Beautiful Bled

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Flag of Slovenia  ,
Thursday, August 2, 2012

Well, after an hour and a half bus ride from the capital, we found ourselves in Bled. After an hour of walking in circles, we found our hostel, was being run by an 87 year old woman (she w) only to find that our arrival was not expected. Eventually, however, we checked in to a lovely room with a great view of the mountains and countryside..  

Bled is the Queenstown of Slovenia with dramatic mountains on all sides of the town which is perched on a stunning lake with an island rising from its depths. To top it all off, a one thousand year old castle is perched on the edge of cliffs which overlook the shimmering lake below. 

On our first day we took two or three hours to strolled around the lake, stopping periodically to cool off by swimming in the crystal clear and warm waters. On our second day we walked up to Bled Castle and spent several hours exploring its many views and rooms. 

The Bled Castle is one of the oldest castles in Slovenia and was first mentioned in a written document on 22 May 1011, as the German King Henry II awarded the Bishop Albuien of Brixen with it. The castle perched atop a cliff rising above a glacial lake with a romantic island and a church on it. The castle's terraces offer a spectacular view of the Upper Carniola region, captured between the mountain ranges of Karavanke and the Julian Alps.

The buildings of the castle are arranged around two courtyards on two levels. At the lower courtyard is the castle's printing works, a memorial room for the consolidator of the Slovene language and the author of the first Slovene language printed book and the Gallery Stolp (the Castle's tower). The castle's wine cellar and the herbal gallery are also located on the intermediate level. We sent some time here talking to the proprietor, a monk, about Slovenia's varied wine production and buying a local muscat wine to drink later that evening on our balcony. But the upper courtyard is the most spectacular, with the best views of the lake far below below, a forge where we brought a candle holder, a chapel dating back to the 16th century and a museum which takes you through Bled's long and eventful history from the Bronze Age up to the present day. 

In the afternoon we went for another walk before cooling off in the lake again. It is sad to think it might be our last swim for quite some time. 
If it weren't for the fact that we have booked accommodation in Graz in Austria for tomorrow night, we could have quite happily stayed a few weeks here. At least we can add yet another location to hurry back to whenever UK bank holidays role around! Goodbye Slovenia, hello Austria.
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