Bridge in Bled

Happiness is – another full day in Slovenia which was just beautiful. The main attraction in this area is, of course, Lake Bled but there was so much else to see and enjoy.

Bridge in BledBridge at Bohinj Bled

The town of Bled is small but very busy and our hotel, like almost every building in the town, was on the shore of the lake so we had magnificent views. The lake is very well used mainly with groups of rowers and those enjoying their own small boats. In the middle of the lake is an island with a chapel which we visited in the afternoon. More of that later.

Looking down on Bled from the CstleView of Bled from the Castle

A lovely home in BledA beautiful home in Bled

As all our planned activities for the day within a relatively small area were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before leaving for the morning tour to Bled Castle built in the early 11th Century. It is built on the top of a cliff and the drive up to the Castle affords one the most stunning views across the countryside. Although our coach had driven a couple of kilometres up the hill there was no way it could get right to the Castle entrance. We had to walk up a slow and reasonably steep walk up to the Castle entrance. Fortunately it was fairly cool that Autumn day as I do not think it would be a pleasant climb, especially for Senior Citizens or those who have a walking disability. There are other walks and trails up to the Castle from Bled but we did not try any of these.

A wet misty road up to Bled CastleA misty drive up to the Castle

Bled CastleLooking up at the Castle

In the castle groundsThe Castle courtyard with entrance to the museum

We started our tour of Bled Castle began with a visit to the well-preserved printing works with a recreated wooden Guthenburg Printing Press and its contents. There is a a young man who demonstrates the working of the press. High up on one wall was a statue of  Primoz Trubar, a Minister of the Lutheran Church who was the first to translate the Bible into Slovene.

Being shown how the printing press was usedThe Printing process being explained

Primo Trubar who first translated the Psalms into SloveneStatue of Primoz Trubar 

After our time at Bled Castle, we were taken in  Pletna boats to the island in the middle of the Lake. This is a flat-bottomed boat rowed by a person similar to a gondolier but using 2 oars. It was amazing how he managed to row with such precision and smoothly. What was important was that we sat down in a particular order to keep the boat steady.

Our Pletna boatOur Pletna boat

Approaching island in Lake BledApproaching the island in Lake Bled

On arrival at the island there were 99 steps to be climbed to reach to hill on which the Church of the Assumption is built. There is a tradition, which is still kept today, whereby the groom of a couple wishes to have their wedding in this church has to carry his bride up these steps to the ceremony. We weren’t told how many had been unsuccessful.

Ssteps up to the churchThe 99 steps up to the church

When we returned many of us walked into the adjoining town of Bohinj, also known as led-Boohinj, which proved very interesting. In the centre of the town was a statue of 4 men who were the first to ascend the local mountain in 1778.

4 brave men of Bohinj4 brave men of Bohinj 

We walked across the bridge (see photo at start of this blog) going out of town and were fascinated by the clarity of the water flowing under the bridge. A few yards up the road was the Church of St John the Baptist, which is believed to have been built pre 1300. It was in excellent condition and we were able to take a look inside and came across something I had never seen before, a sculpture of the head of John the Baptist.

Clear coloured water in Lake BohinjCrystal clear water 

Church of St John the Baptist BohinjThe Church of St John the Baptist

Head of John of the BaptistHead of John the Baptist

We had a most wonderful evening in a nearby village where we saw some beautiful murals on a number of the buildings as well as a beautiful herb and vegetable garden where there was a 1000-year old grapevine. At the restaurant where we were to have dinner we were first taken down into the cellar where the owners served us cheese, sausages and wine. We were also entertained by a local musician who was very energetic in his playing.

thousand year old grapevineThe 1000-year old grapevine

Herb gardenThe herb garden used by the restaurant

And so ended a long but really beautiful day.