I went back to Slovenia only to finally visit Lake Bled. I basically did the exact same route as last year, getting a bus from Florence all the way to Ljubljana, an 8h bus that is not that bad and time pretty much flies. Once I passed that boarder into Slovenia I had tears in my eyes. There’s something about this country that seems to bring me back to life, that seems to bring joy back into my life, and if just passing the boarder once made me happy, doing it the second time was even more emotional.
After spending the night at Fluxus Hostel, again the same hostel as last year – but it was close to the bus station, I already new the directions from last year, the place is pretty awesome and I knew the wifi would work perfectly -, I woke up to 0ºC and I knew my body would reject those low temperatures. I had been really sick for a week and I was not prepared for that. Still, I got all my winter clothes on, bought some hot coffee to go, and ran to the bus station while calling myself ugly names for not bringing that winter coat I left home. Paid the 6€ for the bus to Bled, hit my head while getting my backpack into the luggage compartment, and I was off to the magical land of Bled!
When we got to Bled I went up the street and in less than two minutes I was at Castle Hostel 1004. I dropped my bags at my super cool room with a view, and I went exploring like a little kid in a toy shop. Except it was really, really cold!
When I got to the Lake I felt a bit confused as it was way bigger than I expected. Now I was getting the 6km thing the receptionist had talked to me about. Why don’t I ever listen? I think sometimes I’m too stubborn for my own good. Well, I started walking and walking, and stopping every five seconds to take a photo, because this place is too good to be true and I couldn’t help for my camera to click every step of the way! I l also stopped to complain about the cold. Seriously, how cold can this country be? I’m seriously not getting any warmer with this walk! I’m Portuguese, complaining is an art for us, and warm weather is our thing! So when I get temperatures any lower than 10ºC I feel like my body starts screaming in pain.
My entire path around Lake Bled was resumed in one thing: trying to find hiking trail 6 that would lead me to Ojstrica, a really cool viewpoint that I was told I had to go to! Well, when someone says you have to do something it must be true, right? I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say they also sent me to the easiest trail out of all the 10+, which I appreciate for the simple fact it was not easy, it was terrifying, and I thought I was going to die trying to reach that viewpoint.
Still, before I could actually do the path I had to find it. They kept saying the path would be mark with a number 6 but all I could see were trees and bushes on one side and water on the other. Where is this path? I was getting impatient! Is it getting colder? I think the sun is gone…I should just go back to the hostel, right? I was pretty much on the opposite side of the Lake now, so I had no other choice but to keep walking anyway.
Two American girls who checked-in right after me pass by me on their rental bikes. Why didn’t I rent a bike again? Oh yeah, I’m too poor to pay 10€ for it! Perks of being a broke backpacker! So, I kept walking slowly, because that’s as fast as I go, and after a lot of frustration and thinking I had probably passed the trail by then, I saw the two bikes abandoned by the bushes. There was a sign pointing into the middle of the trees and there was the 6 I had been looking for. Now that I had found it I kept thinking maybe hiking alone in the woods was not the best idea I ever had. This would be a great moment to not be a solo traveler. Can my boyfriend just magically snap his fingers and get here now? Just to keep me company on this hike…please? No? I have to do it alone? FINE!
I know I always travel alone and I should be this brave girl who is scared of nothing…God I have traveled to 20 European countries, 17 of them alone! Still, the idea of climbing rocks and walking a dirt path to reach a viewpoint didn’t sound appealing to me. In fact, it was terrifying! There was nobody in sight and after that first sign sending me into the woods there was not a single other sign pointing me in the right direction. Oh, I was going to get lost. I knew I was!
Getting up the viewpoint was scary as hell and half the time I didn’t even know if I was going the right way, but somehow I got there and the view was worth all the fear, and looking at Lake Bled from above made me realize how happy I was to be there. Some people may say I’m lucky, but I will never say that, because my travels are happening because over the past year and a half I’ve done everything to travel, it has become my priority, and only I know how hard it has been to try to see every corner of the world with a ridiculous low Portuguese wage, and how much I have to miss out on the everyday life to be able to travel.
Now, going up was exhausting, but making the way down was the scariest moment ever. At some point I even forgot the path as it was all trees and bushes and I couldn’t find my way. Still, I made it down safe and sound and I felt so proud of myself for being able to do something that scared me.
As the Lake was way bigger than I initially expected and the day got dark pretty quickly, or I was the slowest hiker on the planet, I didn’t have time to do another hike. I wanted to at least hike the castle trail, but I was still across the river and by the time I got back to the hostel it was pitch dark. I had to leave it for the next day, and I would end up not doing it at all.
The next day, after a HORRIBLE night sleep, thanks to a guy in my dorm who snored like a wild animal and did not let me sleep all night, I woke up to a rainy day. Since I was still sick and on my way to recovery, no matter how much I wanted to make the most out of my last day in Bled, I couldn’t risk getting worse or I would for sure end up at the hospital and loose the next three weeks of travel I still had ahead. So, I took the day to write and work, which I was actually in need, but still made me sad to waste a day I could have been exploring.
Since I didn’t even leave the hostel on my second day, because I was too sick to go hiking under rain, I ended up not doing a few things that I really wanted: I didn’t hike up to the Castle, I didn’t make it to Vintgar Gorge (hate, hate, hate myself for that!!) and also had to miss out on Lake Bohinj. Missing on these things made me realize that if I had stayed three nights instead of only two, I could have done all of them and leave Bled with a sense I had seen it all. Now, it is just another perfect place I will have to go back to! Seriously, no matter how much I travel, I swear my bucket list keeps growing!
That night I got a great deal when a girl walked-in the common room and asked if someone was leaving the next day to Ljubljana. She had a ticket that she no longer needed and sold it to me for half the price, 3€! Sometimes staying in hostels really pays off, ahm?
After a well deserved night sleep, I carried my always heavy backpacks down the road, bought some coffee and milk to warm up and I caught my bus back to Ljubljana, a city I had already been a year before but that got me crazy excited to be back and see it in a different way.
If you ever go to Ljubljana, don’t leave Lake Bled out, and if you can, stay at least one night. I promise it will change your experience of the place, and Bled has so much to offer, so much to see and do, that it well deserves if you stay a little longer. And the bus only costs 6€ (one way) and you get to see the countryside of Slovenia on your way! Why are you still even thinking about it? Just go!
**Thank you to Castle Hostel 1004 for hosting my stay in Bled. All opinions are my own!
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