If Lake Bled taught me anything, it’s to jump at every chance you get. I was sort of hesitating to visit this fairytale place, a few hours north of Ljubljana, even though the lake is nestled in the foothills of the alps and has a magical looking island right in the middle with a little church. I guess I was a bit tired and in a bit of a defeatist mood, but with a bit of persuasion I resolved the night before to make the journey.
The bus journey, which I thought was going to be a mission, was in fact a piece of cake. As soon as I boarded the 9am bus I fell asleep for pretty much the whole ride there. Waking up, groggy and stretching limbs, I couldn’t really see anything spectacular, I walked to the first café and had a black tea to throw off any sleepy muddle.
I made for the lake and started to walk around the perimeter of the shore, there was still the remains of winter’s snow on the ground but the sun was definitely spring-like and I had to take my coat off. Freezing rain and snow storms in Slovenia this winter left most of the forests covered in a thick layer of ice. When I arrived they were still getting to grips with clearing out all the trees that had collapsed under the weight of the ice which meant I wasn’t able to do the 15 minute walk up the mountain to the castle which has spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding area. No biggie, I just carried on walking around the lake and taking in the view. Once I got halfway I knew it was worth shaking off my reluctance to go, crazy blue skies, still lake waters and the jagged alpine horizon.
I can’t emphasise enough, if you’ve not spent a lot of time in mountainous areas these views are really something else. It’s a total cliché, but the mountain air really was sweet and I soon worked up an appetite which I sated with amazing Gundel pancakes. Totally making these walnut cream crepes when I get home.
Gondolas were waiting just outside a restaurant and I hopped on one to take me to the island, looking out at the view as we were rowed to the church. It has 99 steps and legend has it, if you get married the groom traditionally carries the bride all the way up. This is where it all got a bit surreal and magical, I couldn’t quite comprehend that this was me, here, walking around such an amazing place. After the island, I walked back to the bus stop and waited for the journey back to reality, writing postcards to my family. It was a bit like those Guy de Maupassant short stories we used to read in school where the character would wake up with sand in his pjs or something. I’m so happy I bothered to make the journey, even though at a 3 hour round trip from Ljubljana it was a bit knackering it was totally worth the journey.