19 Jun Ljubljana and Lake Bled
Ding ding ding – I have a new favourite country and it’s probably not where you think!
After our time in Italy we headed East to Slovenia and were not too sure what to expect. I’ve never travelled in Eastern Europe and I certainly did not anticipate it would be as beautiful as it was. Going by train through the countryside to Ljubljana was memorising, with hills all around, beautiful church spires and turquoise blue lakes below.
We went to Ljubljana first which was fairly small in comparison to most capital cities. Our hostel was close to the old town which we explored on our first night. It was so calm and chilled out which was a welcome change to the crowded streets of Venice and the food was cheap and tasty!
The second day started with a visit to the Cat Cafe where we had a coffee and played with all the cute little furballs. It wasn’t until we got there that Gemma reminded me she was actually allergic to cats which I found pretty funny given her choice of cafe.
Afterwards we visited the castle which sits on a hill above the old town. Inside the castle there were a few museums and exhibitions and the tower offered great views over the city.
That evening we went along to a pub crawl that we had booked onto. The whole night was amazing and we met so many cool people who we bonded with whilst playing flip cup and beer pong. We ended up in a jam packed bar and didn’t get home until 5.30am (thank god we didn’t have any roommates in our dorm that night).
We had planned to do a graffiti tour the next day but we were both sporting some rather horrific hangovers so we slept until the last possible minute until frantically packing up and checking out of the hostel.
Just an hour on the train and we arrived in Lake Bled, a small town surrounding a scenic lake just north of Ljubljana. Right in the middle of the lake sits a little island so we hired a boat and rowed out to it. When I say “we”, I mean I rowed all the way there and back because Gemma’s rowing technique was far from perfected and by the end of it my hands were red raw. Highlights of our little adventure were seeing a tour group of Korean tourists who literally sang in unison from the moment they stepped on the island and we could even still hear them singing as they headed back in the boats to the shore – one guy was really going for it like a Korean Pavarotti. I also found our attempt at getting back into our little boat entertaining. We were so embarrassingly uncoordinated that a group of tourists on the adjacent boat gave us a round of applause when we finally sat down. We did eventually manage to return to the shore without falling in the water which frankly was a complete miracle.
We spend the next day walking round the entire lake, climbing up to the castle for some amazing views and swimming in the bright blue water. It was literally like a holiday paradise and probably one of the most beautiful natural sights I’ve ever seen.
The following day, before we left for Salzburg we decided to go on a cable car up to the top of a hill and take the toboggan ride down. Gemma went first and made it clear she was scared and planed to go quite slow. To my surprise she was down the toboggan run like a bat out of hell, so much so that the man behind me said “jeeze, she’s really going for it”. I think this trip is eroding her wimpy side and she is turning into a bad ass! After going down the toboggan twice and getting some amazing photos from the view point, we had to hop on the train and leave our beloved Slovenia behind.
On the whole we were completely taken aback by how great yet underrated Slovenia was. The country has immense natural beauty, lots to do and the people were so welcoming and friendly. I fully intend to come back to explore this country even more, hopefully sooner rather than later!