We have made it to Lake Bled, Slovenia! If you would like to see the scenery along the way, from the port at Koper to Lake Bled look HERE! Why do folks want to come to Lake Bled, you ask? 1. The area is absolutely beautiful! 2. Lake Bled has a colorful history! 3. It is one of the most photographed areas in the world. 4. You can get married on the island, which also is the only island in Slovenia. 5. There are enchanting restaurants and hotels tucked along the shore in this fairy-tale like setting. 5. It is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy the outdoors and nature!
From the 9th century, the island was used as a shrine to the Slavic goddess of love and fertility, Ziva. Over the centuries, the Christians and the pagans fought over the island and by the 15th century the pagan altar had been torn down and a church and stand-alone bell tower was erected. The island and church became a pilgrimage site for Christians. Only monks were allowed to row Christians on pilgrimage, over to the tiny tear-shaped island on Lake Bled. The boats used today are called pletnas (and are similar to the flat bottomed boats, used by the monks originally) The only way to get to the island is by the pletnas, or you can rent a row boat (no motor boats allowed on the lake) and you must pay to use any boat. If you are a really good swimmer you can also swim there, but make sure someone is meeting up with you with appropriate clothing, because a bathing suit will not get you on the island!
Behind the pletna, and way up on the mountain is the castle. Over the centuries this castle was rented out to whoever was in favor with the various German kings at the time. Take that as a vacation spot away from it all.
Here is the signage to be found at the island on Bled Lake. There are 99 stone steps to the top. At the top, there is the church, bell tower, the clock tower, (which has more steps to climb), and a gift shop. Now history has it that there was a young widow at the Castle, who was heartbroken at the death of her husband. During her mourning she decided to melt down all her gold and silver and have it cast into a bell. Then she had the monks row the bell over to be placed in the tower of the church. A big storm came up and the boat was overturned, drowning all the monks and sending the bell to the bottom of the lake. The widow was now very stressed, so went on a pilgrimage to Rome to see the Pope. The Pope felt sorry for her and had another bell made and took that one to Bled Island. Today, the tale for good luck is to ring the bell three times, but you only get one wish. Folks were lined up to ring the bell, and there is a fee to do so and in the fine print it says the wish only comes true for Catholics. Hmmmmmm……..I sent hubby.
You can also get married in this beautiful church. Another legend has the groom carrying his bride up the 99 steps and that she must not talk all the way up. If you do this, you will have a happy marriage. Good luck on both counts, I say! There is no way most grooms could carry their brides up these steps and no way would she keep her mouth shut the entire time!
Looking at the steps from this way and that……….
And once on top………..the clock tower is under repair………
But, there is the nice souvenir shop to see………….and the distressed widow is still with us…………….
This view alone would be worth the walk up………
Inside the church …….very elegant………
And here is the line of bell ringers……….
Outside, some monuments from the past…….
But, if you are me, I’ve chosen to take the beaten path to explore around the small island.
Now this is my cup of tea!
Wow, look at the color of the water! No editing was done on my photos! There were fish right along the shore……….lots of them!
They must know that women do not know what kind of fish they might see, so they give you a sign!
There were many signs………along the path……..
And then I would find a break in the foliage and snap a photo!
And this one……..loved the roses too!
At the turn in the path was THE SHED!
Getting ready for winter………
and the back stairs to the church, just in case you wanted to go up this way! I don’t know, it still looks like at least 99 steps!
Returning from the island, we went to a little beach area, where many young people were enjoying the day……..
I’m not sure who this fellow was or what he was doing……….
But, the ducks were enjoying the day too…….
Our, next stop was a beautiful restaurant along the beach area………….wow!
Here are our table mates at lunch!
I’m back on the pletna, ready to go to the castle! See you there!