So this summer was the summer I chose to find myself. I didn’t go the whole hog, I wasn’t eating wild mushrooms in the jungles of Vietnam whilst growing my gorgeous blonde hair into dreadlocks, but I did have a little wander about Europe. I visited 5 places, travelling via trains that had a varying degree of quality, but one place really made me say “wow.” Lake Bled, Slovenia.
“Slovenia?!” I hear you cry! With all the amazing places across the Continent, this is where you choose? I visited Berlin, Prague, Split and Budapest on my travels, all of which were outstanding in their own way, but nothing could top this little fairytale town.
Surrounded by the Julian Alps, this glacial lake really does have it all when it comes to blowing your head off as a traveller. The views are outstanding, there are plenty of activities to do in the lake (mostly jumping in from piers but the water was warm so that’s a belter) and there was lots of free wifi. It’s the little things that count.
On one of our days out we decided to rent a rowing boat and take it to the little island in the middle of the lake. On top of this island was a lovely little-abandoned church and an exceptional ice cream parlour – but you had to pay to get into the church so we sacked that off. I understand that capitalism is the life source of the world, I’m not naive, but it did surprise how much you did have to pay to do the most trivial of things when I was away. I don’t own a boat, so yeah I’m fine paying for that, same with ice cream, but five euros to walk into a hall and look at the stained glass from the inside, no tar. I know what’s important.
But the adventure in the rowing boat was everything that you want when you go one one of these little trips. Some good music on our speakers, sat in the middle of what looked like a watercolour painting, it was pure bliss, and I almost don’t want to tell people about it. How long until the tourists completely take over, it will probably be a stag do destination in a few years.
Away from the actual lake, there are plenty of excursions in the local area that are just as impressive. We chose to visit the Vintgar Gorge which was again stupidly picturesque, plenty of bloody good snaps for Instagram. A wooden walkway has been created to follow the river, bridging over rapids and waterfalls, which was made to look even more impressive by the rain that hit us that day. Apparently, it was the worst weather they’d had in weeks, but we didn’t mind the rain, it was a welcomed break being honest.
And I can’t finish my little review of this wonderland without mentioning our hosts, Alex and Maya. Our time at Bled was actually a last minute decision, so we went for the first place on Air BnB that we could afford, and we were so so lucky. Their lovely house was only fifteen-minute walk from the Lake and they obviously enjoyed entertaining random little backpackers like us; there was another four people staying there. They picked us up from the station on the first day, took us for breakfast and even let us use their bikes for free. This eventually resulted in a cut ankle for myself and a visit to a Hungarian A&E department, but that’s another story.
As well as all this, staying with Alex and Maya introduced us to our mate, German Seb. He was a lot wiser than us when it came to travelling, over a month into a 4 month cycle journey around everywhere, and he probably pushed us into trying some things that we wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. Everything just seemed to piece together in Slovenia. It gave us the memories of a location that we will find hard to top, no matter where we go, and we met the right people to make it that little bit more special. Oh and everyone there speaks perfect English which doesn’t half help.