Showing off Slovenia at it’s best, Lake Bled is difficult to describe as it’s more about how it feels than it looks, or even what you can do here. The picturesque lake is of course the central force, with a backdrop of mountains and historical buildings. Spending three nights here, it was relaxing, joyful and I guess the main buzz word I’d attribute it would be ‘serene’.
On the first day after Will arrived and I’d left Ljubljana the capital, we took a walk around the lake in twilight after an al fresco meal near the hotel; I ordered octopus tentacles and just about managed to enjoy them! I was surprised by how quiet it was, especially during the first weekend in August. Is it still something of a hidden gem? The transport connections perhaps put many off.
On the first full day here we went out into the early morning with our hit list and had a really rewarding day. It was about 26C and bright sunshine as we passed the church and scaled up the hillside steps to the castle. As the incline got steeper, the views got better and by the time we reached the top we were ready for some breathtaking scenes of the lake and island below. You’ll find that most photos of Lake Bled featuring the island and cathedral are taken from here or from the north side of the lake. Easy to see why!
Here, we also grabbed an ice cream and checked out the museum, blacksmiths, wineries and word press extremely quickly, as they actually weren’t interesting in the slightest to be completely honest! They act more as shops than anything else but for 9 euro entry, it wasn’t a big loss. Our main excitement came from searching for our present left by A Long Day Off, however, in the three weeks since it was hidden in the castle grounds, it was pinched by, I’m guessing, another tourist… or from what Ali said it was, the Slovenian health and safety authorities.
For lunch we went to the highly recommended Pizzeria Rustica, where the pizzas are large, uniquely flavoured and delicious. Due to the large amount of wasps bothering us, we ate inside and took a break from the sun, then proceeded to take a boat tour to the island to see said cathedral. Beforehand we were accused of kicking a kayak, so went to the second place we saw to board a boat. En route I had my hand in the water as it was so fresh, and a bunch of German girls nearly capsized the boat while taking photos! That was scary.
The island is very small and consists of the cathedral, bell tower, a restaurant and cafe, toilet facilities and swimming deck. If you take the boat here, it takes roughly twenty minutes across the lake and then you get forty minutes on the island before heading back in the same boat with the same rower at the helm. This is the perfect amount of time and gives a new view of the lake and castle, notably for us, with clouds coming across the top of mountain peaks.
Following this we walked the length of the lake in a clockwise direction, which we repeated the day after anti-clockwise, and retired to George Best Bar for some Fish Head IPA and table football which I won both times 🙂 Taking a further stroll, we grabbed bar snacks at the hotel to complete the day.
Our second day was much slower as it was raining. As we walked around the lake again, we even saw some fisherman catch a huge fish; this walk earned us the chance to try the local delicacy of Lake Bled in the place that invented it – the Lake Bled Cream Cake by Hotel Park. Spongy! We then headed to the mini golf course, where I beat Will again. Whoops.
Perhaps the best portion of our relaxed afternoon was a combination of beers and Bojack, while in the evening it was definitely strolling casually into a open air gig of one of the eminent Croatian singers, Josipa Lisac, otherwise known as rock god. Also so many ducks crowded around us as others fed them.
A personal highlight of the holiday in Lake Bled was the hotel itself; we stayed at Hotel Golf, the sister of Hotel Park and had a large balcony overlooking the lake that offered stunning views. A few times, we opted to spend time here rather than out and about as we weren’t going to get a better view elsewhere. Over the few days, it appeared to be wedding season, so we even got fireworks to cap off each day:
Lake Bled is somewhere I’ll remember forever and I hope to return one day, even though there isn’t anything additional I feel I’d like to do (Will did the toboggan, I did not), but rather just to relax and see how it changes over time. I’m interested to see if we got lucky, or if its always this quiet during the peak summer months. Having a quiet few days here let us enjoy the scenery in an almost unspoilt way and it has to be said that photographs do not do it justice.
Next up after seven hours on the train, Venice, Italy! (It was actually train and coach).