August 6 - A Day on Lake Bled in Slovenia

Sometimes, even when the clouds roll in over an alpine lake, it can still be a day of discovery and surprise. We know because we experienced that kind of day today in Slovenia.

The day started out as a sunny one this morning and we enjoyed our buffet breakfast outside. Following the path down to the lake, we were amazed at the number of tourist buses at neighboring hotels. This is a very popular tourist destination for families from all over Europe. We talked with an interesting British couple on our shuttle bus to Bled Castle and they told us that Slovenia was just added as a destination with the tour company they use.

Bled Castle sits high above the lake on a cliff with an incredible view. It dates back 1,000 years although archaeologists can only piece together the history based on fragments from the past. We followed a tour group from eastern Europe whose guide interpreted the English speaking guide's commentary. In one room the group huddled around one object and shouted with laughter. Hurrying over, I peeked over their shoulders to see what was so funny. It was a medieval toilet.

This area is famous for their creme cake and Vila Preseren is a great place to try it. Their trendy restaurant has tables right on the water's edge. We decided to skip the grilled octopus and have the Mr. Toscana sandwich which was grilled bread with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and mozzarella. Dessert was the creme cake. It's light and fluffy dusted with powdered sugar.

Vila Preseren is right on a footpath that circles the lake for 3.5 miles. The water in the lake is crystal clear and we stopped again and again to take pictures of the Church of the Assumption on a tiny island in the lake. Picturesque wooden boats with colorful striped canopies called pletnas
take people out to the island. No engines are allowed so the guide rows the entire way standing.

Halfway around the lake the rain clouds rolled in, but that only made the lake look more mystical. Umbrellas in hand, we continued along the path to the Vila Bled. Now a hotel owned by the Slovenian government, it was the retreat of Tito during his rule of Yugoslavia. As the rain poured outside, we enjoyed a cappucino in the Vila's lounge. It was served on a silver tray with a glass of water. We had heard there was a mural commissioned by Tito in the 1940s in the vila and it was a pleasant surprise to be able to get a personal historical tour of it. It represents a story leading to the socialist victory of the people of the former Yugoslavia. Today Slovenia preserves the mural as a piece of art of historical significance.

Tonight the rain poured down, but that didn't stop us from discovering a great pizza restaurant, Pizzeria Rustika. Their crispy pizza cooked in a wood burning oven was delicious and served on their covered porch lit with lanterns. As we left the restaurant, the waiter called out, "Tomorrow it will be a nice day!" Maybe there will be time before leaving for Ljubljana to go out and discover that island!


CoachSparky said…
The boat ride sounds like it was really nice, minus the girl's chatter. I also like the Library Under the Treetops. Are there a lot of castles where you are traveling this summer? It is amazing how you always seem to find the Rick Steve fans on your travels!

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