(All photos © Sean D Sorrentino, 2012)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A long drive to the mountains

It was a terribly long drive today. It took us just a bit over two hours to drive from Ptuj to Bled. I know, It’s a terrible burden to carry, but we are trying our best to bear up under the strain. I think I’ve mentioned that Slovenia is approximately the same size as Connecticut, so that means there really aren’t too many places that are that far apart from each other.

Bled is one of those places that if you were building your own planet, and you ordered Bled, they would tell you to stop screwing around. Seriously, where else in the world do you get a picturesque castle clinging to a rocky cliff high above a lake with an island, with a church on it?


Island in lake with church on it.

It’s almost too much.

Bled is about 35 minutes from the capitol city, Ljubljana. In the USA, everyone would try to live in Bled and commute the 30-50 minutes to work every morning. Here it’s considered a vacation destination. There are lots of “villas” around the lake where very rich people in the late 1800s built their summer “cottages” on the lake. Most of those cottages look like they cost everything you and I put together will ever earn, and likely they cost exactly that when the richest people in the Austro-Hungarian Empire built them. You’ve got to see this place once in your life.

We continued down the road another 25 Kilometers or so to a quieter place called Bohinj. There’s no castle, no island, but there are several churches. One of the better skiing hills is here, Vogel. During the winter I expect that this place is slam full of skiers, but right now it’s about as quiet as a place like this can ever be. Luckily they are still running the 80 man cable car up the mountain to the ski lodge. There’s no one staying up there right now, but for 13.50 Euros, they’ll haul you almost 1000 meters up the side of the mountain to see the sights. It’s worth it. The sights are spectacular.

You can't tell, but I'm standing on metal grating. There's nothing but air beneath my feet for a very long way. A VERY long way. Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of heights?

Then it was time for our “hotel.” I am currently parked in what can only be described as “the ass end of nowhere.” Except that there’s a road straight to this place! I can’t believe that we’re not hip deep in tourists. Here’s the view from my balcony.

In all honesty I seriously considered lying and telling you that we spent the night in the Hotel Zlaterog or some other place and keeping this place a secret. I’m afraid that if the secret gets out that it’ll be overrun. I’m staying in a tiny 6 room pension called Stare (pronounced Star-ay)[warning, auto music start]. It’s listed in Lonely Planet as “if you really want to get away from it all without having to climb mountains, this is your place.” And they’re right. You have to pass two signs that say, basically, “No Trespassing unless you are a guest.” The only other people who get this far up the road are people hiking up to the falls about an hour up the trail on foot.

And man, can these guys cook! Tonight’s dinner was trout. I hate trout, but I decided to eat here because The Wife loves the stuff. This trout was swimming in the lake today. The Wife thinks it was the best trout ever. The guy was so nice that he even made something different for me. He, his son, and his mother are all the staff they have. We watched Mom walk out to the garden to pick herbs. She must have picked some horseradish, because we ate it with some cheese and bread. It was weapons grade stuff. Where else can you have food that was living and growing just hours before you ate it?

So stop in at Bled and see the sights, but keep driving down the road to Bohinj to spend the night. Spend several nights.

Federal Trade Commission Disclaimer:
These blog entries reflect my personal opinions about the locations The Wife and I visited during our travels. I have not received money, freebies, or any other inducements to provide positive coverage of anyone, anywhere, or anything. In fact, no one on this trip knew or had any reason to know that I am a blogger. I do not work for the Tourist Boards of any country, nor am I employed in the travel industry in any way.

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