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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lake Bled

A couple weeks ago Ryan and I went to Lake Bled in Slovenia. To get to Slovenia (a country I had never heard of before I moved to Germany) we drive all the way through Austria from West to South East and Lake Bled isn't too far into Slovenia. It took about 4.5 hours to get there.

We left after work on Tuesday. The car was packed very full because we decided to camp. I've been wanting to get a lot more camping in this summer than we have been able to and realized if we were going to go we better get on it before the weather turned poor. And I've been wanting to go to Lake Bled ever since my neighbor told me it is his favorite place he's been and he has been here for two years now, so I took that as quite the recommendation.

We arrived at the camp ground around 8. It was very full, but we found a good spot and set up camp. It was a very nice camp ground. It was right across from the lake, there were nice bathroom facilities, and even a game area with a basketball court, ping pong, tennis, sand volley ball, trampolines and arcade games, but some of those things you had to pay additional for.

For the past several months I feel like our lives have been go, go, go and I've been very worn out. My Mom came in June, soon after we did our big trip to the Middle East, the Michelle arrive only two days after we got back with Barb coming in the middle of Michelle's visit. Then it took another week to get back on a normal work schedule because of having one day weekends to make up for our time off. So more of less I just felt like I was trying to keep my head above water for a long time. This weekend I wanted to relax, but outside of Garmisch. Lake Bled turned out to be the perfect place to do just that.

Wednesday morning we woke up and it was raining quite a lot. So we stayed in tent and did nothing exhausting... no work, no errands, no adventures.... it was perfect. I read my Bible for several hours and Ryan read a book I had brought with me. Eventually the rain stopped and the sun even peaked it's head out, so I got up, showered, and prepared for what was left of the day.

The lake only had a circumference of 6km, not much at all, so we set out to walk around it. Oh first we stopped at a grocery on our campground and bought a salad and a 1/4 of a watermelon and sat on the edge of the lake eating that. There were lots of swans around and some children jumping off a dock. The water looked incredible. So clear that you could see the stones on the bottom quite a ways out.

As we walked around we saw several places to rent wooden row boats. We thought about it for the next day, but ended up not doing it. There is an island in the lake that is only big enough to have one church on it. So that is the main reason people rent the boats, but we decided we didn't care enough and we'd save it for next time.

While we walked I kept seeing fish in the water and I'd follow them along the boardwalk we were on until I saw another and then follow that one. I guess because of this I reminded Ryan of Dory from Finding Nemo. Then as we got further around the lake we stopped to look at a menu outside a restaurant and on the menu under Fish was "Grilled Dory Fish," I couldn't believe it. :)

We saw a sign for a tourist office, so went in. I had heard of Slovenian wine (plus I like to try wine everywhere I go) so I asked if they knew anywhere we could go wine tasting. The man told me there were no vineyard around, but gave me a map and marked a wine shop that did wine tasting.

When we got to the wine shop the woman said they normally only do wine tastings for large groups, but she could let us try some wine. It was interesting though because her method of letting us "try" wine seemed just like a wine tasting to me. Slovenia does have very good wine. They have several different growing regions. One is more up north and a little more mountainous and produces most of their whites and then to the south on the border with Italy they produce some really great reds. Of course we had to purchase a couple bottles to add to our European collection. We have an ever growing collection, but we haven't drank any yet. We will need to get on that because I'd be afraid to know how much it would cost to ship them home using the German Post since we can't ship alcohol through USPS.

After we left the shop somehow Ryan was a bit tipsy... I however was fine. I don't understand how that is possible, but he was pretty funny. We kept walking around the lake and saw a sign for Corn which Ryan got overly excited about and b-lined for. :) I wish I could take a picture that shared with you how funny he was. But as it turned out this was some really incredible corn. The man had a stand on the side of lake with fresh popcorn, no butter, but heavily salted... just the way I like it. And corn on the cob. He had a special thing on his barbecue that he set the corn in which helped blacken it. Then he salted that too. Oh it was so good. So good in fact we made it our last stop the next day before we left.

We continued on our walk as we ate our corn. We made it back to the camp ground and decided it was time for dinner. We drove around the lake to an area we thought had a restaurant the woman at the wine shop recommended, but I'm pretty sure where we ended up eating wasn't what she recommended. We wanted fish and there was fish on the menu, so we went in. We each had really good soup to start. Ryan had french onion and I had Tuscan bean. But unfortunately our fish wasn't as good as we hoped. Ryan had tuna, but it was cooked all the way through. We like it seared so it is still raw in the center. And now we know we dislike it cooked all the way through... unless it is in a can. So, oh well with dinner. We were stuffed when we left though so at least we didn't go hungry.

When we got back to camp we went straight to bed. That is part of what I love about camping. Your day starts when the sun comes up and ends when the sun goes down (more or less).

The next morning we had to be checked out of the campground by noon, so we got up much earlier than the day before and packed up. We left the car parked at the campground and then headed to the lake for a swim across the street. The water really was fantastic. And today the sun was out and it was fairly warm. After our swim we bought a piece of Bled cake at the grocery because it is supposed to be a specialty of the area and you all know how I am about food and wanting to try things unique to certain places. Well we really didn't care for the cake, so special or not we wouldn't recommend it. Then we got in the car and drove around to the corn guy. We each got an ear of corn and shared a bag of popcorn that we watched pop... oh so so so good. And then we were on the road again heading back to Garmisch.

That night I had couchsurfers staying with me, so we needed to be back before too late. They had texted me that morning (texting is called SMS in Europe) and I'd told them we'd be back between 4 and 5. It was fun to spend the evening with them chatting about life and traveling. I hope that we can go visit them in Wurzburg, northern Bavaria, before we leave.

I feel like I didn't have much to share from this trip because we didn't do a whole lot. We just enjoyed the beauty of the area, being out in God's creation, and having NOTHING that we HAD to do. Ahhh what a marvelous weekend it was. Maybe before we leave we'll get to spend at least one more weekend like this one.

If we go back to Lake Bled though I do have a couple things on my agenda. There is a castle we didn't hike up to that allows you to bottle your own wine- obviously up my alley. And there is something called canyoning that I'd really like to do. A guide takes you hiking up a mountain in a wet suit and then you repel down waterfalls until you are halfway down and then jump into the water below. And at the end if you are brave enough you can jump all the way down the waterfalls. And then once you've finished the part of repelling and jumping you just float down the river in your wet suit to the place you started the whole adventure from. We know a lot of people who have done this and rave about it. So we'll see if we are able to fit it in to our dwindling days here.

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