My goal today was Bled, a small lakeside town in the Slovenian Alps, in the western part of the country. After last night’s thunderstorm, I had planned to postpone this for a day or two, but this morning’s forecast was looking better so I decided to go for it. The town of Bled itself is not much to look at, with a slight lean towards the modern resort style of architecture. However, it’s the setting that pulls in the visitors: a small island dwells in a turquoise lake surrounded by green hills and backed by a mountain ridge. Overlooking this ensemble is – can you guess? – that’s right, another hilltop castle! I’m starting to collect them.
A popular walking route circumnavigates the lake, a must if you are to visit Bled, however I was determined to get off the beaten track and do some proper hiking. Across the water from Bled, a steep trail leads up onto the 685m peak of Osojnica hill, with a fantastic view of the lake, island and castle.
It was at this point that I heard a distant rumbling, so I quickened my pace down the other side of the hill. No storm materialised though, and I made it safely back to the lake to continue my journey.
Although I wasn’t planning on visiting the castle, I couldn’t resist following another path into the hills marked ‘Grad’ (Slovenian for castle). It’s a good thing I did, or I would have missed the view from the castle rock.
The castle itself is small but its location perched high atop the rock gives it a dramatic edge. The area around here is quite precarious – I watched my footing around some of the steeper slopes.
All this was a 75 minute trip away on the bus from Ljubljana, so I decided not to stay there overnight. Slovenia’s small size and the capital’s central location make Ljubljana a perfect base for exploring the country, as pretty much everything of interest is accessible in a day. There’s an incredible amount of variety here, too. Guess where I’ll be next!