A thunderstorm rolled over Ljubljana last night, dumping lots of rain. The forecast for today was more rain and a possibility of more thunderstorms. The rain certainly came but the thunder held off. Despite the rainy weather this morning, I went ahead with plans for a drive to Bled which is about 50km from Ljubljana. I managed a visit to Vintgar Gorge, Bled Castle and I saw Bled Lake. Then I headed back to Ljubljana in even heavier rain!
The first stop was Bled Castle, perched on top of a cliff above the lake. Cars can drive up to the castle, so not a lot of walking involved. The admission price was 9 Euros, making it more expensive than Ljubljana Castle (the price just gets you through the door – no guide or anything else). The castle offers an excellent view of Lake Bled and Bled Island below and, to be honest, the view is the best part of the castle!
Several of the castle rooms have been converted into a museum, but it is a museum about Bled, not the castle. In fact, I struggled to find much information at all about the castle. I did read that the first written record of Bled Castle was in 1011, so it has been around for a while, in one guise or another. But there wasn’t much in the museum that captured my attention. Quite bizarrely, one of the best rooms in the castle (inside the circular tower) has been converted to an art gallery displaying photographs of the Great Wall of China. The photos are very nice, but why would the castle use a prime location for photos of China?
Other rooms in the castle have been used to depict artisans from the castle’s history. There is a wine cellar, a printer’s shop and a blacksmith’s shop. They each sell products to tourists, but at least they have been decorated with a historical theme and the shop-keepers dress in period costume.
On a rainy day, I was glad to have been able to get some photos of the lake from the castle. It wasn’t a good day for walking around the lake. Other than that, the castle didn’t impress me.
My next stop was at Vintgar Gorge which is a few km from the castle. Again, you can drive to the entrance but I saw several people walking there from Bled (approx 4km). Admission price was 4 Euros. Once past the ticket booth, you walk along a combination of gravel paths and wooden walkways & bridges, crossing the gorge and the raging river below a few times. Towards the end of the walk, you come to the first of the two waterfalls. A little further and the wooden walkway crosses the point where the river drops down to become the Sum Waterfall (the largest waterfall in Slovenia at 13 metres). After watching the waterfall and taking photos, it is time to walk back to the entrance.
Tonight is my last night in Ljubljana and Slovenia. Tomorrow I cross into Italy to spend the last three days of the solo segment of the trip visiting Venice. I’ll be staying on the mainland in Marghera and will travel the 10km to Venice on the bus. That will avoid the high costs of hotels and parking in Venice itself.