two days in Bled, Slovenia
09.01.2008 - 11.01.2008
Besides the ferry from Italy to Croatia we only had one really long travel to do, this was between Dubrovnik (at the bottom of Croatia) and Slovenia. At first we weren’t going to stop in Slovenia, the rough plan was to train straight through to Austria. But we decided we had a few extra days to kill and we were knida sick of cities and keen to spend a few days in a laid back little town. So a quick look in our lonely planet and we found a little passage on a place called Bled. It fit all the critera; on the train line to Austria, small town, by a lake and near some mountains.
But to get there we first had to do a 4 hr bus ride from Dubrovnik to Split (where the train lines started), skewing into Bosnia for a quick stop to by some buns. We had 6 hrs to kill in Split before our night train to Zagreeb so we had a look round the city, not really expecting much. Splits a pretty cool place, another Venetian old town with the ruins of a Roman palace that one of the Cesar’s had built as a retirement home.
There seemed to be a real mix of old and new design styles here with the modern costal boulevard melding into the Venetian old town and Roman ruins. This was also shown in the catacombs of the Roman Palace (which we got into for free after a quick chat with the guy on the door) where a modern sculpture exhibition was.
Eventually we got on our night train to Zagreeb (7hrs), had a quick kip and woke up in northern Croatia. Not much to say about Zagreeb as we hopped on the first train to Ljubljana (Slovenia’s capital), arriving in a little over 2 hrs. Another 2 hr layover in Ljubljana, which was taken up by talking, or being talked to by one of the local drunks. Everything with him was very ‘comprehensive’ (his favorite word which he would add in anywhere he could), and after repeated attempts to explain Slovenia national pride, philosophy and convince us we were yuppies we had to leave to get on the train (what a shame).
Anyway we finally arrived at our destination, Bled. And it was a pretty impressive place, reminded us a bit of the Queenstown / Wanaka areas. Really nice lake with an island monastery in the middle, cliffs on one side with a castle precariously perched on the top and ringed by the julian alps.
This is supposed to be Europe’s answer to the NZ adventure scene and in the summer you can do everything from caving, canyoning, mtb and white water rafting to skiing in the winter. We were in between seasons (just as well as rach was starting to get pretty sick) so had no temptation to partake in any of the sports. Although the Biathlon (cross country skiing and shooting) World Cup was on while we were there, lot of athletes doing training runs round the lake in lycra………. brrrrrrr.
We spent our time relaxing and walking round the lake, eating out (what no pizza, we’re not in Italy anymore) and just taking time to soak up the mountain atmosphere. This is also where the trip started to take a nose dive in temperature, if you weren’t in the sun then it was freezing (not helping with rach’s cold). So on our last night we went to one of the lake side resorts and spent a good few hours soaking in their spas and hot pools.
pam, you should never come here the swans are massive, you'd just freak out
This was also where our camera finally gave up the ghost (hence the lack of photos). It’d been going for a good 5 years and we were wanting it to last the trip but secretly hopping it’d break so we could get a new fancy one.
So Bled……… fairytale castles, resort hotels and awesome scenery.
Onto Austria to find a beer hall