It was a miserable start to the day, with light rain, cool winds and dark skies. We knew it wasn’t ideal conditions to visit somewhere as scenic as Lake Bled, but with the forecast looking pretty similar for the next few days, we did what we always do – and pushed on.
By chance we’d parked next to a motorhome shop, which gave me the opportunity to buy a few spares for some niggling problems – like a tap that doesn’t stop dripping. This worked out well, as by the time we’d finally completed the maintenance and crossed over into Slovenia (country #25), it was after noon, and the rain look like it was going to hold off for a few hours.
Rather than going straight to Lake Bled, we went to the nearby town of Radovljica. It was said to be a beautiful old town, and with a special recommendation for the restaurant Lectar. It didn’t start out so rosy, as we weren’t really impressed with the town, which was quite small, and not that exceptional.
Sadly, this applied to lunch, too, which would have been OK if it wasn’t €40. We’d relaxed the purse strings a little while we were in Eastern Europe, eating out nearly daily. It seems that Slovenia isn’t quite as cheap as we’d hoped.
It’s not to say that the food wasn’t good, because the tiny dumplings with goulash was soft and rich, and the home made sausages were tasty – but it just didn’t feel like value for money.
We walked around town a little, and tried to catch a few glimpses of the mountains that are said to be beautiful in this area, but are currently hidden behind layers of clouds.
It was around 3PM by the time we’d arrived in Lake Bled, and we’d entered another break in the rain. I was optimistic that it might clear up, and we’d be blessed with a little sunshine – but I must have wished to the wrong deity, because it didn’t clear.
Our first challenge was finding a place to park so we could get out and view the lake. There were some parks on the side of the road as we left town, however they wanted €10, even though we planned to spend 15-minutes walking in this area taking photos. We continued driving around the tiny lake, mesmerised by the small church on the island in the centre, hoping to find a cheaper option for parking. We didn’t. I was tempted to take our chances and park in the similarly priced parking at the far side of the lake, which was currently empty, and didn’t appear to be under any direct supervision. But, I still remember the €60 fine from Norway (which I’ve contested), and decided to pay the damn parking. I should say, I tried to pay the damn parking, but it only accepted coins – and no one has €10 in spare change lying around. It was €5 for a regular car, so I popped €5 in, and left the ticket with a note explaining the situation – I have no doubt that it was a pointless gesture. As a further pointless political statement, I left our ticket in the machine for the next person to use, saving them from spending a further €5.
It was much quieter from this side of the lake, with far fewer tourists – actually, it was surprising to me just how many tourists were here today. We’d had brief glimpses of the lake (and island) while we were driving, but now being able to fully appreciate it at our leisure was fantastic.
We followed the small wooden walkway that skirted the perimeter of the lake, amazed by the collection of trees with their leaves in rich autumnal shades of yellow. The trees were almost as beautiful as the floating church. Coming from a sub-tropical climate (Brisbane), I never realised how amazing seasons were until I moved to Japan and experienced the true four seasons.
Back to the island. It was amazing – truly a beautiful sight, even in these less than ideal weather conditions. It was hard to say for sure, but I imagine that on a sunny day the water looks amazing. It seemed quite clear to us, easily seeing trout doing their thing, as well as the bottom of the lake. It’s not the best measure, but I stuck my hand in, and was surprised at how not-cold it felt – it didn’t feel warm, but it was far from being cold.
But, we were cautious about overstaying our less that legit parking situation, so after having walked around a quarter of the circumference (it’s only 6km in total), we made our way back to Gunter. Of course, if it had been earlier on a better day, we’d have tried harder to park with confidence and explore the area fully. The rain had started very gently while we were walking back to Gunter, so we took off on our way to Ljubljana instead, slightly unsatisfied with our visit, but powerless to do much about the weather – and generally I think we’ve faired quite well with the weather, regardless how much I bemoan about it.