Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Bled - thunderstorms and steps

Conference over, holiday commenced today - for me anyway - with a bus ride to Bled. 

Beautifully as the day ended we arrived as a thunderstorm approached, the cloud rolled in and torrential rain arrived forcing us to shelter in a bar until it passed. The storm was quite wicked and water sat in the ground for hours there was so much rain. 

Luckily it passed and the fantastic, serene beauty that is Bled emerged. Queenstown on steroids basically. With historic churches, a castle and fabulous old houses tucked into the hills, the city itself is away from the lake so only a couple of 70's looking hotels blemish the traditional character. 

Rain gone we moved to the Hotel Park, home of the famous kremna rezina - looked and tasted to us like a custard square with a layer of cream. With a beautiful view of the castle it is a perfect spot for a bottle of bubbles and yummy salad. Sam found a vegan cafe and sat by the lake with her burger. 

The two major attractions at Bled are the island with historic church and the castle. We took a traditional pletna out to the island. The experience is awesome. A guy rows a boat with 12 passengers across the lake. We learned he is one of 23 operators and the pletna is passed down father to son, he has operated his for 34 years. 

We got 30 mins on the island so walked up the 99 steps where grooms carry their brides to the alter, paid our €4 each to ring the church bell and make a wish before sprinting up the bell tower expecting a wicked view only to find mesh and bars in the windows (give that a miss). 

It really is just so beautiful. The water is clear - as a lake should be - and so very quiet with no motorboats. Island journey completed it was already 4pm so we headed up to the castle. Don and Sam took the straight up those stairs approach. Steve and I took what turned out to be a less gradient but terrible path at the back of the hill. Apple tells me I climbed 33 flights of stairs in altitude today along with 13000 steps. 

Photos don't do the view justice. It is spectacular. I took soooo many. 

Back to Ljubljana where Sam found another vegan cafe before leaving the rest of us to buy street food and listen to the most fantastic buskers. I am constantly astounded by the sheer number of people out in the streets late at night. Absolutely awesome. We will certainly miss Ljubljana. It is an enchanting city. 

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