Posts Tagged Bled

Slovenia (part 1)

Slovenia is a young small country with its own language (usually how countries are formed, sorry Belgium) and around 2 million people. Its location, at a nexus point between three language groups, means that everyone knows many languages including English. (Germanic languages to the north, Slavic languages to the southeast and Romantic languages to the southwest.)

Geographically, the country is located near and in the Alps. The smooth modern roads and the massive mountain ranges made our drive into Slovenia a joy. Large Alpine looking homes pushed so far on to the roadway that it caused a strange slalom course whenever we passed through a village.

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Our first stop was the extensive cave system of Postojna. (more photos here) Tucked at the foothills of the Alps, this natural wonder stretched miles into the hills and mountains. One of the largest caves has an old train, two people wide, that takes you many kilometers into the mountain, past hundreds of thousand year old stalagmites and semi-transparent limestone “curtains” that we could not believed existed. These delicate and sometimes massive structures are grown from slow deposits of minerals.

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At the end of the train ride, we walked another mile into the lighted cave system. The European legends of Dragons came from this cave because during massive floods, large (12-16 inch) blind and albino salamanders would be flushed out of the cave system. This led many medieval adventurers into the darkness looking for the adult versions of these dragon looking animals.

Our little car pulled us into the mountains and deposited us at the lake called Bled, overseen by a gorgeous fortification on top of a large natural stone tower. We wanted to spend a number of days here and so found a bed and breakfast that also provided free use of their bicycles. It turned out to be a wonderful place to rest up and hike around.

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One morning we climbed up the winding path to the top of the fortification. The old structure, complete with a small drawbridge, looked over the valley and the lake from where it received its name, “Castle Bled”. In the middle of the lake was a small church that draws many locals as the most romantic place to get married.

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On a large hill behind the city of Bled we discovered a “summer toboggan”. It must have been almost a mile long and very steep with sharp drops and hairpin turns. They would strap you into a small plastic seat with expensive looking wheel system on the bottom and push you down the metal rail.

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Our 10EU bought us two rides each on it and on the last ride Tamara, always the daredevil, asked the man strapping her in, if she could ignore the brake and go full speed. He said something that seemed like “sure” and she was off like a rabbit. The high pitched squealing of the stainless steel wheels were muted by Tamara’s continuous screams of joy, as she pegged the throttle forward, with her hair tracing her path like a smoke trail. As she got to a steep drop off, I was sure that she would let off the throttle but she just tucked her arms in tighter and flew over the edge like a lemming….all the while screaming.

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In case you are wondering…I tried to copy her but the toboggan was so fast that I had to use the brakes for fear of achieving a low earth orbit.

One thing I have to share is a local creation called “cream cake”.  We took the recommendation of a local and it turned out to be our favorite dessert ever! I can’t even attempt to explain it with words but will leave you with a photo!

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