Magnificent Bled

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
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Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Monday, December 31, 2007

Bled is a town about 60 kilometres from Ljubljana that surrounds a glacial lake. I had seen pictures of it on the Internet and Jean had been there the previous summer and recommended it so we headed off on the 11 o'clock bus for a day trip. It was New Year's Eve and we wanted to be back in time to enjoy the festivities.
The bus takes about 80 minutes so we arrived right around lunch time. Bled is a spectacular town, with high mountains all around. In the middle of the lake is an island with a small church. It really is a postcard-perfect town. The sun was shining, which was the first time we had seen it for days.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went down to the waterfront to see about getting a boat to the island. We had thought that the lake might be frozen over, but it wasn't, and the boats were still operating. We negotiated the fare (10 euros per person was what they were asking, but they let Georgie and Maggie on for free.
The boat ride took about 10 minutes, and on the way the skipper chatted with us about living in Bled, told us a bit of local history and then we were there. There were about 20 of us on the boat altogether, and we had half an hour to wander about the island. The minute we docked at the island it was midnight back in Australia so we had to make a couple of phone calls. Jean let us know that the thing to do on the Island is ring the bell in the church, so we paid 3 euro admission fee to get into the pretty church and ring the bell. The sound of the bell rings out around the valley, so we made sure our presence was heard.
We walked around the edge of the island (a 5 minute walk) and climbed back on the boat for the journey back. The views of Bled from the boat are worth the price of the journey alone.
An ancient castle towers above Bled. You almost expect it to be occupied by an evil Count, except Bled is just so pretty that it couldn't be possible for evil to reside there. It's impossibly high above the town, yet the only way to explore it is to climb. I was worried that Jess would have trouble with her sore foot. In the park at the bottom of the castle an artist had set up some of his watercolours of Bled. We couldn't resist and I chose one that would remind us of our visit here for years to come.
Next was the long journey up the stairs to the castle. We took it slowly and stopped along the way, and made it up to the top. From there the view back down on Bled and surrounding areas is simply breathtaking. First the climb took away our breath, and then the view. We paid our entry to the castle grounds went in. We explored what was open, stopping for a coffee and buying a postcard in the souvenir shop.
After about an hour it was time to head back down. Rather than use the stair in the fading light, we went back along the road. Longer, but easier and safer. We knew that there was a bus back to Ljubljana at 5:30, so we had time for a quick hot chocolate and then the ride home.
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