Bled, Slovenia (1) – A Walk Around The Lake (Day 10)

Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort.  With a 40 minute train ride from Ljubljana to Lesce, we walk an additional 3 kms on a designated pathway to the lake.  Unlike yesterday’s rain filled day, our second attempt is greeted with gorgeous blue skies.  We experience a wonderful 6km walk around the perimeter of the lake with the Julian Alps as the backdrop.

The walk to Bled from Lesce

The anticipation of what we were about to see was sparked by the beautiful snow covered mountains as we exit Lesce

 

 

A wonderful walking path runs parallel with the road between the two towns.

 

 

Gorgeous meadows

 

The walk around the lake

Bled Castle atop a high hill and Church of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fisherman set up camp along the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny Bled Island has Provost’s House and Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect setting for rowers.  I was later to discover that many medal winners at the Olympics from 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2012 were won by Slovenia Rowers.  This is where they trained.

 

 

 

 

 

Downhill ski in the winter.  During the off season, they have “summer sledding”.

 

 

A stop for dinner before heading back to Ljubljana

 

 

From the restaurant, we look across the lake to the downtown area where most of the hotels are located.  Three kilometres into the distant hills is the Lesce Station where we catch our train back to Ljubljana.

 

 

A last look before our departure

 

 

Divaca, Slovenia (1) – Skocjan Caves (Day 9)

Created by the Reka River, the Skocjan Caves are located approximately 3kms outside the town of Divaca, Slovenia.  Listed in the UNESCO’s natural world heritage site, this is one of the largest in the world.

Unfortunately, no photographing is allowed inside the cave so I can only take shots of the exterior area.

The day we visited the Skocjan Caves, it had started and ended with a bit of a panic and confusion.

We initially started the day by going to Lake Bled which is about 50 kms northwest of Ljubljana.  Only a couple of kilometers distance between the station in Lesce and the lake, it was a no-brainer to visit this resort town.  The weather for most of Slovenia called for scattered showers.  However upon our arrival, we were greeted with a downpour of rain.  After some thought, over a cup of coffee, we concluded that this rain was not going to let up.  The idea of returning to Ljubljana and hiding out in our hotel room for the day was definitely not on our agenda.  We decided to go and see the Skocjan Caves which is about 70 kms southwest of Ljubljana.   We figured that if it’s raining there, we will be kept dry in the caves.   Two train changes and two hours later we arrived in Divaca and caught the shuttle bus to our destination.

After our tour, we went to the bus stop to wait for the shuttle bus to Divaca.   However, we discovered that the last ride of the day had already left.  Given an hour to catch the train, we knew our time was limited.  Due to the language barrier, it was difficult communicating with an employee on how to call a taxi.  However, since Divaca was only 3 kilometers away, we knew we can walk (at high speed) to the station.  The only hindering factor was that we didn’t know where we were going.  We only had the memory of an earlier shuttle bus ride and reliant on a GPS system on the iPhone.  Within five minutes of our walk, an individual drove up beside us and asked if we needed a lift into town.  I had seen him earlier at the caves and he appeared to be one of the english speaking tour guides so I trusted him.

Dropping us off at the station, we were able to catch the train with plenty of time to spare  We will be forever grateful…and yes, it had stopped raining by the time we emerged from the caves.

Schmidt Hall, the final section as we exit

 

 

At this point, you can go to the right where you can catch a cable car up to the main area or go to the left and walk up.  We chose the second option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rushing Reka River

It was such a gentle walk incline into the caves, that you don’t realize how deep down we were until you see how far up we have to climb.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tominc Cave with a well dedicated to the Viennese Karstologist Franz Kraus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia (5) – Odds and Ends (Day 7 & 8)

There was so much to see Ljubljana, it was difficult to put all the photos in categorized posts.  Here are some scenes I found interesting and will give you more of an insight of what this great city is all about.

Behind our hotel is a small shopping mall that included a cool lower level restaurant and courtyard

 

 

An interesting covered pathway to a commercial courtyard from Trubarjeva cesta (street)

 

 

Trubarjeva cesta (street) had a lot of hostels and interesting shops that sells local handmade items

 

 

A group of children with colourful umbrellas.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this.  It reminded me of my Grandson, and what he would be doing with his daycare group.

 

 

A wonderful walking path on the hill with Ljubljana Castle

 

 

I loved this rooftop sitting area

 

 

After the descent through the wooded path from the castle, it opens to this intriguing storefront.

 

 

From the Verba Store, we head straight to the Central Market as evident by the white tents in the distance.

 

 

Central Market

 

 

Right beside the market, along Adamic-Lundrovo is a long narrow building which is home to a number of eateries and where we indulged in delicious crepes and cappuccinos.   The market is on the right of this photo.  In the distance, you can see the start of the Dragon Bridge as evident by the green dragons.

 

A lovely fall view of the trees that lined Adamin-Lundrovo.  This was our view from the eatery in previous photo.  If I lowered the camera, you would see the market

 

 

The Dragon, symbol of the Slovenian capital,  welcomes you to the Dragon Bridge.

 

 

Beautiful green covered homes.

 

 

A pretty outdoor chandelier

 

 

Spomenik Gustavu Mahlerju, a great Austrian composer and conductor of the Jewish genus

Located on Haribarjevo nabrezje (street) right beside the Ljubljana River

 

 

Krakovski Street

I found dramatic differences in buildings with restoration and decay

 

 

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia (4) – A Walk in the Night (Day 8)

Without the threat of rain, our second evening in Ljubljana was spent strolling through old town and a return hike to the Castle.

After a great meal at the Paninoteka Restaurant, we slowly cruise north through Mestni Street and Circil Metodov Street to reach the lighted pathway up to the Castle.  After a wonderful visit, we decided to return back down in the unlit path (hooray for iPhone flashlight) to the river.  As scary as it may sound, walking down the side of a hill in complete darkness was the coolest thing.  Heading back to our hotel along the river with a stop at Presernov Square, we catch some beautiful night time scenes.

Warm enough for a outdoor meal from the Paninoteka Restaurant, we have a wonderful view.

 

 

Crossing the Sustarski Bridge to head to Mestni Street.  The Panionteka Restaurant is to the left of this photo.

 

 

Turning around on the Sustarski Bridge looking south

 

 

Mestni Street heading north

 

 

These little vehicles offer free transportation to individuals within the old town district.

 

 

 

 

 

Town Hall

 

 

A night view of  Kongresni Trg (Congress Square) from the Castle

 

 

After our descent from the Castle, we walk along the river on Cankajevo Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A popular place for restaurants along this river walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Preserenov Trg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last look at the Castle before retiring for the night

 

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia (3) – From the Castle (Day 7)

Centrally located, Ljubljana Castle sits atop the hill at Grajski Park.  A short climb from the edge of the park, we are greatly rewarded with beautiful city landscapes.

From the top of the hill, we start with a view of the west side of the city and move clock-wise.

 

 

 

Kongresni Trg at the lower right

 

 

Presernov Trg at the lower right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia (2) – Along the River (Day 7 & 8)

The Ljubljanica River runs east to west and then turns south at Presernov Trg.

We see the curve of the river at Presernov Trg.

 

 

The North/South stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The West/East stretch

Mesarski Footbridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia (1) – Kongresni Trg and Presernov Trg (Day 7 & 8)

The favourite destination of our European 2017 adventure is Ljubljana, Slovenia.   Wonderfully surprised, we found this city exudes charm and beauty.  The people we encountered were amazingly friendly.  I absolutely love this city.

In reality, Ljubljana was never in my radar when I was planning this trip.  When I initially looked into the train schedule from Vienna, Austria to Split, Croatia, I found that the distance was further than I wanted to travel within one day.  I decided to make a stop somewhere in between and that’s when I discovered Ljubljana.  After further investigation, I determined that a one day stopover was not enough to explore this area.  Removing Croatia from our itinerary, we remain in Ljubljana and area for four days instead of one.

Two main squares reside in the old town district.  The first one, Kongresni Trg (Congress Square) is located a short distance from our hotel (Hotel Cubo) and has wonderful views of the Ljubljana Castle.  The second one,  Presernov Trg (Preseren Square) is located only a block away from the first one.

 

Kongresni Trg (Congress Square)

We look east to Ljubljana Castle.    The coffeeshop to the right of this photo was a great place for an espresso stop.

 

 

Just on the other side of these buildings is the river and old town.  About a block to the left of this photo is Presernov Trg.

 

 

Turning right from the previous photo is the University Ljubljana

Founded in 1919, the school specializes in social & natural sciences and sports programs.  A couple of guys from Ljubljana won the two-man basketball tournament held in Saskatoon a couple of years ago.  Wondered if they studied here.

 

Next to the University is Muzej iluzij (Museum of illusions)

 

 

Turning right to the west is Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity.  Our Hotel Cubo is located about a half block to the left of the church.

 

 

Aerial view from the Castle.  A nice park is located to the right side of this square.

 

 

From Presernov Trg (Preseren Square)

Statue of the Slovene national poet France Preseren stands on the eastern side of the square.

 

 

Going left from the statue is the 17th-century Franciscan church, Cerkev Marijinega

 

 

Continuing left, the square has a great variety of shops to explore.  Just over a block to the left of this picture is Kongresni Trg.

 

 

Part of the Tromostovje Triple Bridge

Three small bridges converge on the south bank of the river creating the shape of a “W”.

 

 

The middle bridge of the Tromostovje Triple Bridge, the square is located behind me.

The Castle looms high in the background

 

 

The third of the triple bridge