Just a short post on our stay in Bled, it’s getting late and we’re off for three nights in mountain huts starting tomorrow morning. No internet up there!

September 13, 2010: we checked out of the hostel at Lake Bohinj and took the one-hour bus ride to Bled, the most famous tourist destination in Slovenia. The picturesque lake, with the church on its perfect little island, the old castle perched on its cliff above the lake. So what do we do? Of course, we go to see the Maksim Gaspari retrospective exhibition.

Gaspari was a self-taught Slovenian artist who made a name for himself a hundred years ago. He mostly drew pictures with Slovenian country themes, and he was amazingly prolific. A lot of his work was postcards, and he illustrated probably hundreds of books as well. We found his work really attractive, so we bought a calendar with 12 of his most famous works. (It barely fit into one of our backpacks – hope it doesn’t get bent!)

Gaspari painting
Gaspari painting

After checking in to our hostel, we climbed up the hill to the castle to see the museum. The first historical mention of the castle was in the year 1004, so it’s been there for well over 1000 years. But the museum managed to cover much more than just the castle’s history. Geology, archaeology, and culture were in there too. It was very well done. Slovenia seems to do good museum displays from what we’ve seen so far.

Bled Castle
Bled Castle

View from the castle
View from the castle

September 14, 2010: We started out the morning by walking around the lake. Everybody should walk around the lake when they go to Bled. In the centre of Bled are the luxury hotels on the shore, and farther along are some other large villas. One of them used to be Tito’s, back in the communist days, but we don’t know which one. At the far end we stopped to watch the rowers doing their training at the rowing centre, then did the climb up to the Osojnica viewpoint (that’s the hill at the end of the lake).

At the viewpoint we met two British couples who were resting on the bench there. One of the couples had been to Vancouver three times and said it was their most favourite holiday place ever, and the other couple said they really wanted to go to Vancouver.

Church of St. Martin
Church of St. Martin, just below the castle

The Island
The Island, from Osojnica viewpoint

Lizard, also at Osojnica viewpoint

It’s hard to stop photographing the lake and the island and the castle. Every view is just a bit different and the lighting changes from one hour to the next. Fortunately we have a very big memory card for all those pictures!

We had to take care of some business today too. We’d seen on the internet that the mountain hut we were scheduled to stay in on the 16th, the Triglav Lakes hut, was supposedly closing for the year on the 15th. So we went out to the National Park office to find out about that. The girl there was very nice and made us reservations at two other huts for the 15th and the 17th, but couldn’t get through to Triglav Lakes on the phone. She said they hadn’t heard about it closing early. So we left it at that. The huts can’t turn you away even if you don’t have a reservation, and if it does turn out to be closed, it’s possible to get to the next hut within the day. We’ll see what happens when we’re up there.

Our afternoon trek was the Vintgar Gorge. It is about 3 kilometres out of town, so we walked out there on the roads through the countryside. The gorge is about 1600 metres long. It’s wider than the Mostnica gorge at Bohinj, you walk inside the gorge on boardwalks. Some of them were cantilevered out over the water. The river rushed down over falls and through deep green pools, it was very beautiful there.

Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge

On the way back we took a different route which went through the forest for a while and managed to lose the trail again, but not too seriously. After that the walk back to Bled ran through the farming villages again.

Hay rack
Old-fashioned hay rack

There was one more thing we absolutely had to do in Bled. So after dinner we went down to the hotel on the lake to have a piece of the famous Bled cream cake. You can get it everywhere in Bled, even at the petrol stations, but that hotel has THE cream cake. And it was excellent, much better than the version Rosemary had back in Ljubljana. And not only that it only cost 2.90 euros per piece, not the 4 euros we had been expecting.

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