody was taking photographs because the scenery was so beautiful. One of the reasons why we took so long walking, was because I kept taking pictures!
6. Eat Slovenian food: We had a lot of Slovenian food, but the most iconic thing to have whilst at Lake Bled is actually the Bled Cream Cake! Oh yeah! More about this next week!
7. Go hiking: If you’re feeling a little more energetic and want to do even more, you can either go to the nearby Vintgar Gorge where you can find the largest waterfall in Slovenia, or go hiking at the Triglav National Park which isn’t that far away either, and is the only National Park in Slovenia!
8. Admire the swans: Everywhere you go in Slovenia are huge beautiful ducks and swans.
Why there are so many, I haven’t a clue, does anyone know?
One of the most common swans found around Lake Bled are the mute swans! Swans are large, heavy, aristocratic-looking birds which breed successfully in Slovenia. By all means admire them, but don’t get too close, and definitely don’t feed them. Sadly, humans don’t know when to stop and end up feeding them meat, cake, and all sort of poisonous crap.
Best to take lovely photographs, coo at their beauty, then leave them alone!
9. Hang out with the locals: There’s always something happening on Lake Bled, and while we were there, there was an international rowing regatta competition on the other side of the lake!
So when we got there, we bought ourselves a drink, sat down, and started clapping and cheering with everybody else!
It was great fun!
10. Be romantic: If you’re travelling with your loved ones then where better to share your declaration of love than to go on a romantic night-time carriage ride around Lake Bled, leave a heart lock, or by putting your head inside a huge heart-shaped symbol of love, which you can find while walking along the lake shore!
So what are you waiting for?
That’s it for now.
See you next week.
This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the magnificent walk around Lake Bled that we had, are my very own!
I’ll be telling you about my next adventures in a couple of weeks!
What about you?
Watch this space!
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I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
So what are you waiting for?
Thanks a million!
See you in Berlin.
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