We are all so SO so SO happy to have had the opportunity to see Slovenia. It is one of those places you always hear about but really don’t know much information about. My first impression is that it reminds me of Austria meets Italy meets Czech Republic. You can go to the beach in the clear blue waters of the Med and then less than 2 hours be in the skiing in the Alps! Vineyards galore, medieval villages, castles, friendly people, and it isn’t very commercialized. It reminds me of Nelson County, VA but on steroids. I love the small town feel here. The kids and I have a new HEART for our world map. We can’t wait to explore more of this amazing country.
We had a big breakfast and set out to explore the castle in the morning. We drove up to it as hiking with two small kids did not sound appealing. Maybe if it were just the two of us but not in this situation.
Bled Castle (Blejski-Grad) http://www.slovenia.info/?kul_zgod_znamenitosti=10105
We drove to the castle and stormed the gate with the kids. One of our favorite things to do. The castle had amazing views of the island. There was a blacksmith shop which has been there for 4 generations, one of the first paper makers and print and presses, AND my favorite, a wine cellar with a monk that lets you bottle your own vino. Yes please! The wine was $14 but the experience of filling the bottle from an old keg, corking it, dipping the neck and cork of it into bee’s wax, and then putting a wax seal on my bottle was worth the money. Plus I got my own certificate that says-” yeah, I am legit!” in more words or less.
From there we took a boat (a pletna http://www.pletna.si/) to Bled Island in the middle of the lake. It is accessible by this or a row boat or kayak only. It looks like a larger version of a gondola but with a cover for shade. It took about 45 minutes for us to get rowed to the lake. The ride was very calm and the views were breathtaking. Once we arrived, we had 40 minutes to explore the island. We rang the famous church bell (for good luck) with the kids, checked out the tower, and then walked the nature path around the island. I loved seeing all the different boats. One boat was a wooden swan. There are several swans and ducks that live at the lake and that also added a special ambiance to the lake. We left the island and went back to shore. There were several markets set up and we bought olives, fresh bread, salami, and cheese and decided that would be our lunch. We packed the kids into the car and then decided to check out the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. According to our new TomTom this was about 45 minutes away.
At first it looked very soviet block-ish but as we got closer to the town we found a charming town center. There was a castle on the hill but we didn’t go to it as all of our budgeted funds went to the castle that morning and the boat to the island. We just walked around and took our time to take in the sites. The buildings were beautiful and so were the people. They had a food festival this day and I must say EVERYTHING looked and smelled delicious!
On our way back to Bled, we stopped off at a random medieval village, hiked up to a castle, let the kids run and play and then headed back to the hotel. The kids had a nice swim in the pool after dinner and now we are getting ready for tomorrow. We are thinking of going to the coast and exploring 3 small Slovenian towns on the Mediterranean coast. Our new TomTom doesn’t have a Croatia map…yet, so we are trying to decide if we should cross the border or not. Depends on how adventurous we are feeling in the morning. Eventually, once our internet is up and going at full speed, we will have a TON of pics to post. Good night from Hotel Lovec and Lake Bled, Slovenia!