Europe · slovenia · Travel

Ljubljana and Bled lake, Slovenia. Time to wind down.

Our few days in Venice were finally up and the time had come to make the long train journey to Slovenia.  We left our hotel in Academia and walked as far as our legs would take us before we needed to board the water-bus to take us to Santa Lucia train station.

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We had a few hours to wait before boarding the train so we went and grabbed a couple of beers in a local cafe.  For people planning on making a similar trip to Venice take note that Mestre isn’t the same romantic place as the island of Venice, it looks pretty rough and could potentially be mugging territory.  Anyway, after a couple of beers we went into the station which was for the most part closed; our train was early in the morning around 4am if I remember correctly, which is why we had to head over to Mestre late the night before.

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Becky took this time to have a little sleep on the floor swaddled in multiple jackets and hoodies, she’ll kill me for this photo but I love it and think she looks so cute tucked in 🙂

When we finally boarded the train to Vienna it was around 4am, we were pretty knackered after either having no sleep at all for me or a short nap on a concrete floor for Becky.  Fortunately we had booked a sleeper cabin and there was only one other young traveller in our cabin so we were able to catch a few winks feeling safe and secure.

We arrived in Vienna around 5 hours later, unfortunately our train to Ljubljana wasn’t for another 10 hours! nightmare I know, but it was literally the only train that fit in with our plans, so it was a case of more sleeping on the ground and eating whatever small snacks we could get our hands on.  It was starting to get quite cold in the train station so even though we were fully wrapped up it was still quite difficult to get comfortable, but this is one of the sacrifices you need to make when traveling on a budget and having such a tight schedule.

The last part of the journey was easy enough, it took around 6 hours and once again we were able to sleep on the relatively quiet train.  When we arrived in Ljubljana we were so exhausted we just took a taxi from the train station to Bled, it didn’t cost too much, maybe the equivalent of around £20 for roughly a 45 minute journey.

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Our hotel was chosen on a budget, but it was gorgeous, had a nice vibe and we felt really comfortable there; they also had a nice little bar with a terrace overlooking the lake and sold good food and drinks, so it was nice to just sit out here for a few hours to relax.

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We weren’t really expecting too much of a great culinary experience in Bled but we had some amazing food, mainly a meal we had one night in a restaurant called Penzion Berc, the food was amazing and also pretty well priced.  One thing to note is that the specialty dessert in Bled is their cream slices and oh my word are they good. (this photo was just taken from Google as I forgot to take one).  If you find yourself in Bled make sure you pay Penzion Berc a visit, we ate some of the best food on the whole trip there.

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Bled itself is like something out of a fairytale, with the castle perched on top of a cliff overlooking the lake and the church sat in the middle on a tiny island, it really is a magical place.  We didn’t go over to the island but we did walk up to the castle on the cliff.  The walk takes around half an hour if you start from near the lake and when you reach the top you will be greeted by views overlooking the whole area like the one below.  We didn’t go into the castle because we were budgeting ourselves and we had already planned to pay a visit to Vintgar gorge in Triglav national park.

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I’d really recommend anybody going to Bled to visit Vintgar gorge, it was the highlight of the Bled trip for me.  We walked to the gorge from our hotel, it took quite a while to get there, somewhere in the region of an hour and a half but it gave us an opportunity to explore the outskirts of Bled and walk through some beautiful countryside, there was also a small kiosk on the way which sold beer 🙂 having a walking beer is always the icing on the cake.  The walk through the gorge can take as long as you would like it to, we stopped a number of times to take in the views and it took us maybe around 2 hours to walk around it.  The scenery is beautiful, and it’s refreshing to have the water mist bellowing up from the waterfalls and moistening your face.

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Bled was a beautiful destination to visit, and I could happily have spent a week there just relaxing and going for walks but finally it was time to head back to Ljubljana for a short while before catching our train to Budapest.

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Unfortunately we didn’t have long in Ljubljana, just a measly few hours before we had to board our train to Budapest.  What we saw of Ljubljana had us wanting to stay for longer, it is a really vibrant city with beautiful architecture and friendly people.  There were a number of people in the streets playing instruments and a barge went down the river with a full brass band playing, this all provided a lovely soundtrack whilst we were walking through the streets.  We stopped in a small cafe for a drink and a bite to eat before we had to embark on the next stage of our journey.  I wish we had more time in Ljubljana, well it at least gives us reason to go back in the future.

Matt

 

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