BAM went the tire, dang it….a flat….and that is the first thing that happened the minute we arrived in Slovenia across the border from Zagreb, Croatia! HOWEVER along came Prince Charming and he not only stopped and fixed our tire but I even got a picture of him with my world traveling friend Kathy in her mandatory ‘road side’ glowing vest!! YOU BOYS are kind in Slovenia!!
I have to say I was so pleasantly surprised about the lovely land of Slovenia. So lush with it’s green rolling hills and white mountain snow caps and dotted homes off in the distance along the roadside highways. I loved seeing the local town church steeples and the colorful red rooftops of the villages. I believe this country to be the closest resemblance of Croatia, only not as much coastal area. Having all been Yugoslavia at one time, I find it difficult to differentiate between the new countries other than terrain, dialect and differences in economic levels. Slovenia seems to be doing very well and is now a part of the European Union. Congrats!
The main city of Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital and biggest city. The winding Ljubljanica River with it’s little pedestrian bridges, modern cafes and shops, divides the commercial core from the old town center. Some of the more famous bridges really stand out…like the pedestrian bridge with LOVE LOCKS where lovers lock keyed locks to fortify and acknowledge their everlasting love…how romantic! And then there is the DRAGON BRIDGE which just thumps you on the head with an OMG! The cool dragons are a sculpture wonder of realistic…the only thing missing is the fire breathing action!
Ljubljana is laden with historic and modern art museums with a taste of 20th century paintings and sculptures. Walking around with your eyes to the sky you will notice wonderful old architecture and colorful flags! I walked around the old town center admiring the outside city art and stopped in at a local coffee shop that had swings for seating!! Ahhhh, I felt like I was back in grade school without a care in the world while drinking my Hot Chocolate in the warm rain!
I fell in love with this little ‘big city’ and it’s cobble stones, wonderful old architecture, kind folks and interesting local fare. It was bustling with people for the early part of May and there were already spring season outdoor markets full of shoppers and on-lookers. Once in a while you would stumble down an unusual cobbled lane with graffiti or some small mystic shop of treasures which you just didn’t expect to find.
At every turn of a corner was a photo to be taken or the divine scent of some local cooking goulash or the aroma of over 100 different kinds of delicious soups! Slovenia dishes are heavily influenced by Austrian, German and French cuisines. One typical soup is aleluja made from turnip peels and a popular salad is dandelion and potato salad. Slovenians are resourceful people having been through several changes in leadership and crisis. They’ve learned to take ingredients like chestnuts, hazelnuts, loganberries and bilbeberries, local honey, crayfish, mushrooms and quail and make gourmet meals. Although I didn’t have enough time to explore all the city had to offer in one short day trip, I KNOW I will return to spend some time, maybe even a month or 2 for some RESIDENTIAL TRAVEL!
Now it’s time to talk about LAKE BLED…often when you travel a particular PLACE may pop up in conversation, so you give it a check mark in your head! But when you hear it more that a few times from different travelers YOU KNOW it’s a destiny that you need to go out of your way to visit and that is exactly how I ended up at one of the most remarkable sites in my journey’s abroad…and I thank my friend KATHY for saying out loud, ROAD TRIP…LET’S ROLL! Since we were already in route to the Slovenia border town Brezice that evening, where I was sitting in with the awesome band COUNTRY STRIKE from nearby Zagreb, Croatia, a few hours out of the way to Lake Bled was worth the days excursion. Well worth it in fact!
STUNNING isn’t it….it has the W O W factor built in! Snowy Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan with puffy clouds and golden sunshine as a backdrop combined with a forefront of medieval-era Bled Castle and view of the quaint village and it’s local church steeple. To that you can add the crystal clear Alpine lake surrounding Bled Island with the picturesque Church of the Assumption in the middle. It was in total ahhhhhhh moment….oh what a site to behold! Like something out of a story book.
According to ancient legend, the temple of the historic Slavic goddess Živa, goddess of love and fertility, once stood at a pagan alter in the current spot of the present Baroque church. Apparently the temple was destroyed during battles between the pagan religion followers and Christian believers.
The natural beauty of this area leaves you with a feeling of the perfect romantic place and a kind of philosophical wonderment about the beauty of life and all it offers to those of us who venture out to find it. It’s hard to put into words now, but when you are just standing there in it’s view, you get what I am trying to say. So if anyone, LIKE ME, says you should visit LAKE BLED, trust me, you should, and put that check mark in your head!
Thank you Lake Bled and the country of Slovenia for a FANTASTIC DAY that Ms Harmonica will most certainly never forget! My friend Kathy and I enjoyed the fresh air, the marvelous views driving around the lake, a rest sitting along your lake shore benches and an afternoon of natures bliss.
Before I finish this OBSERVATION about Slovenia, I’d like to add the very Pink tower we discovered in Brezice, which I shot just before my evening Jam with our talented friends COUNTRY STRIKE… last year’s winners of the International Country Music Contest in Jefferson, Texas! Thanks boys, it was an honor and a privilege to play with you! SEE YOU SOON….and best of luck in the 2016 challenge!
Hugs and kisses, Ms Harmonica