August 3, 2018

Enchanted by Lake Bled


Ah, Lake Bled… arguably the most beautifully scenic place that my family and I visited during our tour around Eastern Europe. To be honest, I hadn’t even considered the country Slovenia to be of much significance when compared to the other familiar European countries that I had studied in history textbooks throughout my childhood. But that all changed when we passed through the Julian Alps and my heart swooned over taking in the dreamy Lake Bled. The deep blue and emerald green waters (due to the salt, limestone, and clear alpine water) made the place seem magical especially with the medieval Bled castle overlooking the lake from a nearby mountaintop.


Crossing the lake on a traditional Pletna boat made for a peaceful experience. We quietly took in different views of the lake until our local oarsman brought us to the island near the middle of the lake. We were greeted with a long stairway leading up to the Baroque church at the top.


The reward for our exercise with getting to ring the old “wishing bell” inside the church which was first installed in 1534. The story behind the bell is actually rather sad: a young widow from Bled castle had the bell casted in the chapel in memory of her husband, but as the bell was being transported, a horrible storm came and sank the boat and its crew (some like to say they can still hear the bell ringing from the bottom of the lake). When the widow died, the Pope consecrated a new bell to be sent to the island and it has remained ever since!


As much as I wanted to stay on the island, I couldn’t wait to get back on the boat and be surrounded by the glistening green waters. All the while, I took many pictures from as many different perspectives of the lake as I could till we reached shore!


Our next outing was to Bled Castle which was built in the 11th century and is one of Slovenia’s most famous tourist destinations. It felt like a hike walking up the stone stairs for a good 10 minutes until we finally reached the top of the castle. But the effort was worth it when we happily found the best view of the lake below.


The heavenly rays of sun being cast over the lake and surrounding forests nearly took my breath away, I could have lingered there by the edge of the castle for an hour under the sun and not have complained. I could now understand why two groups had decided to walk all the way up in their expensive dresses and heels to celebrate two weddings at the top of the castle. Our tour guide was bold enough to ask one of the couples about how they met, so they briefly described to her how they fell in love while studying abroad in NYC (whoo, go America!). He was a Slovenian native and she came from Singapore. They made for a beautiful couple and I adored the bride’s white, floral dress, so I couldn’t help but take one picture of them during their happy moment!


Once we carefully trekked back down the castle and filed into our bus, we were dropped off by our hotel simply called Hotel Park which was built and designed during communist times. We walked a few minutes to a restaurant near the lake, and I was happily surprised to find that they also made healthy smoothies there. For dessert, we followed our tour guide’s recommendation in trying their famous traditional Bled cream cake (Slovenians practically consider it a crime if you leave their country without ever trying their cream cake)! Despite my usual diet, I decided to indulge in a little bite and the taste reminded me of sugary pudding and cannolis.

Hotel Park where we stayed
😋
#ducks
Cute!
Slovenia is known for its many skiing resorts
This was my mom's idea haha...

The next morning, I convinced my mom to wake at 5 am with me to try to see the sunrise. I had checked the weather forecast the night before and it said there was a good chance, so I was hopeful. But like every attempt I've ever made to see the sunrise, it was a no-show. It was a calming scene to take in, nonetheless.

I love how the lake's reflection makes it look symmetrical
Me at 5:30 am. I could look worse lol...

All in all, it was a wonderful day of exploring around Lake Bled. I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to going back there for another vacation someday!

UP NEXT: Lake Bohinj!

If you weren't already impressed by Lake Bled, I'm sure you'll swoon over the views of Lake Bohinj which is also a famous lake in Slovenia. We rode a gondola up a mountain that was near the lake, so I look forward to sharing the best pictures in my next blogpost. Be sure to check out my last blogpost where I detailed our tour of Vienna, Austria if you haven't already. The city is filled with Art Nouveau architecture, and is considered to be the music capital of the world!

Have you ever thought much of Slovenia (till now)? Are there any dreamy lakes that you’ve visited on your vacations? Let me know in the comments below!


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