Lazy Sunday

Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

I woke up to rain outside, and I thought I would enjoy the rain and lay around in bed for a while. There were two problems with that plan. First, breakfast was only until 10am, and I like food even more than sleep. Second, I'm not great at just sitting still when there's new places to be explored. So sleeping in only lasted for about half an hour.

As a concession to the rain, I decided to scale back my hiking plans. Instead of hiking all day, I flipped through my guidebook and the numerous "things to do in Slovenia" brochures I'd acquired looking for a museum to visit in the morning. I found the Museum of Apiculture (Čebelarski Muzej) in nearby Radovljica. Psyching myself up with shouts of "Bee Keeping! Yeah!", I headed towards
the neighboring town.

Radovljica has a small old town with painted houses that was (still is?) the center of Slovenian bee keeping. Like the other painted houses I've seen, most of the murals are fading, although Radovljica had more of them than Škofja Loka or Kranj. I wandered the old town for a while, not because I like strolling in the rain, but because I didn't bring my guidebook with the location of the museum and the tourist center was closed on Sunday. In the end, I found the building without too much trouble.

I enjoyed the museum a lot more than I had expected to. I was thinking of it just as a "better than nothing" way to pass a rainy morning, but the museum was worth a visit in it's own right. The exhibits on the history of bee keeping and its development in Slovenia were okay. I can be mildly entertained by just about any museum with informative descriptions of the exhibits. Like at Bled Castle Museum, the explanations were in Slovenian, English, German and Italy.

One interesting fact I didn't know is that bees do a "dance" when they return to the hive to communicate the location of the field they found. If they move in a circle, the field is nearby. If it's far away, they do a figure-8 dance, "wiggling" in the middle to indicate the direction of the field relative to the sun with the intensity of the wiggle conveying the distance.

But the history and science wasn't what put the museum on my list of worthwhile Slovenian activities. In 19th century Slovenia, the fronts of the bee hives were painted to bring luck, provide decoration, and designate the owner. Numerous examples of these front boards were assembled at the museum, giving it an impressive collection of eclectic folk art. Although there were a few sophisticated designs, most of the paintings were in done in primitive style. They depicted a wide array of scenes including religious themes, daily tasks, folk tales and historical events.

After the museum, it was back to Bled for some hiking. There are numerous hiking trails around Bled. Most of them involve hiking up a hill to some scenic overlook of the lake. I had gotten quite a view from Bled Castle the day before, when the weather was better, so I crossed those off my list. Instead, I went to a path a couple of kilometers outside of town.

The hike went through Vintgar Gorge (Soteska Vintgar) at the edge of Triglav National Park (Triglavski Narodni Park). The gorge was a good choice for a rainy day. The spray would get you wet anyway, and the rain ensured the river was running swiftly. I'll refrain from using another pun to describe this gorge, but I've got a good one should I write a third entry involving gorges.

The trail through the gorge was similar to the Glacier Gorge in Switzerland. A walkway was attached to the gorge wall, running alongside a river. The path today was different in that it crossed over the water in a few places. This gorge was in a densely forested area, and the river was somewhat wider, while the cliff walls weren't as high, giving it a distinct appearance. The water running through it was still loud and powerful.

It was an enjoyable walk. The gorge trail ended at the top of a small waterfall. I saw the end of another path down at the bottom and tried to get to it. I followed the only path I saw leading away from the gorge for about 15 minutes before it ended in a tiny village with no obvious roads heading back down to the river. I returned to the end of the gorge path and saw the correct exit hidden behind the gift shop, d'oh.

Back in town, I stopped for a meal at the same restaurant I ate at yesterday, I think the name was Panorama. It was on the lake and it had great food for a good price. Yesterday I had a grilled vegetable salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and some spices, including paprika. I also had mushroom soup, cream cake and a hot chocolate. Today I had the same but substituted tomato and mozzarella for the salad. I've had tomato and mozzarella around the world, but this was one of the best. It had the usual olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but it also had pesto, and it substituted dill for basil.

I ended the day a little early with a hot shower. My hotel room is nice, but the shower is a little odd. It's got a nice brass and aluminum fixture, but there's no place on the wall to hang the shower head. You have to hold it while you shower. I think it's some old-timey thing from the age before they invented hanging things on walls.

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