Bled Castle

coffee at the Castle

Next, Sabina took me to the beautiful Lake Bled.  I remember seeing Lake Bled on an episode of Globe Trekker (Lonely Planet).  Ian, the traveller host even slept in Joseph Tito’s Bed at his retreat, now a tourist hotel.  Located waaaay up towards the north of Slovenia on the border with Austria, Lake Bled is a glacial lake surrounded by beautiful woods and majestic mountains.

We brought brother Lojze along and he told me about the founding of Ljubljana by the Greek Mythological hero Jason & the Argonauts.  I guess while he was out roaming the world for the golden fleece, Jason dropped by this area and founded the city.  It has been since Junior High School that I studied Jason, I’ll have to look it up and do some reasearch…

While Lojze munched away on apples in the back seat, I shot some photos of the Slovenian countryside.  I suppose that it reminded me of northwest of Washington State, save for the Slovene language signs…

High up on a cliff above the pristine lake, Bled Castle has an amazing view of the lake and its island and monastery, of the town of Bled, and of the surrounding hills and mountains.  We drove straight to the castle and took the photo (below) later, when we were on the other side of the lake but I added it to this post as it shows the lofty location of the palace.

Before we headed up to the top of the castle hill, I shot this photo of Sabina and Lojze.  I was pretty excited to get up to the top to see the views.  Perhaps it’s that I love history, maybe it just seems very romantic or exotic to visit a castle, but I always feel quite enthusiastic to visit them.  And this one in particular as I had fallen in love with Bled after I had seen it on so many travel shows…

In the next photo, Lojze and I are coming up the trail to the castle with the town of Bled in the background.  When we came to the main gate I saw that it had a draw-bridge and a rampart gate above it with slits for arrows and an overhang that would allow soldiers to drop rocks or flaming objects on attackers.

Once we arrived at the top of the castle, I saw that it was more like a palace than a war fortress.  The grounds seemed to have all the amenities of a royal life; living areas, a nice patio with a stunning view of the lake and valley, a chapel, and a dining area.  We took our time and enjoyed the view and even had a cup of coffee (later post).

Looking towards the interior of the castle you can see the beautiful housing areas where the families lived.  This is really some choice real estate and I can imagine how nice it must have been to live here.  Now, both the chapel and the palace have been turned into museums, but we’ll also cover those in a later post.

Looking from the palace grounds towards the patio you can see the deck and its magnificent view of Bled and the lake.  Today, the patio serves as a cafe entertaining guests from around the world.  On this day, we were the only patrons, but I’m sure that in the summer time it is crowded with hundreds of tourists.

Out on the edge of the patio you can see the magnificent view of the town of Bled and the beautiful mountains beyond.  The architecture of the houses and churches certainly reminded me that I was in Europe rather than in, say, Colorado…

Looking towards the lake we can see the former President’s house and retreat.  Joseph Tito made took his weekend leaves here on the lake in the big white building in the photo below.  It has now been transformed into a hostel/hotel and you can pay some extra $ bucks to sleep in Tito’s actual bed.

Further up the lake, you can see the small island and its Monastery.  Later we would take a boat out to the monastery and capture some stunning photos of the castle.  The entire lake and its surrounding mountains and castle made a fairy tale like view that can only be appreciated when seen first hand.  I had to pinch myself repeatedly to make sure that this wasn’t a dream and that I was in fact in Bled high atop the castle overlooking the lake…


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coffee at the Castle

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