Slovenia: Lakes Bled and Bohinj

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Phil heard from a coworker that you can see Ljubljana in a day (without trying to sound like a snob, you can) and she suggested we rent a car to see some nearby lakes. Chances are you’ve seen a misty lavender photo of Lake Bled with its church floating on an island in the middle. It’s a pretty popular destination for tourists and our cab driver suggested we drive a little further past that lake and see Lake Bohinj, a quieter “more natural” spot.

Saturday was another lovely day–until the rains moved in later in the afternoon–and I’m so glad we took the chance to get out of town and see a few local favorites. Below are quite few pictures of our day if you’d like to see…

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You can get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana in less than an hour. It’s a very easy drive and rather scenic, especially once you get past the airport. We decided to press on toward Lake Bohinj first, which is about another 20-minute drive. There are a smattering of cafes and one big hotel at the end of the lake, as well as a few rental shops where you can get canoes, paddle boards and other water equipment. You can also sign up for canyoning, paragliding, and more extreme activities, but we decided to simply check out the little church (the most photographed church in Slovenia, in fact) and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the shore. We dined at the hotel, and it really was quite good, but if we had been a little more organized a picnic would have been especially nice here.

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Our driver also recommended we drive yet further past Lake Bohinj and visit Savica waterfall. It’s about 10 kilometers down a very windy road that somewhat hugs the lake. A couple of signs will help guide the way to a parking lot. From here you walk about 20 minutes to the waterfall, which is really beautiful and quite powerful. It’s within the only national park in Slovenia so there are a lot of other hiking trails that connect here. It was a somewhat unexpected detour so we weren’t really wearing the right shoes, but I would definitely recommend some sneakers, even if you only bring them out for this portion. It’s not difficult by any means, just a little uncomfortable in you’re in, say, flat booties with zero traction : )

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One thing I really liked about this visit is how alone we felt. We certainly saw other travelers around, but once we arrived at the waterfall there were only two other people there. And two other people arrived just as we were leaving. We weren’t battling any crowds or big tourist groups, which was refreshing. Granted, we are early in the tourist season, the shoulder season as it were: right after the rush of spring break trips and before the hectic summer season. Airfare and accommodations tend to be cheaper at this time of year and as I mentioned you aren’t faced with the same crowd of other travelers that you will find in June-August. We traveled to Bali in the fall shoulder season and experienced something similar. The cooperating weather, coupled with the previously mentioned benefits might just make it my favorite time of year to travel.
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IMG_7757After our walk back down we took an alternate route to Lake Bled. Unfortunately there was a big rowing race that day so the lake was very populated and covered in various competitions. Of course it would have been exciting if one were a part of the day’s festivities, but it didn’t make for a very scenic view. I know I may be coming across as entitled and out of touch (which, fair enough), but sometimes it feels a little crummy to have reality exist lower than your expectations.

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IMG_7771So, really, what am I talking about? It was very lovely, indeed. We visited the castle perched high on the cliff and rested there before we saw the curtains of rain drawing ever nearer. We hopped in the car and booked it back to Ljubljana, where it was fresh and dry. For a while at least…

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IMG_7818We had every intention of relaxing outside by the river for a while but the lightening and thunder sent us in search of shelter. We walked further down the river to an area we had seen the night before. It had a cool, hip looking crowd and we decided to see if they were back. In short, they weren’t. Every little bar and cafe we walked by was almost completely empty. It could have been the rain keeping everyone at home, but we came to find out that Ljubljana really is a quiet town that doesn’t ever get too rowdy or crazy. So we landed at Repete , a jazz bar that also makes dynamite cheeseburgers, and played 18 holes of Golf while it poured outside.

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IMG_7826After more or less imprinting our butts into the seats at Repete, we briefly stopped by Daktari at the bartenders suggestion. It was a very cool spot with both an outdoor patio and underground maze-like cave, located right by the funicular to the castle. We were all pretty wiped from the day, however, and scooted home rather early.

Overall, it really was a lovely 48-hour trip. We wandered around a bit the next morning before catching an early-afternoon flight. It was fun to see somewhere that was new to all of us and get a little breather from busy Bern life (insert joke here). Looking forward to yet more travel this summer–suggestions welcome!

3 thoughts on “Slovenia: Lakes Bled and Bohinj

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