While Bled and Lake Bled are beautiful, there are many other nice places just a short drive from Bled. In fact, our first trip on our first day was a hike in the Vintgar Gorge. The weather forecast was promising, so we made the short drive through several small villages with even smaller roads to the Gorge. Some of the people at the hotel and Bled tourism office seemed nervous about the Gorge when they saw our small children, so we were sure to bring the backback carrier to keep Matthew out of trouble.
The gorge was beautiful. Fortunately, the autumn colors held out just long enough for us to enjoy spectacular scenery. The stream wanders initially between the 2 hills with a nice trail and lots of trees. Later on, the gorge becomes quite narrow, with a narrow wooden path pinned into the rocks serving as your trail.
The trail proceeds for about 1 mile, before the gorge opens up with the Alps in the distance and two large waterfalls. The woman at the entrance said the whole hike should take us about 1 hour, but I don’t think she factored in how many pictures Dora would take, as we returned 2 hours later.
Our final full day was accurately projected to be rainy, but nonetheless we went out for another drive to Lake Bohinj. Lake Bohinj is larger and less well known than Lake Bled, but still charming. We took the “scenic” driving route on the way there, twisting our way up some of the larger foothills of the Alps. Predictably, Daniel’s stomach didn’t agree with the route (though Panka and Matthew happily napped), forcing a short stop along a small, snow-covered road. Daniel was happy after we descended back into the valley.
It was a wet, overcast day, as you can see in some of the pictures, though the Alps, as always, loomed in the mist. There was also a charming little church (if you’ve been reading along, you know that I love those village churches). The style is slightly different in Slovenia, often incorporating different colors. The running joke was that they’ve also build a small chapel on the top of every hill, which seemed to be true.
The main attraction at Lake Bohinj, however, was the Savica Waterfall. The Savica is Slovenia’s most famous waterfall, falling first 50 m, followed by a second 25 m drop. To access the falls requires a bit of a hike — not long but lots of stairs. Fortunately, Dora brought boots for all of us, as it was muddy and raining. As you can imagine, the kids didn’t think it was such a great idea, so the final stages of the climb involved lots of coaxing and carrying kids (with the exception of Daniel, who did really great). Finally we reached the top, rested, took more than enough pictures, and then enjoyed a much easier descent back to the car. Daniel was pleased that we took the road through the valley on the return trip to Bled.