Aug 15, 2006
Sep 19, 2006
The hostel is already a few steps up towards the castle, so that seems to be the logical first order of business
. Bled's claim to fame is a beautiful lake set at the foot of the Julian Alps. There is a small island in the lake that has an old church on it, and the castle is perched on a rocky precipice directly above the lake. The combination of natural beauty and storybook architecture is mainly what attracts people to Bled. That, and you can do white-water rafting down some nearby river.
The climb up to the castle and the entrance fee are both steep but rewarding, with brilliant views of the light-blue lake and the rugged, snow-capped mountains above. Following some castle-exploring, I stumble down the hill and walk a lap of the lake, stopping frequently to dip my feet in the refreshingly cool, clear lake water. Half way around, at about 4pm, I hear a commotion, look up towards the road and see the convoy of Kiwi campervans rolling into town. I put my head down and keep walking.
The bus has me in Bled by 11:25am, with the campervan Kiwis no doubt still snoring away back in La-jooble-jana. I had made reservations at the Bled youth hostel for last night and tonight but obviously hadn't arrived yesterday and it had not occurred to me, mid-funnel, to call and let them know. So, when I arrive in person, I give the receptionist some cock-and-bull story about a medical emergency in Ljubljana that had delayed me. She looks at me in a way that shows she clearly doesn't believe me and may even have heard this exact story before, and says that they gave away my bed for last night and tonight once I didn't show up by 9pm. I'm a little worried now, so I play the indignant, hard-done-by card for a moment until she says I can sleep on an air mattress for 16 euros, so that sounds like a fair compromise.