Scenic Lake Bled

Trip Start Sep 23, 2004
Trip End Dec 24, 2004

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

On the 18th day of my journey, I left Salzburg early to catch the morning train to Ljubljana, Slovenia. At the train station, the ticket agent told me that the construction of the Austrian railway just started today and will last for a week. Lucky me, so this means that I have to get off the train 1/3 of the way and take bus and then get back on the train later, what a pain. The scenery at southern Austria is just breath taking, I couldn t stop taking pictures. Its interesting that as soon as the train cross the tunnel into Slovenia, I can notice the dramatic difference in railroad and stations. Austrian railroad and stations are much cleaner and neater than Slovenia. I guess this is the difference between developed vs developing nations. I arrived in Ljubljana main station without much problem except I had a tough time figuring out signs (all in Slovene) about where the local bus station is. After some sweat, I found my way into the post office where the clerk told to catch the local bus across the street. The bus ride was quite difficult for me because I hae no idea where to stop and get off to my hotel. I used the few words in Slovene I learned and asked the elder man sitting next to me. I started talking to me as well as gesturing that the next station will be it. I was quite happy when I checked into my hotel. I took a short break in my room before I ventured out into the city center. That night I went to the local resturant Sokol recommended by my tour book. I looked the menu and it lists all sorts of strange food items. I figure that I am in a new country, I got to try something different. So I went down the menu and picked Stag with mushroom sauce, not knowing what stag means. When the dinner arrived, I saw this piece of dark meat covered with white sauce, I started thinking hmmm, what could stag be??? Stallion ??? OH MY GOD, its HORSE MEAT !!!! I tried it out, umm, quite chewy..... The bill, just like the food was quite a shock, the dinner with rolls and side dish comes out to be around $18, quite expansive even for US standard. On my way back to the hotel, I missed my stop because the bus stop sign was very dark. I just watch miserably as the bus rolled its way toward NO MANs land, itno the boonies. When the bus finally came to a halt, I was in the middle of this village of Sostro, 5 to 6 km outside Ljubljana accoding to my map. I asked the bus driver about going back to my stop, he said yes but after his cigarette break. So I sat in the darkness on the bus until he got back. I was so thankful when I finally got back to my hotel, ready for sleep.
On day 19, I studied my tour book and the map in the morning before I set out to visit Old Town Ljubljana. The city's most famous person being architect Joze Plečnik. He lived in Ljubljana from 1920 until his death on 1957. He disigned almost 75 + percent of the city landmarks and buildings including the famous Triple Bridge. He was even hired to supervise the renovation of the Prague Castle. I was privilaged to visit his house, now a museum displaying his drafting instruments and some miniature models of his famous designs. This museum apparently only open twice a week and I was lucky enough to visit it. There was even a group of Austrian TV crew there filming a special about the man. Next I went up some steep hills to get up to the Ljubljana castle. Its got a great city view on the top and a interesting 3-D film about Slovenia history, otherwise nothing really interesting. I do notice very few tourists everywhere and no tour buses. The city is a college town since Ljubljana University is located here. I can see hoards of students everywhere I walked. I did managed to visit the National University Library well known for its entrance door knob. By turning the knob its suppose to transport the person to a higher level of enlightment. I grabbed twice :) I visited the old town square, triple bridge and dragon bridge and took couple dozen pictures. By the time when I got back to my room its already 8 pm. I was moved to a different room without anyone telling me. But after I found my luggage and all of my items, I was delighted to find out that I get to stay in a 'private room ' tonight. How nice.
Day 20, I took a short road trip to Bled, where the famous resort Lake Bled is located. This is supposely the most touristy area of Slovenia. Ans just like what my tour book said, it was beautiful. It is a small crystal blue lake located in the middle of the mountains, the only way I can describe it is that it looks like Lake Louise or Lake Tahoe except lake Bled has an island with a little church on it. It traditional for people to get married on this little church, beacuse it is so romantic. So I spend the rest of the day walk around the lake, climb a tall mountain to see the castle and took the boat onto the island. It was absolutely beautiful !!!
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