Leaving Ljubljana, we made the 45 minute drive into the countryside to spend a couple of quiet nights in gorgeous, Lake Bled. I'd read that it looks like a fairytale, and that turned out to be a true story. A castle high on the hill looks down onto the lake, and on that lake sits a tiny island with a church. The village rests at one end of the oval shaped lake, the other end holds the rental canoes and traditional pletna boats (covered, wooden boats with benches that a "gondolier" poles across the water), and around the entire lake is a walking path. We arrived just before dusk and found our lodging to match the fairytale surroundings. We stayed in the two bedroom apartment in Villa Istra, with balconies overlooking the lake and castle, chandeliers dripping with crystals, silver walls, comfy beds, marble bathroom, elegant breakfast room...the place was immediately relaxing, and the only downside was that we had only two nights there.
With a beautiful, sunny day to start, we rented canoes to get out to the island. I'd planned to take a pletna boat with the baby, but with the off season, I was the only person at the landing, so the driver didn't want to go with only one passenger. We wandered around the tiny island, visited the gift shop to pick up a handmade doll for the bimba, and then took a very slow paddle back across. Our friends climbed the church's bell tower where you can make a wish and ring the bell.
For the afternoon, Nathan and I decided to visit the nearby Vintgar Gorge. When we arrived, we found a barrier across the path blocking access to the wooden walkways that go along and over the river. But we'd seen several cars and bikes in the parking lot and then watched as another couple didn't seem to slow down as they stepped over the barrier. We figured we'd just do as the Slovenes do, and thank goodness we did. This little walk, while terrifying in places, was one of my favorite things. The walkways just clung to the cliffsides only a few feet above the gorgeous water. We walked and walked for awhile, passing through the narrow gorge and then following the path along the now wide river before finally turning back, so I'm not sure where the hike ends up. We enjoyed a return hike through the stunning gorge before driving back to town and enjoying lunch on an outside patio (in November!) overlooking the lake.