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January 2017
Stropnik Naveršnik Nastja
Volunteer of Hostelling International Slovenia
nastja.stropnik@gmail.com
glasnanaja.blogspot.com

Wonderful Bled
Every tourist who’s visiting Slovenia should stop in this beautiful tourist city. Many songs sing about the beauty of this city. This is the home of the best Slovenian dessert, Bled cream cake, in Slovenian “kremšnita”. This is the home of Pletna boats that look the same for five centuries and still drive tourists around the lake. Photos of the Alpine lake with the only Slovenian island are a synonym for Slovenia. Elegance and prestige go hand in hand here. It’s the city where culture is one with the nature. Welcome to Bled! 



An island in the middle of the lake
Bled is a city, which amazes me every time I visit it. It amazes me by the peacefulness of the plateaus, the colour of the lake, which lies at the foot of the highest mountain of Karavankas, the mightiness of the rock where one of the most beautiful Slovenian castle stands or by the liveliness of the visitors. One of the most beautiful and the oldest tourist places in Slovenia lies in the glacier landscape at the foot of Julian Alps, which is lively in every time of the year. At summer there are many tourists, swimming in the lake, which can have up to 25°C and at winter, the city invites skiing enthusiasts to Pokljuka mountain. A popular climbing point is Iglica in Gorenja vas, then there’s a chance for you to climb into a Karst cave, visit the surrounding hills. And then there’s a must visit for every visitor – Vintgar gorge, carved by river Radovna. 



In a beautiful sunny day, Bled might seem like a city from fairy tale. Visiting Bled island is a special event. Pletna boats drive on the lake, and the boats still look like in the past. You can paddle them yourself or leave it to the professionals who will drive you to the lake while you relax and take in the beauty. They will take you to the 99 wonderful stairs, which lead to the baroque church. Živa, life and fertility goddess was worshipped on this island in the past. In 15th century, they built a gothic church and in 17th century, they turned the gothic church into a baroque church, which we see today. I’m sure you’ll hear at least one of the many legends on the island. One says, that the 152 metre high wishing bell fulfils a wish to everyone who rings the bell. See for yourself!

Culinary treats
Bled has many coffee shops and sweet shops and it would be a sin not to get a delicious cup of coffee with a view on the lake and an excellent Bled cream cake that’s been prepared here for centuries. I got my morning coffee in Vila Prešeren on comfortable seats under white parasols and just a step away from the lake. This great cup of coffee with a view on the lake, swans and the castle is something I’m sure will remember for a long time. I have a sweet tooth so I couldn’t leave Bled without treating myself to Bled cream cake, made from dough, egg cream and whipped cream. It may sound very simple but the recipe for this cream cake is still a mystery and the cake is made by the best pastry chefs. Yum, the egg cream with vanilla just melts in your mouth.  



I walked to the castle from Vila Prešeren on a nice path, which leads past the lake and the castle cemetery. You can also drive to the castle, but I walked because it was a beautiful day and I got some fresh air. I was a little out of breath when I reached the top of the hill but the view made me forget the steep hill. A view on the blue-green lake, mountains and untouched nature of Triglav national park will amaze you. If you have the time, I’d also recommend you to visit the castle printing shop, herb gallery and wine cellar. 

Vintgar Gorge
Around 4 kilometres from the city lies a gorge, carved by river Radovna. I visited it by car and followed the signs Blejski vintgar. I parked and started my 1,6 kilometre long walk. It may sound a lot but the path is not very hard and the views that are opening at every step make you forget how much you walked. Unforgettable experience. The gorge walls, carved by Radovna river get narrow and wide and then narrow again. The dampness in the gorge made my hair curl in a second. A little slippery wooden bridges are taking you through the river rapids and pools of crystal clear water that I wanted to catch it in my hand and drink it. The gorge ends with 16 metre high waterfall Šum. 



When the sun started to set, I went back to the city and found hostel Bledec. My mind was still full of great views in beautiful Upper Carniola and wanted to rest in a comfortable bed. Kind staff was waiting for me in the hostel. It lies just under the Bled castle in a calm village centre and is filled with tradition and modern touches. The receptionist took me to one of the 12 refurbished rooms with 3 to 8 beds and private bathrooms. Fresh towels, soft linens, free wi-fi and a restaurant with a diverse offer of food and drink made sure that I felt comfortable. After a shower and a cup of herbal tea I quickly fell asleep. 

If you want to hear some songs about Bled in Slovenian language, check out Miroslav Vilhar’s song Po jezeru, band Avsenik and their song Otoček sredi jezera, Bojan Adamič’s Ko boš prišla na Bled and Majda Sepe’s Pojdi spet na Bled.