Bled is a picturesque town that surrounds Lake Bled in the Julian Alps in Northern Slovenia. The tiny central island which houses nothing but a Church is a typical postcard picture that anyone will easily recognise. I pictured glorious blue skies, fantastic clear lake and sun…
…I arrived in the pouring rain. You couldn’t even see the lake.
There are of course pros and cons to travelling out of season:
Pros: Cheaper AND more beds available + less tourists + shorter queues.
Cons: Colder + wetter + shorter days + fewer backpackers to meet (though still plenty).
Travelling in the shoulder season isn’t for everyone – especially if you enjoy the more expensive and jam packed hostels during the summer months – however I never had a problem meeting people and making friends. Granted, there were fewer people around – especially in the smaller places I visited like Zakopane and Lake Bled – but this always came as a welcomed break.
So… Let me tell you about my 2 days in Lake Bled. Yes, it rained. Yes, it was bloomin freezing, but on the whole – I had a great stay.
After arriving in the rain, my new Korean friend Shine and I walked over to the hostel. Turns out we were the only 2 people staying at Castle Hostel 1004 – which was friggin cold because the young British girl working there couldn’t work out how to control the heating. In my stupidity and eagerness to see the lake, I decided to head out for a quick walk around Bled. Needless to say after half an hour of walking I was completely drenched to my skin – my jeans were displaying the lovely wet line affect from where my coat was keeping my crotch area dry – delightful. I plodded along, still adamant that I would not waste my stay in Bled. But when your hands start to feel like they’re going to drop off whilst attempting to take pictures you know you need to hold up the white flag and go home.
So with cups of tea made by the lovely British girl and with Shine cooking us a Korean dinner, I hung my now drenched jeans up to dry and settled on the couch for the night. Honestly, with a duvet wrapped around me and Notting Hill on the TV, it felt like home…
The next day Shine and I decided to head to a beautiful gorge – a few miles walk from Bled. We trudged there in the pouring rain – with Shine in his shoes covered in plastic bags. Not only was it very wet, but we also got lost… By the time we’d managed to find the gorge we were wet, cold and tired. To make matters worse, the gorge was shut because of the high water level. BUT thankfully a lovely Slovenian family who had visited to check out the river – apparently it’s never been that high – offered us a lift back!
Instead of heading straight back to the hostel to warm up, we hiked up to the top of the castle and found a ledge with a fantastic view over the lake – well worth NOT paying the extortionate fees to go into the castle grounds.
Here’s a funny story for you – whilst we were walking around the lake, Shine diverted from the road and headed down to the muddy path by the water’s edge. I looked away for a second and heard a splash followed by a loud expletive. Turns out Shine had fallen in, bag covered shoes and all. I was in fits of giggles, but managed to successfully drag him out. Poor Shine was drenched up to his waist – the bags on his only pair of shoes were no longer waterproof, and he squelched with every step.
My few days in Bled were proving to be wet, but hilarious – I was much entertained by this funny boy from South Korea – who later lost his wallet (a string bag round his neck), missed his train and instead successfully hitch hiked from Bled to Munich – an incredibly surprising feat which I severely doubted he’d manage.
On the final day I was greeted with glorious sunshine, and finally managed to take some great photos of the lake. I packed up my soggy clothes and caught the train to my next destination – Salzburg.