Another early morning *yawns*
Today we woke up slightly later, at 730am but make that 7am because we stay right beside a church and it sounds its be every 15 minutes. At around 7:03am, it will ring every second until 7:05am. So that’s my alarm for today.
Besides disliking the atmosphere of this hostel (I mentioned in the previous post that it’s too outgoing and rowdy for me), the room practically has nothing except 2 beds and one table. No cupboards, hangers, chairs… But it’s a twin private so I slept well hehe.
Yesterday night we were super undecided on how we’d be going about our itinerary because I was afraid of cycling in Europe after my terrible experience in Marjan Hill in Split. I was afraid that we had to cycle along cars and passersby again, which would be less attention on the experience and sights, more on trying not to hurt myself and those around me.
In the end the bicycles at the hostels were too big for us so we had to take a bus to Lake Bled. And from there, I happened to find out about a bus going to Vintgar Gorge at 930am. Perfect for us because we reached around 920am! The last return bus was at 1145am and that means we’d have convenient transportation to and from the gorge, and as well as adequate time to see it.
The gorge itself was very beautiful and imo beats Taroko Gorge that I saw in Hualien, Taiwan.
Firstly the weather was bright and cooling when I saw the former, but rainy and slippery when I saw the latter.
Secondly Vintgar gorge was closely surrounded by beautiful whitish/grey mountainous terrains, adding a rugged feel.
Moreover, the river that flows beneath the walking platforms is not very far from us, maybe only 1m. The waters have a transparent to translucent azure gradient from its circumference to centre. And like Plitvice, we saw fishes swimming in the river. Many coniferous trees surrounded us as we completed our 1.6km trail along the gorge. On the way there were many children, dogs, older people with their hiking sticks, school groups and even a group of special needs teenagers. Mother nature something we all have in common.
Along the bank, I also saw stacks of rocks that different visitors have contributed to. They’re all really cute and added character to the gorge. Some parts the river flowed faster gushing down elevated terrain and then forming mini waterfalls, while in other parts the river flowed slowly, only carrying gentle waves with the blow of the breeze. Both were relaxing to watch. At the end there was a waterfall but we had no time to see because it would be time to go back to catch our return bus. We sped walked our way back to the bus and arrived again in bled by 12nn.
Slovenia was a great place to meet people. Somehow, we spoke to the highest number of travellers on this trip. We met the Lo family on the previous day (see my previous post). And while walking at Vintgar gorge, we met 2 groups of Israelis who helped take photos for us, to whom we returned the favour, of course. 😉 On the bus back we met an English language teacher from US, who now works in Spain. And later we’ll be meeting more people… (stay tuned; alternatively if you’re already bored reading till here, skip to the end for the good part heh)
Anyways we didn’t expect to eat a proper lunch today so we packed food with us. But I had hoped to try Bled Cream cake and that led us to Slasicarna Zima. As its name suggests, mostly cream – whipped and vanilla. Puff tasty on top and below the cream. We slacked there for a long time until 1pm+ rolled around and we started walking again
First we headed to the Bled Castle and that involved many steps. Seeing how underwhelming it is from below and seeing the student price (7€), we decided not to go in. Then we took the painstaking hike back down. The main attraction of the castle isnt itself but the promised view of bled, which we’d already be seeing later from a panoramic view point on the hills.
Then we started our walk around Lake Bled, a bit dampened by nothing else to do (because maybe we were too efficient in the morning haha). We stopped many times along our way to sit down, eat fruits/snacks and did nothing much. There were many people swimming (wished I brought my own piece along) or rowing in the lake haha. And the bells of the church in ‘the island’ kept ringing in the distance Hahaha.
The original plan was to see Ojstrica signpost and then hike up to enjoy the bird’s eye view. We didn’t pass it until 4pm and that began a gruelling journey for me… 😦
The entire way up was probably paved by a tractor or something – it was so steep and rocky… The middle of the trail had a lot of rocks and the 2 sides flanking it lesser. I alternated my steps between which I think may cause me to slip to death (I have a phobia of falling)…
Occasionally some parts have fallen tree barks and leaves that were dampened – those were the best. The worst were long, steep segments that have small sandy rocks. I picked up a wooden stick along the way… And YS had to stop often to wait for me ><
Alas we completed missed Ojstrica and went instead to Mala Ostojna LOL! (The latter is a higher viewpoint than the former and probably unnecessary to go to). I felt a bit sad because the gruelling journey could have been shorter if we didn’t miss our original destination. Where was it?! I was pretty sure we followed the right track as there was only one path…
Even finding Mala Ostojna was difficult. We first mistakenly went to somewhere we thought was the viewpoint, but actually turned out to be a bench overlooking the opposite side of the lake. We were awarded with views of green pastures and hills. It looked something like a children’s play set as cars were passing at an idyllic pace below us and appeared extremely tiny. The breeze was good too but I was stressed that we still have a long way to find our panoramic view!!!
We found Mala Ostojna in the end, 5 minutes hike from the bench. Another couple was already there and later we found out that they were from our hostel! They were super friendly and we took photos of one another with the lake. YS loved the view, as did I but I was internally freaking out about going the treacherous way down. 😦 Anyways I feel that having seem the view from the top, there may be no need to see the lake anymore afterwards as it is the best view of the lake.
(And IMO it is the point of the whole lake/coming here.)
I mean, it’s almost whimsical/magical that an island has sprouted outta nowhere in the lake, making it look outta a fairytale. It helped that the lake is a very, very true blue, something that is difficult to appreciate when you’re looking from ground level. I felt that people of Bled must be really lucky for this lake and its island as it sprung out so many opportunities for them, people of a small province in Slovenia.
Going back down was as difficult as I thought. I was walking super duper ultra slowly, sweat dripping everywhere. Going down a steep slow had 2 ways of doing so – going quickly and dangerously (like a ninja with its flitting pace), or slowly and dangerously (the longer I stood on a spot to calculate where to place my foot next means more time for the stones below me to give way). Either way it was painstaking zzz.
Then we found the way to Ojstrica.
IT IS THE WORSTTTTT!!!!
THE TRAIL WAS SO SMALL AND NONEXISTENT.
IT WAS FILLED WITH BIG, JAGGED AND UNEVEN ROCKS.
I was freaking scared and asked YS to recce in front if it was the right way. And indeed it was, so I need to haul myself there somehow.
And I did. On my all fours… Zzz (Other people did it on their 2 feet.)
I was so zzzzz by the time I reached there (because of my ‘ordeal’) that I couldn’t appreciate it anymore. By the way, Ojstrica is nicer to some because the island appears larger and would be a good photo spot. Whereas from Ostojna you could see more, like the whole outline of Lake Bled and also its surrounding environment (the little towns and farms).
On my way down, I have decided to completely give up and go down on my butt… I was 2 seconds in this awkward stance when a couple wanted to go down came behind me and I yelled the f word (because I was stressed and embarrassed, and if i plonked my butt it meant there was no space on this narrow trail for them to pass)!
Then the man very kindly asked me if I needed help and gave me his hand!!! I was so grateful :’) he was my knight in mountain boots, t shirt and bermudas 🙂
All the way down he had to take the more treacherous path while letting me step on the safer rocks. I’m so thankful because he made everything less scary and quicker. Phew…
He asked if I was from China, probably Half curious and half trying to distract me. When I revealed that I was from sg, he said he understood why I was so scared as Singapore is flat! I joked that we only has one hill and no mountains whatsoever. They were Slovenes and asked if we enjoyed their country and without a doubt the answer is yes!!!