Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, Bled, Slovenia


An old castle above the lake, another in the lake, and up in the mountains - a funicular ride to a modern day hangout.  This morning, we tested out our legs on two sets of castle steps.  And we're all growing more appreciative of those with railings.  We learned about Gutenberg and his press, and met a young iron shop worker with an Irish accent.  We visited a Castle Beehive shop, and were reminded of the innovations and importance of Slovenian beekkeeping.

Walking back down the steps, we drove over to a dock and boarded a small Slovenian boat (Pletna) to travel to Bled Island.  On the way, we raced two women on paddleboards (they won), and learned the Pletna business is one of the most profitable if you can obtain boats that don't sink.

Climbing even more steps, we entered a 16th century Baroque church, standing on the remains of earlier structures, built by pagans, slavs, and Christians, dating back to the 11th century BC.  

Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of a chapel from 1142 AD, the only example of a cult building from those times on Slovenian territory,

A tale is told that a young widow (Poliksena) who once lived in the castle had a bell casted for the chapel on the island in memory of her husband.  During the transport of the bell, a terrible storm hit the lake and the boat sank, together with the crew.

After the widow died, the Pope consecrated a new bell, and had it installed.  It is said that whomever rings the bell and gives honour to the Virgin Mary will have whatever wishes they make come true.

To top it off (literally), we took our bus to the end of the valley to take a funicular to the top of Mt Vogel (2200 meters) for a spectacular view of southern side of the Julian Alps.  A ski resort in winter, it also serves as a dramatic para-gliding takeoff point, and allows a full panorama of area around Lake Bohinj and Triglavski National Forest.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Monday, May 22nd, Bled, Slovenia.


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