In addition to visiting the capital, Bled is a 'must do' place when in Slovenia. The other popular attraction is the Postojna cave but unfortunately I won't be going. As much as I would like to, the outright cost is 23 euros and then you have to add 10 on for a return bus journey. Factor in some water through out the day (and even if you bring your own food to keep costs down) you're soon approaching 35 euros! As a backpacker, I cannot justify this this so instead I will have to come up with something else to make the most of the rest of my time here, starting with Lake Bled...
So due to its popularity, buses go on the hour, every hour at a cost of around 12 euros return. I got up super-early at 7am to catch the 8am bus but so did plenty of other people it seemed. We arrived 1.5 later at 9.30am and so immediately I set out around the lake. Inevitably I walked the entire lake, which let's be honest, most people would do during their time here. It's estimated to be 6KM around the lake but it took me over two hours as naturally there were plenty of photos to be taken. Admittedly every time I looked at the glistening green lake it tempted me that little bit more into wanting to jump in but I'd have to get past this guardian of the lake first.
During the trek around the lake, I noticed this secluded area.
Now, I have to admit, this kinda thing is normally right up my street back home and so it was hard for me to break this mindset and attitude. Here, I would be offered a little more exclusivity and privacy (more so that the public green-grass areas) which is the only other alternative when hanging out here on the lake. As you can see in the picture, even a portion of the lake is cordoned off so it has its own private swimming area and then provide sun-loungers. Needless to say, and forgive me, I was convinced I would stay here later and bite the price-bullet having completed my lake trek. In the meantime though, there was more stunning scenery for me to enjoy and photos to capture:
And my favourite view of all, Bled Castle, St Martin's Parish Church and the Karavanke mountains:
Upon completing the lake trek, strangely I had more gas left in the tank and so decided to climb up to the castle you saw earlier. I told myself entering the lake for the ultimate 'cool-down' would be treat after all of today's walking @ 33 degrees! (Thankfully most of the walk around the park is sheltered by the sun from the trees). Oh, and I mean this castle for those with short-term memory.
The walk was simple-enough and took less than 15 minutes but these images are as close as I got as there was a 9 euro entry fee.
You can actually walk in a little further (and higher) before you have to pay so that's what I did capturing these view points from up-high:
If there's one thing I've learnt in my (very nearly) three months of travelling it's that a 30 minute wonder of a castle does not justify me paying 9 euros for it when that is half the cost of my accommodation for the day and night. I would have paid this price 2 months ago when I was still a 'newbie' but day by day that tag is slowly evaporating...
Anyhow, it was not getting into the castle that I was thinking of when I began the descent, it was of course getting into the lake. Well, I'm proud to be able to say that I knocked the exclusive area on the head and conquered my own mind to hang out on the grass for free and risk the possible invasion of ants and whatever other creatures might take a liking to my towel - or myself. Here, I remained here for two hours bathing and swimming in the lake and it was fantastic, relaxing and hugely liberating. It was also pretty cool to see a mother duck and her ducklings drift on by from time to time too.
I didn't visit the island itself but if you are coming out here, you have numerous choices for how to reach it ranging from a boat ride to actually swimming it! Yep, I saw a couple of people do this as it isn't too far from the closest part of land to the island as you can see below. Oh how I wish I was a better swimmer!
All in all, I had a fantastic day out today by oneself. I could have stayed even longer and been talked into doing more things whilst at the lake if I were with another person but c'est la vie. My wallet was happy and that counts too y'know. I'm thinking of writing a short, dedicated post relating to why you should come out here so I'll go into some cost saving and activities here at Bled early next week.