Thursday, October 31, 2019

Beautiful Lake Bled

Trip date: May 2019

I arranged with my hotel in Ljubljana to have a car pick me up and take me to the airport after breakfast and check-out for €9. I was picking up a rental car and driving out to Lake Bled for an overnight.

I arrived at the airport rental office at 9am, an hour ahead of my reservation time, and found it closed. I called and the office manager told me she was running some errands and would be in as soon as possible. Gotta love small countries!

It was a beautiful day to drive around the country and the highway was super easy with minimal traffic. I did accidently take the exit before I meant to, but was rewarded with the cute village and interesting church of Brezje, a pilgrimage site of Slovenians.
Next up was the adorable town of Radovljica which a friend had suggested for my lunch stop. At Restaurant Lectar I had a plate of the traditional Slovenian dumplings, Idrijski žlikrofi. These cute little pasta hats are made from dough stuffed with potato; mine then had a delicious meat sauce. Very filling and very good.
After lunch I checked out the inn's Gingerbread Museum (Lectar means gingerbread) which is in the 500 year old building's basement. Gingerbread baking has been a tradition in Slovenia since 1766. Elaborately decorated hearts were a common gift and still are, along with many other shapes and characters.
Radovljica is a great stop, the town is incredibly cute, and they are very proud of their traditions. This was a nice suggestion (thanks Rachel!) and I'd make the same suggestion to you.

From here it was an easy 15 minute drive to Lake Bled and the castle. The castle was ok, nothing out of the ordinary as far as castles go, but the views of the lake were incredible! So I did a quick tour around, then grabbed a glass of wine, and sat admiring the stunning blue waters of the lake.
Later, I checked into Hotel Triglav, which sits at the northwest side of the lake, very near the train station. The hotel originally opened in 1906 by the then mayor of Bled, and is currently owned by his grandson.

My room had a balcony with a picture-perfect view of the lake, famous island, and the surrounding mountains. It was so stunning I decided to get a bottle of wine from the restaurant, and spent the rest of my day reading and enjoying the views.

I had dinner that night at Restaurant 1906, the hotel's very nice eatery. My 3-course meal included potato soup with truffle oil, saddle of veal with struklji (another traditional Slovenian dumpling made from dough, stuffed with cheese and herbs, rolled up and baked), and chocolate mousse. Dinner started out rough when I requested a martini made with a local gin and it arrived very sweet. The evening righted itself as all the food was great, and the Slovenian Pinot Noir I had was excellent. And the dining room looks out directly to the lake for brilliant views all evening.
Still being jet lagged, I was up at sunrise the next morning but the breakfast room wasn't open until 7:30. The coffee station was set up though so I grabbed a cup and took it back to my room, choosing to read in bed before heading down to the buffet. Excellent buffet when I came down later, and my table came with another stellar view.
After breakfast, I hiked down to the lake in order to take one of the pletna row boat trips out to the island. But they didn't start until 11am so I grabbed a radler and wrote some postcards. It was an absolutely stunning day and I was happy to sit out in the sun.

For €13 each, the captain rows his boat with about 8 passengers out to the island and gives you 30 minutes to explore. This is more than enough time to check out the church, ring the church bell (and make a wish), climb up the tower, and walk around the tiny island. Tickets into the church are not included in your boat price.
This is honestly one of the prettiest places I have been. And it's small enough to do in a night or two. The scenery is just unreal, and I snapped a lot of photos on my 5-mile hike around the lake after I returned from the island.

The hotel had recommended I stop at Sova for lunch during my hike, and it was fantastic! This truffle pasta and a glass of wine set me back €17!
I continued my hike to the east side of the lake, my next stop at the Hotel Park for a piece of the local specialty cream cake on their terrace. It was a decadent hike!
I finished my hike around the lake and back up to the hotel. My bags were packed and in the trunk, I was on my way to the very west part of Slovenia for a very special dinner! It had been a wonderful day and I was excited for the next part!

I can't recommend Slovenia enough! Go now before it is on everyone's list!
All photos from Lake Bled here.

Other posts from this trip:

Something About Slovenia
One Night at Hisa Franko
24 Hours Zagreb
Hiking the Plitvice Lakes
Dalmatian Coast Yachties
Yachties in Hvar
Every Yacht Charter Must End


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