A Travellerspoint blog

January 2020

Simply Bled

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I am writing this blog entry a fortnight after the day that is described below. I am currently on a Qatar Airways flight bound for Sydney somewhere over the sea just west of the Indian coast.

On previous trips abroad I have had little trouble catching up on a backlog of blog entries. Not this time. I have been too busy and too tired. Also, unlike my earlier travels, this time I am not getting the same enjoyment from writing my blog as I did before.

I have been live-tweeting my rail journeys - well, live-tweeting as well as someone who didn't have an Italian SIM card - on Twitter, you can follow my account at @urban_reverie. I have for some reason found those threads more rewarding than the blog, probably because it's easier for others to interact with me and easier to upload photos and videos.

In any case, I have started this blog and I feel obliged to finish it. My memories won't be as fresh as if I wrote the entries on the same day; I will need to jog my memory by scrolling through my photos on my iPhone. This entry covering Friday the 1st of November will be easy though, because I didn't do much at all.

I have now been overseas six times and this is the fourth time that I have been stricken with a cold or the flu while travelling. I don't know why this is the case; I am no more susceptible to respiratory infections than the average person my age in my ordinary life. I suspect that aeroplanes are inherently unhealthy places with filthy recirculated air and hundreds of strangers in close proximity inhaling and exhaling that same air for many hours. Perhaps my Australian antibodies are not used to European germs and I have no immunity to strains of the common cold found here. Whatever the reason, it ain't bloody fair.

On Wednesday I noticed my first symptoms, a blocked nose and a dry cough. After coming back from Škocjan Caves that evening, I went to the most beautiful pharmacy in the world on Prešeren Square, an Art Nouveau wonderland of marble and tile and timber shelves. The courteous pharmacist sold me some cold and flu tablets and she interpreted the Slovenian instructions on the box for me. On the Thursday when I went to Postojna Caves the symptoms abated. And today, Friday, the cold returned with a vengeance. I woke up feeling like I wanted to rip my lungs out of my ribcage, wash them in a sink full of hot soapy water, rinse them out in cold running water and hang them out to dry.

I needed breakfast - lunch really, it was quite late - so I summoned the strength to shower and get dressed. As I went into the corridor outside my holiday apartment I met my hosts, a friendly and effervescent and athletic young couple named Natalija and Jure. They were very friendly and didn't even seem to mind that I was a walking, talking infectious disease hazard. They gave me lots of advice about restaurants and things to see in Lake Bled and all the surrounding wilderness. I asked if there was a pharmacy in town, they told me it was closed. It was a four-day long weekend in Slovenia, that day was the Day of the Dead when Slovenes visit their relatives' graves; the day is known as All Hallows Day in the Anglosphere. Great.

Natalija and Jure had booked a holiday to Australia in November and they asked for lots of advice about Australia which I willingly shared. Our conversation was so stimulating and we could have talked for hours, they were such amiable people, but they had to continue preparing rooms for other guests and I had to get something to eat.

Lake Bled is famous for a decadent dessert, the kremšnita, a cream cake invented in a Bled café in 1953. Nowadays every place in town sells it. I went to a nearby café and bought breakfast, coffee and a kremšnita. It was nice, but I will maintain till my dying day that a kremšnita is just an Australian vanilla slice with a thick layer of whipped cream betwen the custard layer and the top crust.

There is a walking track six kilometres long that follows the entire shoreline of Lake Bled. Even though it was a gloomy, cloudy, grey day - the sun hadn't come out once in Slovenia until my last day - the lake was still bewitching. The water is coloured turquoise but is still crystal clear; you can see into the depths for many metres. All around the lake, steep hills and mountains swept up from the shoreline, clad in lanky pines and colourful deciduous trees with their autumn leaves. There is one magnificent rocky outcrop on the northern shore, on the top of this is an awesome castle straight out of a fairytale. The crowning glory of Lake Bled is a steep little island in the middle with a cute white church on the top and a long sweeping staircase going from the water up to the church door.

The shoreline is almost entirely accessible to the public except for a handful of very expensive summer houses. The streets of Bled are also full of luxury cars with Ljubljana plates, I guess this is where wealthy Slovenes spend their spare time. There are many expensive hotels dotted around the shore including the palatial Vila Bled, once the summer residence of one Josip Broz Tito, the strongman who kept Yugoslavia together for four decades after World War Two.

I felt my cold somewhat improve, the fresh, bracing alpine air was restorative. After completing the circuit around the lake very slowly, I grabbed pizza for dinner and retired to a cosy, toasty pub which was selling glasses of mulled wine for three euros. Slowly sipping on a soothing warm drink while working on my blog in a quiet little corner seemed to help my lungs a bit too.

Kremšnita, omelette and coffee for brunch

Kremšnita, omelette and coffee for brunch

Pletna on Lake Bled

Pletna on Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Bled Castle

Bled Castle

Boardwalk on Lake Bled walking circuit

Boardwalk on Lake Bled walking circuit

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Slovenian rowing Olympic medallists at the Lake Bled rowing centre

Slovenian rowing Olympic medallists at the Lake Bled rowing centre

Lake Bled island church

Lake Bled island church

Bled Castle at night

Bled Castle at night

Mulled wine and working on my blog

Mulled wine and working on my blog

Posted by urbanreverie 22:54 Archived in Slovenia Tagged walking slovenia lake_bled Comments (0)

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