Monday, October 17, 2016

Lake Bled, sLOVEnia

Excuse the massive amounts of photos that are on this post, but I've found one of my new favorite places.  It's Slovenia.  Mike and I have already planned out itineraries for people's vacations to Slovenia and Croatia because we fully believe that everyone should go.  It's like a little slice of heaven hidden in Eastern Europe.  Go in the fall when it's not tourist season and you're even more golden.  Actually, just go.  Go whenever you can for as long as you can. You won't regret it.

We arrived on Thursday around 4:00 after our little stop at Kehlsteinhaus.  We checked into our hotel and dropped off our stuff before walking down to the lake.  I had seen pictures of Lake Bled before, but had no idea how absolutely breathtaking it was.  We also got there as the sun was setting, so it made it even more picturesque.  We spent the evening walking around the lake (it's 6km) and stopping for dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the lake.  We were both grateful to have some seafood after all of the German food we've been eating.  Neither of us are used to living so far from the water!

Autumn in Lake Bled

After a good night of sleep, we headed out for a full day of sight seeing.  Our first stop was the castle that overlooks the lake.  The land was given as a gift from Emperor Henry II to Bishop Albuin of Brixen in 1004 and then the castle was built in 1011, but the Bishop never actually lived there. Because of this, there aren't the grand ballrooms and features that a lot of castles had. In fact, Mike and I actually found the castle to be somewhat disappointing.  The hike up there is worth it though, because you have SPECTACULAR views of the lake.  I may have been out of breath and sweaty when we reached the top, but I'm glad we made the trek.

Views like this make the hike up completely worth it.

We asked a man to take our picture and ended up with a full on photo shoot!

This guy was hanging out on our walk back down. 

After the castle, we headed to the Vintgar Gorge, which is a 15 minute drive from the lake.  This was equally as beautiful as the lake.  It's about a mile walk to the end on narrow paths.  I was glad we went in the off season because I could see it getting really crowded in the summer.  The gorge was full of flowing water and wild life and was a perfect afternoon.  I really enjoyed being outside and out of a city on this trip.  It was so refreshing.

What is going on here?

Mike would like the picture to be dedicated to all of his fellow Stone Bridge alums.  Get it...stone bridge?

Our last stop of the day was the other lake, Lake Bohinj, which is actually bigger than Lake Bled.  We walked around, hiked up to one of the waterfalls nearby and relaxed for a little while.

Can you see now why I took a million pictures of Lake Bled?  I could have spent a week there just hiking around and taking in the scenery.  It was breathtaking, the weather was beautiful and the air crisp.  I fell in L-O-V-E.

We ended our time in Lake Bled with dinner with fellow Olmsteders!  The Scott Van Nest is a class behind Mike and they are new residents of Budapest.  They were stopping Bled for the night and saw my picture on Instagram!  We were able to coordinate dinner at their hotel, which was a super fun and eco-friendly restaurant that turned out to be delicious.  We already had plans to meet them when we stopped in Budapest the next week, but it was a fun surprise to meet them in Bled as well!!

I know I've said this a million times already, but you need to go to Slovenia.  It's breathtaking.  Before we left, I saw pictures of Lake Bled, but I didn't believe anywhere could be that beautiful.  Oh, how I was wrong.  It's possible.  None of my pictures are edited and I love them. Almost as much as I love Slovenia!

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