Monday, March 4, 2013

A Short Weekend in Bled, Slovenia!

     A few weeks ago Stephen and I were invited to a wedding in Pordenone, Italy, and since Stephen had the preceding Friday off from work, we decided to extend our trip and cross the border to Slovenia.  After looking at the map, I realized that the Italian border is only about 20 minutes from Pordenone, so I started searching the web for places to visit in neighboring Slovenia--a place I knew nothing about!  After looking through some pictures and reviews, I showed Stephen I picture of Lake Bled--then the decision was made!  We were going to spend Thursday and Friday before the wedding in a small town in northern Slovenia which was about two hours away from Pordenone.  We arrived at our apartment at 6:00 on Thursday night, got settled, and then had a nice seafood dinner at a restaurant near the lake. 

     On Friday morning we woke up early and headed out to the lake.  It was a beautiful, sunny day even though Slovenia had just had a lot of snow (as you can see) earlier in the week.  We stopped into a hotel for a quick breakfast which was very extensive compared to the Italian breakfast of coffee.  The hotel had eggs, meats, breads, cereal, juices, teas, and coffee.  After a leisurely breakfast we walked another five minutes to the edge of the lake.  Even though it was the off-season for tourists, there were lots of families and kids walking around the lake and feeding the swans and ducks.  Then we started to walk around the lake towards the castle.

     The castle was quite small, but had several very scenic views and a museum detailing the history of the lake and castle.  We probably spent an hour in and around the castle.

     We got a great view of the island in Lake Bled.  From the side of the lake where the town lies, the island is a ways off, but the aerial view from the castle gave us a much better view of the church on the very small island.  During our walk around the lake, only one small boat traveled out to the island.

      I was able to test the panorama mode on our new camera with the view the castle afforded.  I was really glad we made the trek up to the castle because it was beautiful!  As you can see there weren't any clouds in the sky and the sun provided some much-needed warmth.  From the castle, you can see the many mountains surrounding this town on all sides.

     After going through the museum, we started back down the side of the cliff to finish our walk around the lake.  It turned out to be quite a walk, and even today (three days later!) my legs still feel the pain!   The ice and snow was melting as we walked around on Friday morning, but you can still see the sheet of snow surrounding the island.

     Our time in Slovenia went by way too quickly--we left Bled early on Saturday morning to begin the two-hour drive to the Pordenone Comune where our friends were getting married at noon.  Instead of taking us through Slovenia's capital like our trip in, the GPS took us up north through the Dolomites.  Once we hit a major highway instead of the tiny back roads, we could enjoy the towering mountains all around us.  It was a beautiful drive home--and even though we got lost and wound up in Austria, it was nice to go back into Italy a different way.  We woke up in Slovenia, drove through Austria, and found our way back to Italy!

     Even though I had not heard of Slovenia three weeks ago, it was an amazing trip and its proximity to home reminded us how lucky we are to be in northern Italy--we find ourselves close to so many beautiful places!