Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Rowboats "Pletna" on the Lake Bled, ...Image via WikipediaI like to hear what other people have to say about beautiful places in Slovenia. I've visited and experienced them countless times and know very well how breathtakingly beautiful some of them are. And that's why articles like the one below make me smile and I like sharing them with you.

Lake Bled in Gorenjska region is one of those places that has been an inspiration to many for centuries - and it never gets old. People from around the world keep visiting Bled for the first time and others keep returning every time they go to Slovenia.

Lake Bled, Slovenia
by Linda Lyon - Jan. 12, 2011 05:20 PM
Special for The Republic 
My husband, Jack, and I lived in Germany for 20 years, and we decided it was time for a repeat trip to the former Yugoslavia.

The Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia was a vacation destination for Germans in the 1970s and '80s. We first visited there in the summer of 1982. It was beautiful, inexpensive and filled with tourists.

The Bosnian wars of the 1990s changed this area forever, and we wanted to see the changes firsthand. We flew to Frankfurt, Germany, then headed south over the Alps of Austria and on to Bled, a picturesque village of 5,000 on the banks of Lake Bled.

Bled is now in Slovenia, about an hour's drive from Ljubljana, the capital of this small country. Its proximity to Germany and Austria makes it a hot spot for tourists now that things have settled down.

Lake Bled is small compared with other lakes in the area. No motor boats are allowed, and the mode of transportation is a wooden barge called a pletna. It's operated by one person who propels it with an oar, much like gondoliers in Venice.

The main attraction of Lake Bled is the small island in the center that contains the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church, where it is said that one can bring good luck by climbing the 99 steps and ringing the bell. A tradition at weddings is for the husband to carry his new bride up these steps. The bride must remain silent the entire time. Imagine that!

A delicacy of this area is the cremeschnitte, or cream cake, a layered vanilla-and-custard dessert. A piece of this treat truly seals one's love for this little town.

Overlooking Lake Bled is Bled Castle, one of the oldest in Slovenia, dating to 1004. We hiked up the hill paths to the courtyard, where we had a breathtaking view of the lake and surrounding hills. Josip Broz Tito, the former head of Yugoslavia, had a home on this lake; the home is now a hotel called Vila Bled. After a wonderful dinner in the castle, we finished our journey around the lake.

The Slovenian people are friendly and welcoming. There are many lovely hotels and guesthouses, and the local food is delicious. Fortunately, Slovenia fared well after the wars and is on the road to becoming a tourist destination again.
There's a lot more about lake Bled at this page (click on the link below) I put together a while ago:
Bled and Lake Bled Slovenia
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Dance with Bob Turcola

Last Sunday, on January 2, 2011, SNPJ Lodge 778 in Spring Hill hosted the New Year's Dance with Bob Turcola for the second time in a row. The five-piece band sounded great and so did the jammers who took the stage twice. The attendance was decent and everyone had fun. Here are some photos I took at this first successful event of the season at the Slovenian-American Club's Spring Hill Hall.

Bob Turcola with his band

Bob Turcola on piano accordion

Happy dancers

... and more happy dancers

... and musicians' wives, the most important members of the band

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Krizanke, Ljubljana

Photo "Krizanke, Ljubljana" - courtesy of Vojko Dular

Photographer’s Note

from web
The Knights of the Cross monastery stands by the southwest edge of the former fortified medieval nucleus of Ljubljana, above the New Square (Novi trg). It was built in the middle of the 13th century and redone in 1567. It was first mentioned in 1265. In the walls and lapidary, the stones, with their Gothic and Renaissance characteristics, testify to the medieval whole. The old elongated church was torn down in the 18th century and, according to plans by Domenico Rossi, a new, differently orientated central building was built (1714) with a waved Baroque roof and altars with exquisite paintings (Martin Altomonte, Anton Schoonjans).

The early Gothic relief with Mary on the throne was moved from the abandoned portal to Krakovo Chapel and later to the National Gallery. After World War II, the monastery complex was thoroughly renovated (1953-1956). The Summer Theatre and the School of Design were built, and the Knights' Hall and a restaurant (Plečnikov hram) were arranged. The architect Plečnik was especially dedicated to the arrangement of the courtyards (Hell Yard or Peklensko dvorišče, entrance yard with a lapidary, large yard) and edge terraces. The surrounding is arranged according to his ideas: walls with stone relics and memorial plaques, Graben with pavement and trees, Emonska Street with a children's playground, and the Square of the French Revolution (Trg francoske revolucije) with the Illyrian Column (1929). After Plečnik's death the renovation and arrangement of the theatre was continued by the architect Anton Bitenc, with Viktor Molk by his side. At the edge of a large courtyard, a memorial statue of a portrait of Plečnik's head was uncovered (Vladimira Bratuž) and later the portrait of Bitenc was added. Part of the premises of the School of Design was redone in 1990 (architect Matija Suhadolc).

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