Sunday, July 6, 2014

SLOVENIA

Our lovely residence in Bled
Town of Bled at the foot of the mountains

Bled Castle
Pathway around the lake 
Slovenia is a beautiful country but we did not have a beatific entrance to it. One must buy a pass to use the  highways before entering the country.  We, along with countless others, did not see the sign just before the border stating that.  (I've since read that it is very small). Consequently we were pulled over and issued a ticket for 150 euros ($205).  It is literally highway robbery. Fortunately, the beauty of Bled eased our pain.
Island in Lake Bled
  

Vintgar Gorge 
Vintgar Gorge
Bled is in northwest Slovenia on a small glacial lake. Bled Castle sits atop a rocky cliff overlooking the lake and town. Traces of prehistoric humans have been found on the small island in the lake (the only island in the whole country). There are 99 steps up to the church that now occupies it and local tradition calls for a groom to carry his bride all the way up those steps. And the bride is not to say a word the entire time.  I would think that results in men choosing very petite brides.  Possibly petite and silent.  

Vintgar Gorge

There is a lovely pathway around Bled Lake that made for a nice 3 mile long hike. We also took a short drive to Vintgar Gorge.  A 1,600 meter (1 mile) long, narrow pathway is flanked by steep, rocky cliffs that range from 160 to 330 feet high.  The Radovna River winds through them. 
Vintgar Gorge

This was our only stop in Slovenia, a short layover before we head into Austria.   It is a small country, just over 2 million people, bordered by Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary and a small area along the Adriatic Sea. The mountains and architecture give it an Austrian flavor.  In 1991, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became independent.  It is presently a member of the European Union.