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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Traveling – Lake Bled, Slovenia

We arrived late in the afternoon in Lake Bled, Slovenia, and we were very tired from a full day of driving and sightseeing.  We are nine days into our Fall 2007 Europe trip and we have been on active and on the move everyday.  We were instantly revived when we saw the lake and the beauty of the surrounding area.

Our first task was to find a place to stay.  We were using travel materials from Rick Steves that included a listing of budget accommodations.  The first Bed and Breakfast we checked out was about 10 miles from the lake and no one was home.  We couldn’t find the second place, so we chose a wonderful hotel: Villa Anna that is situated at the top of the hill on the main road leading to the lake.  It was a great spot as we had a suite complete with kitchen, sitting room, and a sun room where we had our breakfasts and dried our cloths after washing.  The native language in Slovenia is English, so it is very easy to communicate with people when looking for lodging and restaurants.

It’s a five-minute walk from our hotel to the lake.  We walked down and looked out over the pristine lake and noted the church situated on top of a small island in the lake.  We found a small restaurant right on the lake and had a nice dinner.  We both had a pork chop cooked with mushroom sauce, salad, vegetables, and the famous Lake Bled Cream Cake!

We enjoyed the Bled Cream Cake after every dinner while we stayed at the lake.  It has a crunchy top and bottom, and two layers in the middle; yellow vanilla custard and whipped cream.  It ranks as one of our top desserts of all time!

The day after arriving, we went for a drive over the Julian Alps.  The road makes 50 switchbacks during the mountain crossing and was quite a beautiful drive.  Once we reached the other side, there are three options to get back to the hotel; drive back over the mountain (4 hours), drive around the mountains (5 hours), or take the train back through the mountains.  We chose the third options of taking the train.

We thought that we would load our car on the train and get in a passenger rail car for the ride.  We were in a passenger car all right – our car!  I drove our car onto the flatbed train car and remained in our car for the hour long ride through the mountains.  We got out some cheese, crackers and fruit and ate a snack while watching the scenery go by.

When we returned to Lake Bled, we visited our favorite restaurant on the lake, but it was too late for patio service so we dined inside.  I had deer medallions and my wife had marinated chicken kabobs, and yes, we finished with Bled Cream Cake.

We really enjoyed our visit to the church on the island.  We had a gondolier that rowed us to the island where we had 30 minutes to look around.  We climbed the stairs from the lake to the church courtyard and then we flew through the church and small museum as the clock was ticking.  The best part about the visit to the island was the slow boat ride where we could lazily watch the scenery.

On the same day we visited the island, we visited the castle on the hill that overlooks the town and lake.

Our favorite memories (other than dessert), was from our visit to the Vintgar George.  This is a small canyon with a beautiful turquoise river that runs down between the narrow canyon walls.  There are walkways built out over the river so you can walk the length of the valley (about 2 miles down and back).  We were visiting in October, so the colors of the trees were very vibrant and contrasted wonderfully with the color of the river.

Lake Bled is a warm friendly place to relax or enjoy the outdoors.  We relaxed, explored, and really enjoyed our adventures experiencing the local foods.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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