Tag Archives: Bled

Magical Lake Bled and Bohinj

Thursday. We were staying near Bled today so we had a more leisurely morning. After breakfast we walked to Saint Martin Church. It is a simple building with beautiful ornamentation built around 1905, one of a series of churches that have stood on the site since the year 1000. We spent some time looking at the beautiful artwork and took some time to pray.

Saint Martin church.

Saint Martin church.

    

We joined the group afterwards to go up to Bled castle, the castle perched on cliff above the lake. This is the oldest Slovenian castle, originally built for a bishop in 1011, and eventually seized by Napoleon. Today there is a museum there but the real draw is for the views.
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From there we embarked on boats to go to Bled Island. There are no motorboats allowed on the lake so we were rowed there.

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The island has only a small picturesque 17th century church there dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, built on the foundations of a temple to Venus.

   

It is a popular chapel for weddings and the custom is that the groom carry the bride up the 99 steps up to the chapel.

    

There is a rope to the bells in the church tower that hangs in the center of the church. It is said that if a person pulls the rope (once) and the bells ring three times the puller will get his wish. The island with the castle is the centerpiece of Bled.

Inside the clock tower of Bled church.

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We then went to Bohinj, a nation park situated around a large glacial lake near the Julian Alps. It is a hub for all sorts of recreation. The views of the lakes and the mountains were worth the trip.

We also visited a chapel dedicated to Saint John the Baptist with frescos from the 14th century, the oldest frescos in Slovenia.

There was also a monument dedicated to the team of climbers who fist climbed Mt. Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak. The monument has one of the figures pointing to peak, visible from the monument. After walking about we tried the famous local dessert, a cream cake. It was good.

We took a scenic ride back to the hotel, the bus driver stringing the bus through narrow streets of some villages. We are impressed by the orderliness of the villages, the good repair of the houses, and the attention to the gardens of the houses, all which seem to have flower boxes overflowing with all sorts of flowers. The other thing, which has become a joke to us, is that we see so few Slovenian visible as we drive through the towns. When we arrived in Slovenia we only counted eight Slovenians in the first three towns.

After returning to the hotel the two of us took the 3.5 mike walk around lake Bled. We encountered people of all ages, bikers, hikers, backpackers, swimmers, and some of our travel companions stretching our legs after so many hours on the bus.

Tomorrow we leave to go to Venice. This ends this leg of the tour but begins our time in Italy.

Swan boats.

Swan boats.

Mysterious Lake Bled of Slovenia

Wednesday, September 2. We put the lakes behind us as we headed once more to drive along the Croatia seacoast.

We paused at a restaurant on the Adriatic for a coffee break. The restaurant had a terrace looking out over the ocean with a stairway leading to the sea. The water was clear and an azure blue, looking inviting and already drawing bathers from the nearby B&B. We continued on.

Our stop in Opatija on the Istrian Peninsula would be our last stop in Croatia. It is a lovely coastal town with a distinct Austrian flavor. In the late 19th century a southern railroad connected it with Vienna, making it a vacation spot for Austrian nobility and the Imperial family. The town lost its prestige after World War II and was only revived in the 1960’s. We walked along the shore in our first drizzly day of the trip trying to get a sense of the city. We were able to stop in an abbey church dedicated to St. James (the abbey after which the town is named – Opatija means abbey) and walked through a seaside park with a statue of a maiden with a seagull. Originally a Madonna was where the maiden now stands, taken down during the communist regime.

Replica of the Madonna that occupied the place where the statue of the maiden with a seagull now stands.

Replica of the Madonna that occupied the place where the statue of the maiden with a seagull (above) now stands.

Flag of Slovenia

Flag of Slovenia

Shortly after leaving Opatija we crossed into not only Slovenia but the European Union. We proceeded to our last stop of the day, the Postojna Caves. It is a 24,000 meter long cave system, luckily we only toured a 4 kilometer stretch, including two train rides. The temperature is constantly at 50 degrees, meaning coats were recommended. The caves were dramatically lit and interesting to look at, but the tour went on a bit long (1.5 hours). Several photos are in this post but it was difficult to do them justice. Here is a video of the cave railway.

After the caves we came to Bled and to our hotel on Lake Bled. Lake Bled is a glacial lake. We were excited that our rooms overlooks the lake, the castle and the Julian Alps.

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