Ljubljana, SLOVENIA – May 21-23, 2016 – After a short flight from České Budejovicě we disembarked from our jet in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Lodged between Austria and Italy, Slovenia has always been very proud of its unique heritage. After our stop earlier in the day in the Czech Republic most took advantage of the main restaurant at our hotel and a relaxing evening “in” to prepare for our next days’ adventure.
The next morning, we had a special treat in the countryside, with a private electric train taking us through the karst caverns of Postojna Cave on a fantastic journey beneath the surface of the earth. It is one of the largest in the world, and among Slovenia’s most popular attractions. This is the most visited cave in Europe but our visit was managed to give us an opportunity to experience the various caverns and passages with just our small group, serenaded at times by a folkloric ensemble. The beauty of the stalagmites and stalactites formations are unequalled anywhere else, and is breathtaking and difficult to catch adequately in a photograph. We visited the lovely Zemono Manor House for a lunch of regional specialties with local musicians before returning to the city.
Our second day took us to the resort area of Lake Bled, one of the most scenic spots in Slovenia. Lake Bled is a lake in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia. In the early 20th century the lake was a popular health spa for the European aristocratic elite and, yes, it is every bit as lovely in real life; with its emerald green lake, picture perfect church, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff, and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps. The castle serves as a museum of the history of Bled from ancient times and it is how most people imagine a medieval fortress to be with ramparts, moats and terrace with magnificent views. It houses a collection that traces the lake’s history through the development of the castle to the 18th century. The island in the lake is the only real island in Slovenia and has been used since ancient times as a place of worship. Heading out on the lake in a traditional pletna (these are locally constructed boats, unique to Bled), we arrived at the island to visit the Church of the Assumption. Known by various names such as Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, or Our Lady of the Lake,- the church has a unique feature from the 15th century – a belfry that contains a wishing bell. Legend says those who ring the bell and make a wish will see their wish come true, but must remember the rule is only 1 wish.
We enjoyed our lakeside lunch in good company before ending our afternoon in Lake Bled and returning to Ljubljana and our hotel. Many of us enjoyed an excellent meal at JB Restaurant for our final night in Slovenia. Tomorrow we are off to mesmerizing and beautiful Sicily!
On to Sicily, click here…