Retreat to the Mountains & Lake Bled: Adventure Day 9

When doing “would you rather” questions you sometimes hear “would you rather visit the beach or the mountains?” I’ve always been torn on that question. Sure, the beach can be beautiful and amazing, but there’s something fun about escaping into the wilderness of the mountains (and to be honest as an Idaho girl I’m more used to it anyways). One of the beauties of my recent adventure was getting to see a variety of different landscapes in a short amount of time. And sure enough I made it to both the beach and the mountains.

After finishing my time in Ljubljana, I opted to head into the Julian Alps and stay a night at Lake Bled. With more time and a car I might have enjoyed getting to explore more in the area, but with limited time and relying on public transport, I opted to just hit the highlights.

If you’re like me and had never heard of Lake Bled before now, let me just mention it’s a beautiful lakeside town in the Julian Alps with one of the oldest castles in Slovenia and an island with a pilgrimage church surrounded by a crystalline lake. It sounded like the perfect place to visit while in Slovenia.

I rose and had breakfast at my hotel in Ljubljana before walking to the bus station. It was another 30 minute walk, but again the weather was good, and I figured I’d use the money I would otherwise spend on a cab on something fun elsewhere.

At the station I found my bus heading up to the lake. The bus was relatively empty, the ride only about an hour. I enjoyed the views driving before arriving in the town.

My hotel graciously let me check in on arrival around eleven AM. I had opted to stay at another bed and breakfast in the Old Parish House, located right next to the church of St. Martin. I’d splurged for a lakeside view from my room just for fun.

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After dropping my things, I decided I’d like to make sure I got out to the island first thing. I walked around the lake, enjoying some views and then headed down to an electric boat that could take me out to the island. You can rent little rowboats, usually more in summer, but this seemed efficient, warmer, and simpler (especially by myself).

The man running the boat dropped me and one other person, telling us he’d be back in an hour. I headed up the steps to the bell tower and church. I headed into the church of the Assumption of Mary first where I was able to ring the bell of wishes. It was pretty amazing, getting to tug on the big rope three times and then hear the bell ring out above me. Sadly as a solo traveler I couldn’t get a picture or video of me doing it very easily, but still a fun memory, and you can see the rope in the pictures at least.

After that I climbed the tower. The view wasn’t great because there was mesh on the windows, but, I still enjoyed getting to see the inside of the clock tower.

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After that I headed to the cafe on the island. My ticket for the visit had included a freem slice of Potica, a traditional Slovenian dessert, with coffee. It was a little too dry for my taste, and not nearly sweet enough (I have a huge sweet tooth), but still fun to try.

With a little more time to kill before the boat came back, I wandered the gift shop, went to admire the views at the edge of the island, and then took some more pictures.

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After that, the boat took me back to shore, and I headed up to the castle. It’s definitely a bit of a climb, but the views from there were amazing and I actually really enjoyed the castle itself too. It had an audioguide you could use on your phone, so I listened as I walked around.

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One area I really enjoyed in the castle, besides the fantastic views, was the museum. They had some fun artifacts from the area and good overview of the history.

After I finished exploring the castle, I headed back down the hill to the lakeside. I knew what I wanted to do next was walk all the way around the lake. It was a little over three miles, though I ended up having to take a quick detour when I hit construction midway around. The views were spectacular though, and well worth the walk.

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By the time I was back at my hotel, the sun was going down. I opted to head out to find food. Unfortunately, one of the first places I decided to go to was completely shut down. No indication if it was just seasonal or the restaurant had gone out of business, but either way it threw me for a loop.

I scrambled to find something else. The nearest restaurant to that one was both expensive and fancy looking. As I wasn’t dressed for it, and wasn’t sure I wanted to spend so much, I realized I’d have to search elsewhere.

One of the recommendations I’d had in my guidebook was Ostarija Peglez’n. I looked in, but not only saw pretty much no one in the restaurant, but also didn’t see a menu posted, and was therefore hesitant to just walk in.

I kept looking, but honestly wasn’t seeing much. Feeling very hungry and a little cold, I decided to just go with Ostarija Peglez’n and take a chance.

Unfortunately my waiter not only didn’t give me much time to look over the menu, but also had very unhelpful advice when I asked for recommendations, basically saying everything was good (which wasn’t the point– I just wanted to narrow down my choices). I knew I didn’t want steak, as I’d had that several days in a row, and I’m unfortunately not much of a seafood person, which were a lot of the other options.

I ordered a vegetable soup to start and then salmon for my second course, figuring it would be a healthy option and keep me away from red meat.

The soup was at least pretty good, the salmon kind of dry and not very interesting. I guess the place doesn’t do much in the way of creative cooking, just kind of traditional hearty food. Thankfully the dessert was homemade strudel with vanilla ice cream which was delicious!

After a fantastic day, I was ready to head to bed. I definitely felt like I’d made the most of my day at Lake Bled. Though I certainly wouldn’t have said no to staying another day, I was ready to explore more destinations.

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