Day 13 A Day of Rest

Sunday on a farm is a day to relax, rest, and get ready for the following week,,,or at least it was for us!  By the time we woke up, Gregor had milked the cows, gathered the eggs, fed all the animals…and god knows what else ( I mean after all he is resting today).  After we managed to roll out of bed and shower, it was almost 9:00 a.m.  I think the organic beer and the plum brandy ensured that I slept like a Slovenian baby!

Well today was an Alton adventure day, we were heading off to the famous Lake Bled.  I originally watched Rick Steves’ in his khaki induced glory, going on a tour of Slovenia, and one of his stops of course was Lake Bled.  I can tell you that it did not disappoint!  Lake Bled is a glacial lake that is nestled between mountains.  It is bordered by a castle on a cliff that dates from the 11th century, and it also has an island in it with a beautiful church on it.

Let me take a moment to explain this day…this amazing October day in the Julian Alps (or as the Slovenians like to say the alps with the sunshine) it was bright, sunny, and beautiful.  My guess…since I have yet to figure out the temperature in celsius… was that it was about 75 degrees…I mean warm and sunny!  When we got to the lake, we quickly found the TI (tourist information center) to figure out what to do.  Of course we had to take a boat ride, and go to the castle…it was a MUST.  I mean the boats are like giant gondollas (sp) that are straight out of Venice.  We found out that you just have to wait around a boat until there are enough people, then they go.  Of course my sweet and budget minded husband asks how much…and when he finds out it is 12 euros a person…he is not happy…but still I think we are not going to come to Lake Bled and NOT go on that boat ride…I mean seriously… Rick Steves said not to miss it!!!

We decide instead of waiting around, our time would best be spent hiking up to the castle…and when I say hiking up…I mean it!  Switchbacks and stairs take you up lots of meters (whatever the hell that means) our guess was 1,000 feet.  Let’s just say you are up there…this is not for the faint of heart.  Huffing and puffing we arrive at the castle…it  really is a marvel, stone and rock from the 11th century…incredible.  After we get our tickets, we walk through the gates and up the stairs and voila…heaven!  There before our eyes is an outdoor cafe in the castle courtyard!  Yeah baby!  We make our way over to a table overlooking the lake and the valley below…it is breath taking (not that we had any breath left after that hike up here)… We order beer…you may not be aware of this, but I have discovered beer is a magic cure…if you are cranky, hungry, tired, don’t speak the language, are far from home…beer is what you need.  Oh I almost forgot, beer and Lake Bled’s famous cream cake.  This cream cake is like the “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” in New York…everywhere in Bled has it…and it is the ORIGINAL one at every stop. And let me add here, it doesn’t matter where you get it…just get it!  Russ comes back to the table with beers (soda for Reid) and this Slovenian masterpiece on a plate.  It is big mouth watering layers of pastry, cream, and some kind of yellow pudding…not too sweet…just perfect.  I will fully admit right now that perhaps a coffee is a better pairing than a beer, but honestly it was one of the best things I have ever eaten…beer or no beer.

After our amazing snack it is time to wander around this centuries old castle.  We head up the stairs, and across the courtyard, to the museum.  I am excited to see the castle and all of it’s antiques and relics…like Antiques Roadshow meets King Arthur’s Court!  When we step into the museum, I immediately notice it’s lack of anything that has come from a castle.  Instead we are treated to a history lesson on fossils, land masses, and cave men.  I am not going to lie, a bit of a let down after hiking up a damn mountain to get here!  Okay, so we finish up in the main gallery and it is on to the blacksmith shop…I knew Reid would love the weapons, steel (or at least iron since Slovenian was known for it’s iron…) we walk down to the basement where the blacksmith is, but all I see are metal candlesticks…everywhere….so apparently instead of weapons..they would use candlesticks in battle….hmm.  Well this was a bit of a let down, but really the castle and the view were great!  A quick stop at the W.C. and we are ready for the hike down.  Don’t you think going down a hill would be better than going up?  Well I have mixed thoughts about that…let’s just say I was glad when we got down to the bottom!  We walked around for a bit and then guess what?  We were hungry…of course.  We stopped and had lunch with a view at the lake.  Now the lake had gotten busy and we are a bit weary…so we decide to head out to the Vintgar gorge that the TI had told us about.  It was a quick car ride to the gorge through some seriously narrow streets…where in places only one car can go through…yikes!  When we get to the gorge, I was a bit underwhelmed…until we walked down the path for about 10 minutes…then it was amazing!  rapids, deep pools, trees, bridges, rocks….it was breath taking!  We walked into the gorge for about 45 minutes…looked at a beautiful waterfall…enjoyed our walk back out for another 45 minutes…then we headed back to the car.

We decided to head back to Lake Bled, but as we started driving we realized there was crazy backed up traffic, as if there had been a huge concert in Lake Bled that had just gotten out…all the streets were jammed.  So instead of heading back to Lake Bled, we decide to make our way to another lake close by that Gregor had told us about.  Let me just interject here that Slovenian is a crazy language…not a lot in common with English…so there is not even a glimmer of hope in figuring out signs, etc.  Thankfully we have navigation in Jacques ( our bright orange pumpkin on wheels), but sometimes it can be a bit of a trick if you are barely able to understand where you are headed…but none the less off we go to find this other lake.  Notice how I am not saying the name of the lake, because to this day I am not sure exactly what it is…

Well, let’s just say we caught a glimpse of this “lake”…but in our quest to do that, we went on a Slovenian tour of quaint farms (I mean literally we drove right through them) fun narrow roads that only one tiny car should drive on…it was like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride without crashing into the train at the end!

In the end, it was an amazing trek around the countryside.  Here is the only bummer, we did not end up going on a boat ride around Lake Bled…but instead became very close with the Slovenian countryside.  All in all, I have to say that we had an amazing trip to Lake Bled and beyond…but honestly I am going to need a day of rest to recover from my “day of rest”!

2 Comments

  1. Lisa
    Oct 22, 2014

    Oh, Dan & I know about plum brandy! We have friends here in Seattle who’s Dad is from ‘the old country’ and they make it. Lots of it. However it is called “Slivo” short for Slivovitz or Slivovitsa. Yes, you’ll sleep well…

    • Wendy Alton
      Oct 22, 2014

      Yes Lisa that’s it…like Slovenian moonshine… little goes a long way!

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