Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Wonderful Day of Cycling and Hiking Around Bled, Slovenia

The excellent hostel that I stayed at (Bledec Hostel) had free bicycles for us to use. Luckily one was in reasonable condition. So off I went on a lovely ride through the countryside.

Slovenia is so green!

This is the building I had seen from way down below, and assuming it was a house, I wondered why anyone would live way up here. Imagine my surprise when I found it to be a shrine. What a strange place for one!!

About 200 meters later there was another.

The rack is for drying hay. See the cover along the top? Most of the racks were empty when I was there, so it was difficult to get a good photo. These racks are common and are unique to Slovenia.

Can you see the religious figure on the left? (click on the photo to enlarge). Its only a few feet from the shrine above.

This cat had one strange eye, so I patiently tried to get a picture. Just as I was about to give up (and after getting shocked by an electric fence), I got it!

A friendly goat.

A nice looking farmhouse.

I was shocked at the colour of this house, but felt I couldn't stand in front and take a pic. So I sneaked one from the side. Looks much less shocking from this angle.

This house was probably the only messy and deserted house I saw in Slovenia. If you enlarge the picture you will notice that there is a Star of David under the dormer roofline. I wonder if there is a connection. Were the inhabitants forced to flee?

The famous Lake Bled and its island with a church on it. The cost to get onto the island is $5 yet there is a steady stream of boats going there. People can also ring the bell in the church, which is suppposed to bring them good luck (or I have also heard that it is supposed to make their wish come true). It is a local tradition for the groom to carry — or try to carry — his bride up the 99 steps from the island's dock to the Church. About four out of five are successful (proving themselves "fit for marriage").

I was very surprised to encounter this mother and daughter, who were just below the point at which I took the photo below. The older one is a resident of the area and believe it or not, she is 87 yrs old!!!! It was definitely a strenuous hike to get to this point. What an incredible woman!!

It was very late in the afternoon when I took this picture. I was supposed to meet Erika and Georgia at the bottom for the hike, but since it was getting late and they weren't there, I proceeded on my own. At 9pm they made it back from their hike. It seems they had been waylaid at a pastry shop and didn't even begin their hike until after I had gone down. So by going up the hill after sunset meant that they had to go back down in the dark. They were very lucky to have made it back safely!!

Hostels are fantastic places for meeting interesting people. Erika (left), besides climbing down mountains in the dark, worked on a German research vessel in the North Sea this past summer. The other two are Swiss and were cycling to Iran and possibly further.

At my hostel in Bled, I also met Cameron Hewitt, who is the Lead Editor for the Rick Steves series of travel books. As he said, "I do the work, he gets the credit." He was updating the info for their book on Slovenia and Croatia.


  1. What great photos and information on Slovenia! We are traveling here tomorrow and you gave me some good ideas. Thanks for posting and continued happy travels!

  2. "s" I am so glad you found this useful and I hope you have a great trip.