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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