Slovenia: Lake Bled & Vintgar Gorge

Thanks to Melania Trump, Slovenia’s been in the news these days. Regardless of how you feel about the Trumps, Slovenia is truly a beautiful country. As we drove miles and miles in the countryside, we sighed and remarked how it looked exactly how you would imagine a fairytale describing a peaceful, prosperous country ruled by a benevolent monarch with a castle and happy farmers tilling the rich, fruitful soil out on the rolling plains. That’s Slovenia. Miles and miles of this.

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Lake Bled

The striking image of Lake Bled and its charming church on an island is an iconic Slovenian attraction. We went to the island via a Pletna boat, a traditional wooden Slovenian boat. There are several businesses that have these boats all around the lake. We drove to the lake, found a parking spot, and then walked to the first business that we found. There’s no set time or schedule for these boats. They stay ashore until they feel that they have enough customers and then they take to to the island.

The island is quite small. There’s a church, a small museum of clay dolls (adorable), a restuarant/cafe, and a couple of souvenir shops. The 40 minutes that the boat people give you is sufficient time to see things, have a cold drink and a nibble, and to walk around the island. It was all very charming and very enjoyable.

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Clay Dolls

Then we found ourselves a restaurant/cafe that overlooked the lake to eat lunch and to enjoy the view some more. While there, we had to try the local delicacy, Kremsnita, or the Bled cream cake. While I heard rave reviews about this cake, personally, I thought it was a nice cake that didn’t live up to the hype. I’m crazy about cream cakes and my favorite one is the almond cream cake from Whole Foods (also sold at Andronico’s in the Bay Area), so I was a bit let down because the Kremsnita wasn’t nearly as good.

After lunch, we drove north to Vintgar Gorge, a truly “gorge”ous 1600 m long gorge. The trail was well-maintained, flat, and easy to walk. We casually strolled through with a rushing river below and lush verdant trees and plants all around us. The trail at times was crowded, but people were courteous about taking photos and letting others take photos without photobombing. For an entry fee of only 4 Euros, Vintgar Gorge is a steal and a must-see in Slovenia.

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