Friday, August 08, 2014

Lake Bled

School’s out and that means road trip time for us. For the past few years, we’ve gone directly from school to the lake, done our annual end of school jump in and then piled into the car for a drive. This year, all was the same (we love traditions!) but the end destination was new; Slovenia! We’re trying to see most things within a couple hour radius of Munich and Lake Bled Slovenia makes it. Recommended by friends, we tried it and have already recommended it to others.
Lake Bled and Slovenia felt like the old days, our old days in Ukraine. Just walking around the lake’s pathway made me nostalgic for all that walking we used to do in Ukraine. Not the walking to the grocery store, but the Sunday walking as an activity. As we walked past the Villa Bled, the private getaway of Tito during the days of Yugoslavia, we looked at, not the huge villa, but the lamp posts and thought we recognized them from Ukraine. The concrete block Soviet style made us smile. We tried to explain Slovenia’s independence in 1991, their accession to both NATO and the EU in 2004 and then their 2007 entry to the eurozone. Tori had done a paper for school on the possible benefits of Romania joining the eurozone so she caught on to that bit but all the rest definitely seemed like ancient history. Even to us as we drove through the huge abandoned border crossing buildings between Slovenia and Austria.
Lake Bled, a small crystal clear lake with an island in the middle, is surrounded by mountains and forest. We went right for the island. We put on our suits, leaving our clothes with a sidewalk artist (again, all those sidewalk artists in Ukraine…) and swam out to the island. We made it to the island just as a wedding party in a boat pulled up to the dock. We stayed to the side and watched the groom carry the bride up the Baroque stairway of one hundred steps; a local good luck charm. We didn’t run up the stairs ourselves, trying to stay out of the wedding photos. Plus we felt pretty lucky already, just to making it to the island via our own power!
Lake Bled had plenty to offer but recently freed from the school day all the kids wanted to do was swim. And rodelbahn, something we know from Germany. Basically, it’s a summer sled ride down a ski hill. The kids love it. They clamored up and down the hill while we enjoyed the Slovenia improvements on the experience. In Slovenia there is a seat belt on each sled and a nice café with a deck and lounge chairs to wait in. A cappuccino and a relatively safe rodelbahn and we were all very happy. We went there every day.
The evening we arrived at Lake Bled, the kids went right to the lake and jumped in. That was pretty much our weekend. We did a little something and then we jumped in the lake. We did a little something else and then we jumped in the lake. The kids liked all the swimming and I liked that we could point out a little history without going into too many museums. We pointed out the medieval castle, high on a bluff above the lake. The kids dutifully looked while swimming but we did not visit. It seems that castles in Europe have become what temples in Asia were; something the parents point out and the kids prefer to avoid. But we know where to find them when visitors come!


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