What was supposed to be an acceptable four hour journey to Lake Bled, somehow became a seven hour day in the car. One of the reasons being we set off a few hours later than planned (without the bloody roof rack). There was an incredible amount of traffic on the German motorways. We were moving at an average speed of 20kmph for large chunks of the journey. I don’t know if this is normal traffic or if there was an incident along the way.
Strangely though, we didn’t feel the seven hours. As we were driving closer to the Austrian border, the scenery became very alpine. And traveling through Austria we were looking at very picturesque tiny wooden villages dotted here and there either side of the motorway. As we ascended into the Alps the rain started and never really stopped again. This made for poor visibility, so when we did get glimpses of the snow capped mountains, they were towering magnificently over us. It was quite an awesome sight. At one point we took a detour as advised by the Google maps lady and drove through a few of the tiny villages – a couple of houses, all with large wood stocks outside, and a small church. The ground still had a lot of snow but luckily, none on the roads (we were ill equipped for such an event and had left Ireland with a ‘fingers crossed’ attitude when it came to preparing the car for snow).
We drove through many of the mountains. I am always amazed at the engineering feat of these tunnels that go on for miles through mountains. At one point I was feeling a little claustrophobic because we had been driving through one for many minutes only to see a sign that said there were still 5km to go!
Crossing into Slovenia gave me a little rush. I was now in a country I’d never visited before – always an exciting moment for me.
Opening the balcony window of our gorgeously comfortable and cozy Best Western Hotel room was slightly anticlimactic. Yes, I could see we had a lovely lake view; if only I could make out the lake and castle through the mist and rain! We had a very pleasant evening after our long journey. The hotel had a pool and sauna, which was completely empty – very relaxing. We ate in the hotel restaurant. It seemed that all the hotel guests decided to do the same but the restaurant mustn’t have planned for that as there was only one waitress catering for everyone. She did manage to serve everyone and remain pleasant throughout. Fair play to her.
The rain greeted me next morning when I opened the curtains. Still, it was really nice to be somewhere with fresh mountain air after spending most of out time in towns and cities up until now. The breakfast was a talking point for us. I’ve never seen such a spread. We were in our element and could have stayed there all day. There was a section dedicated to homemade dairy produce – butter, yogurts, cheese; a delicious bread selection; gorgeous fresh fruit; cold meats and cheese; hot food and deserts. There was a buttermilk smoothie which was interesting. The croissants were of french quality.
All togged out in raincoats and with big umbrellas, the three of us headed off for a walk. It was gorgeous, even in the rain. Breathing in the fresh air and walking through the trees was a treat. We climbed up to the medieval Bled Castle which overlooks the lake, the town, and the forest below. It is the oldest castle in Slovenia dating back to 1004. From the lake, the view of the castle is stunning. There are some lovely artisan craft shops in the town. Although very tempted, I was restrained and bought only a fridge magnet (to add to our collection at home) and a post card. (Now I’m sorry I didn’t buy that walnut breadboard to add to my breadboard collection at home..)
On the road again. We have changed our original road trip route. Instead of going though Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, and into northern Greece, we are going via Italy. The main reason being, our car insurance only covers the EU and Macedonia is not in the EU – we hadn’t considered that with all the excitement of planning our journey. Not a bad reroute all the same. Italy is a country we both love. Beautiful cities, amazing food and wine, and maybe even the weather might be better there too. Looking forward to it already!