Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lake Bled, Slovenia

We left Trieste Friday morning, May 23rd, and took the bus to Sezana, Slovenia - less than 30 minutes away! We found a cafe for a chocolate croissant and a cappuccino, did a little grocery shopping and then caught our train to Bled. The closest station in on the west side of the lake and our hotel was on the east side, so we walked along the north shore of the lake for the 2 km to our hotel. It is an enchanting lake as you can see!

Beautiful Lake Bled from the Castle
After settling into our hotel, I hiked up to Bled Castle and took the picture above. It was a bit drizzly but the view was spectacular. The island's pilgrimage church is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and was built at the end of the 17th century. We didn't go there, but it is easy to rent boats or ride on a gondola out to the island.

Darrell needed to work a bit the next morning, so I rented a bike and journeyed along the river 10 km to the small village of Radovljica with its well-maintained original 14th century square. Most towns have water pouring continuously out of fountains so it is easy to keep your water bottle filled! This one had a dragon head spout.

Radovljica village square
I toured the highly recommended beekeeping museum. Keeping beehives began in the 13th century in this area and was a large part of the economy. The museum had many historic bee hives - some carved wooden statues that were hollowed out, some hives made to look like churches or mansions, and many examples of colorful front boards from bee boxes. It was interesting and informative, so I will pass on the recommendation!

One of the boxes had this saying on it: "By learning your diligence and thriftiness from me, tranquility and peace shall be bestowed on thee."

Painted fronts of beehive boxes are unique Slovenian folk art
I also toured a Gingerbread bakery in its original 1766 location. For you bakers out there, they don't use any eggs and the dough sits at basement temperature for five days before being rolled out and cut.

The Gingerbread bakery and giftshop
After lunch, Darrell rented a bike as well and we headed uphill to Vintgar Gorge. This pretty gorge has a walkway that was first constructed in 1893 and some of the boards look like they were originals. It was very narrow and crossed the river four times to reach a small waterfall at the end.

Darrell in Vintgar Gorge
We climbed one hill to leave the gorge and then coasted most of the way back to Lake Bled. We biked around the south side of the lake since we'd already walked on the north side, and were rewarded with this view of the church and the island. In the background on the left you can also see the castle that I hiked up to the day before.

The almost ridiculously lovely Lake Bled
We celebrated our day with a treat from the area - delicious Kremsnita (Cream Cake). It gave us some good calories to prep for our nine-day "Best of Slovenia" self-guided bike trip that we booked through a Slovenian company,


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