When planning a travel itinerary that includes a week at a music festival, it’s a good idea to make the next destination a place for rest and recovery. Which is exactly why we booked a couple of nights in the peaceful town of Bled, in the mountains of Slovenia. That, and because it’d been on my list of pretty places to photograph for a few years now.
We arrived late, checked into the hostel, FINALLY had a decent shower and jumped into bed. I reckon I slept 9-10 hours solid! Woke to cloudy skies and the coolest day of the trip so far, a reprieve from the constant heat of the festival campsite.
We eased into the day, starting with coffee (priorities) and chucked on a couple of loads of washing. Everything worn at Sziget was sweaty, dusty and alcohol stained. I was beginning to run out of underwear. Sometimes I pick a hostel based on location, social scene or price. Other times I pick a hostel based on facilities like a communal kitchen or in this case laundry facilities.
In hindsight (and if we’d had the time) I’d have booked a couple extra days in Bled, knowing what I know now. I wanted to go there for the serenity of the mountains and to see/photograph the beautiful Lake Bled with it’s church on an island. But we found out, from some friendly expats, when we got there, there’s so much more to Bled then it’s lake. Theres other beautiful lakes to visit and mountains, valleys and gorges to hike through, along with many summer outdoor activities such as stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. If you’re willing you can always swim to the island and back or you could always take it easy and hop aboard one of the gondola boats to be ferried across with the other tourists.
With the temps on the cooler side, it was perfect for spending the day ambling around the lake, enjoying the teal blue waters and the mountain views. We found a trail that went up and decided to take it. Not something I’d recommend doing on a busted ankle but it was so, so worth it for those views!
I’m not sure how, but my friend managed to score us a free slice of Bled cake to try at a lake side cafe. It was sweet. very sweet. Just like custard slice. To add to the sweetness we tried the local award winning Bled Ice cream flavour, Sladogled. I managed to get my hands on locally made cheese and cider, filling up on it so much that I couldn’t eat the healthy dinner I’d prepared.
Despite being grey and cloudy we still stopped at a swimming spot along the lake edge, with a jetty to jump off into the water, to go for a refreshing dip. The water was surprisingly a comfortable temperature. We floated about for a bit, relaxing, and watched the swimmers come back from the little island in the middle.
It turns out there many, many photos you can take of one lake with an island in the middle and a church atop it. I reckon I got photos from about every angle, including from up high. I wish we could have seen the lake on a day with blue skies above. The water would be a brilliant turquoise colour.
I’ve added Bled to my ‘must re-visit and spend more time exploring’ travel list. As I mentioned above there so much you can do there in the summer. It’s the perfect, peaceful base for going on day trips to other regions of the mountains.
Before departing Bled for the next stop of our journey, we had a few hours to fill. This included another load of laundry (taking full advantage of the laundry facilities) and more wandering to get different views of the lake (like I said, there’s never too many angles you can see a lake and an island from). This time we hiked up the cliff to the castle for these views. Lunched, packed and ready for the long journey to Italy.