Monday, March 28, 2016

Beautiful Lake Bled

When I decided to visit Ljubljana I knew that I would be visiting Lake Bled as the pictures I'd seen looked absolutely stunning.   My first morning in the city I visited the local tourist office and booked a five hour tour with Slovenia Explorer for the next day.  They travel in a van rather than a big bus which is what I prefer.

Surprisingly they agreed to pick me up at my residence and were actually early.  There were 8 of us so the van was full - a family of 4 from Spain, a fellow from Colombia, a couple from Wales and me.  Our tour leader/driver Anya was great fun and knowledgeable.

The Castle

First stop was Lake Bled Castle, a medieval castle dating from the 11 century.  The castle overlooks the castle and makes a stunning sight from the lake. 


I've got to walk up there???  Trust me it was steep.  Between being overweight, unfit and asthmatic I was huffing and puffing like a steam engine. 




The small chapel in the castle was absolutely stunning. 

There was an exhibition of the history of the castle as well as a wine cellar with wines for purchase that were made by local monks  (I was sorely tempted but already had two bottles back at the flat!) and a printing press where I may just have bought a couple of small gifts as well as something for myself. 

However it was the view...that view...as you can see it was a dull cloudy morning...in fact the sun didn't come out until just before we left the area.  Ah well...



View of Bled Island

From there we drove a bit around the lake...such a great area to visit and the walking would be amazing....

The Island


Then it was time to take a pletna boat over to Bled Island...the oarsman (or whatever you want to call them) is part of a dynasty...this skill is passed down from generation to generation.  The first pletna boat was built in 1590 and they are unique to Lake Bled.  This was my favourite part of the day...I loved being on the calm waters...even if a tourist did try to aim his canoe at our boat!  The (rather cute) boatman was not impressed.



Getting closer to the island...it was about a ten minute journey.  The church is named The Church of the Assumption.  There has been a church on this site since the 15th century but it obtained its current appearance in the mid 1700's.  

Whaaaat???  You want me to walk up all those steps?  99 of them.  Tradition has it that if you marry in this church the groom has to carry his bride all the way up the 99 stairs.  Needless to say there aren't too many weddings on the island!!  And yes I did walk up. 


There is a bell in the church and if you make a wish as you ring it your wish will come true.  Oh and it will cost you 6 euros to do so...uh huh.....



View of the castle from the island. 

We had half an hour on the island which was plenty of time as it's pretty small!  There is a gift shop (of course!) and a small cafe.  You can also walk around the island at water level so I walked part way and took the photo above.  All too soon it was time to leave...


Our boat man awaits....back to shore and it's time for the famous Bled Cream Cake. 

The Cake



As we walked to the Park hotel I thought I was seeing things...my poor caffeine deprived brain thought "is that a horse"? 


A closer view of the castle

 


View in front of the hotel...sun is starting to appear...


Yes it is a horse!!!  Now that's my kind of horse!  Or pony or whatever...


Lake Bled cream cake.  Icing sugar laden puff pastry atop cream and light custard.  Oh my my my.  It was very light however and we all easily finished ours.  Combined with an espresso with milk I was in pure heaven.  This cake has been made at the Park Hotel since 1953...there are copies but stick to the original! 

And that was my trip to Lake Bled.  I highly recommend a trip here if you are ever in the area. 

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