Slovenia – Day 11 – #15daysthrougheurope
Oh, Slovenia. I will be going back! Probably one of my favorite places I have been in Europe so far.
Although, I suppose I should start this story back in Austria, where Day 11 actually begins. We woke up early and checked out of our hotel so that we could get back on the road again. Fortunately the crappy weather from the day before passed and it was a nice, cold, day.
If you watch my storie (check out the app in the iTunes app store) from Day 11 you will see how much we enjoyed just the drive from Austria to Slovenia.
Lake Bled and the Vintgar Gorge have both been on my “must see” list long before moving to Germany. So when my mom planned her trip to visit and gave me free reign over the planning. I knew Slovenia was a must!
We had planned on checking into our hotel first (which I admit it looks like we do in the storie haha – the clips are out of order). When we arrived there was a bike race going on and we could not reach our hotel, so we just kept going and went on to the gorge first. And oh what a gorge! It was amazing. The parking lot was right along the river and across the way, there is a field full of cows (with bells). As we started walking through the gorge I couldn’t help but compare it to some of the rivers I have been on in Central America in the jungle. The teal color of the water and the vast vegetation paired with the gorge walls and the wooden boardwalk made it feel like walking through a fairy tail.
We wandered down the wooden boardwalk free of any other “safety” features and couldn’t help but compare the previous 2 gorges we had visited. Partnachklamm in Germany where we walked along a rock and concrete walkway with loads of other people, Lichtensteinklamm in Austria where we had a wooden boardwalk but there was a lot of cable and chainlink for safety reasons, and then Vintgar where there was very little to compete with the natural beauty. This is easily my favorite and I cannot wait to return.
At the end, there is another waterfall, but not like the slender falls in the Lichtensteinklamm, this was a wide gushing falls and the boardwalk actually walks you out over it to look down and out into the valley. You can also walk down and around to the bottom. This is the point at which we turned around and enjoyed the view walking back from a different perspective.
Oh, and we also met a goose.
We got everything packed back up and put the next destination into the GPS – Lake Bled!
As we were driving we decided we should get something to eat for lunch and saw a “Fast Food” hut off the road. We figured we should try it out and it did not disappoint – it was basically a Doner Kebab. We split a Doner so we would have room to visit the pastry shop next door. Everyone was so friendly and even taught me how to say some important words.
Thank You: Hvala
and the all important
Do you speak English? Govorite anglesko?
Whatever flavor that blue bottle of Fanta is… it is my new favorite.
We stuck out like a sore thumb parking the Prius in the tiny parking lot. It was pretty funny, we got some interesting stares – something I have grown used to living in Germany. But we also ran into a German couple from the same little town as me as we were leaving (You can tell where someone is from by looking at the first 2 or 3 letters of their license plate). It REALLY threw them off when I turned out to be an American.
With full and happy bellies we made our way to a parking spot (which proved to be a bit of a challenge) near the lake. Lake Bled is gorgeous, but absolutely packed with people – and this was a Sunday when a lot of the shops were closed! We tried a few different places before we found a hotel that we could rent bikes from. They were a bit… well used, but they got the job done!
It’s funny, anytime I go to a country that people say they found the people “rude” I always find them quite pleasant and the tourists to be the rude ones. And Lake Bled was no exception. The path around the lake is very wide in most places. I know people can’t see a bicycle coming up behind them, but once they notice it you would expect them to make way. Not the case. We would come up behind a group of people walking 5 across the path and be peddling right behind them, have them look at us, and just… not move. Now at first I thought, well maybe we aren’t supposed to be on the path. But… I had already asked the bike rental man if this was the case and he assured us we could. Also, for a place with probably 15 different bike rental stands along the path… surely it is expected. We tried saying excuse me, we tried ringing the bell, nothing really worked. We mostly just got dirty looks until we got around to the far side of the lake were most people were too lazy to continue on foot.
Now don’t take my complaints to mean I didn’t enjoy myself. We loved our ride around the Lake. It is a great way to see the entire perimeter. And we made many many stops to take photos.
As we rode our bikes we ran into a man painting along the trail, so, of course, I had to stop. “Bobi” was quite the character so it made for a memorable stop. He had his watercolor paintings of the lake displayed on the rock wall of the trail. I try to collect local art where ever I go, so I was sold before we finished stopping. But we stayed and chatted with Bobi for quite a while. He has a very interesting story. He even painted an extra on the back of each of our paintings we picked out.
Once we finished packing our paintings and left Bobi we peddled a little quicker the rest of the way (we talked right through our parking time). Don’t worry, no tickets, we made it back just a few minutes late. We grudgingly left Bled to make our way back to the apartment at the Vintranc Apartments.
We did have to stop for a few pictures on the way, though… the views are just that good.
Our apartment was wonderful! We had a bit of confusion when we arrived because we didn’t know how to get inside. A sweet couple from Sweden let us know we needed to check in at the main Ramada hotel across the street. The staff was incredibly kind and got us checked in with no problem. They also gave us info on using the pool down the street, which we took full advantage of. We only h ad a little over an hour but that was enough time to swim around and enjoy the view from the pool. The apartment was perfect! While a bit dated, it was still adorable, comfortable, and affordable! And the view was not so bad either!
We decided to go for a walk through the small town to find a place for dinner. So we took off to wander through the small streets. We walked until we found a place that looked to have quite a few locals eating and stopped there. The food was wonderful and the staff was extremely friendly.
And then… bed! Day 12 was going to be a lot of driving!
See all the photos here.
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