ZigZagging Our Way Through Europe
Early this morning we set out for the short two hour drive from Zagreb, Croatia for Bled Lake, Slovenia.
Bled Lake, one of the most picturesque lakes in the world is surrounded by the Julian Alps and dense forests.
With a 1,000 year old storybook castle perched on a cliff and a 16th century church built on an island, Bled Lake is like no other.
We first visited the Assumption of Mary Church located on Bled Island in the center of the lake.
The island can be reached in about 15 minutes by either renting a row boat (€20 per hour) and rowing yourself …
or by a Pletna, a larger non-motorized gondola-type boat that is unique to Bled and dates back to 1590. Although the idea of rowing ourselves sounded fun, we chose instead to hire a pletna at a fee of €15 per person.
Our pletnar was a gentleman named Jože Berc, a former two-time Olympian who, at the age of 19, rowed for the Yugoslavian rowing team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Born in Bled and now 78 years old, Jože has been rowing for over 55 years and is still an amazing athlete making the 30 minute round trip several times a day.
We dock at the foot of the Assumption of Mary Church. Dating from the 12th century, the church was destroyed in a 1511 earthquake and rebuilt in its current baroque style.
A popular wedding location, tradition has it that the groom must carry his bride up the 99 steps leading from the lake, ring a bell and make a wish.
Okay, well that may take some time.
The well manicured grounds of the Church are immaculate and provide a beautiful view of the surrounding lake.
We returned to the dock to meet Jože for the return trip to Bled, still amazed at his stamina and agility. After debarking from the pletna, we set out for the short, but scenic drive to the Bled Castle.
Built on a precipice overlooking the Town of Bled and Bled Lake, the medievial castle reminds us of a scene out of a Disney movie. Constructed in 1004, it is Slovenia’s oldest castle and one of the most visited attractions.
The panoramic views from the castle are breathtaking with the Town of Bled and the Bled Lake below as well as the surrounding Julian Alps.
Although the vistas are without doubt the focal point of the castle, there are numerous sites to visit including a print shop with a reconstruction of Gutenberg’s wooden printing press, a castle wine cellar, a castle beehive with souvenirs, as well as numerous exhibitions and museums.
We had been told that while in Bled Lake we must try Kerman rezina, a cream cake affectionately called Kremsnita. Traditionally made each day since 1953, we can attest it is a MUST TRY for anyone visiting Bled Lake!
If you’re not craving kremsnita, you can always enjoy a cold gelato on the steps of the castle.
Next we’re off to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
Have you been to Bled Lake? Tell us about it!
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