Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday, May 21st, Bled, Slovenia


The sun came out today, and we even saw it on the ceiling of a church in the town of Skofja Loka.  We have a full 50-passenger bus for the twelve of us, and a talented driver (Vito) who can negotiate these mountainous roads better than anyone.
Through three hours of driving, with four stops, we visited a castle first begun in 973 AD (and the town below it),  a museum of arts and crafts, and an open air exhibit with a re-located 16th century house.  The inside of the house was too dark for photos, but we experienced what it was for a family of 12-14 to live in a two-room structure (kitchen and all-purpose room), with storage above.  Talk about using every square foot, and piece of furniture in multiple ways.

The highlight of our day was probably our visit to Kropa, and the lecture by the staff of the town museum.  I can't remember a more engaging presentation, where a resident delivered a more riveting story and expected our complete attention.  An iron ore and charcoal-rich area, with plenty of wind and water to supply natural power, the town has supplied iron products for generations of oppressors without much improvement in the quality of life for its residents.  If ever there was a town which gave far more than they received, it's Kropa.

Nails for European and the Middle Eastern shoes, and spikes for railroads over the same area, owe much to the families whose labor and health were stretched to the limits.

More recently, they have tried to engage their talents and machinery to supply high quality iron objects (candlesticks, sculptures, and customized window and door hinges).  But it's clear that their future employment picture hangs on how the world views the value of quality handmade iron products.

We ended our day at Bled, a lakeview resort town at which we'll spend the next two days.  Another castle on a hill town, with a gorgeous lake with an island in the middle, we had lunch and took a walk around part of the lake.  We got to watch an unique ceremony in which a couple danced on a barge near the shore, while their 40-year old wedding gesture of sinking a couple of cases of wine was re-raised to the delight of hundreds of watchers on the shore.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Sunday, May 21st, Bled, Slovenia.

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