Of all the places that have taken my breath away, one of my favorites will always be an accidental find. Imagine a picturesque little town at the foot of the snow-covered, Julian Alps. A little white church, complete with bells and a steeple, that appears to float in the middle of the lake. A fairytale castle perched on the edge of cliffs. A gorge located in the middle of the forest with water so clear it almost glows.
Before my backpacking trip in 2007 I spent months reading travel books and “planning” the perfect route. Of course I was heart set on going to all of the typical places: Rome, Barcelona, Prague, etc. but a country that never came up in my research was Slovenia. To be honest, I had never really ever heard anything about Slovenia, so when we met backpackers that told us it was their favorite spot in all of Europe, I was intrigued. When one of the girls described it as a “fairytale land” it was done. I had to see it. The beauty of traveling, is that things can always change, so I pulled out a map to figure out where we could sandwich in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Turns out it was the perfect stop right in between Vienna and Venice.
We arrived by train in Ljubljana (Pronounced: “Lubliana” [lyoo-BLYAH-nah]). Ljubljana is about an hour and a half southeast of Bled, so from Ljubljana we took a smaller train to the “Lesce-Bled” stop. This train stop was still about 4km away from the hostel we had booked, and with zero public transportation in this little Slovenian town, we made an exception to our “no taxi rule” and took the first cab ride of our 2-month trip.
Our hostel was called “Bled Backpackers” located on top of “George Best Bar.” The rooms are located upstairs and each sleeps between 4-8. The beds all have two locked drawers under the bottom bunk, so your things will be safe. I would highly recommend the hostel for those who want interaction with the locals as it is not only on top of a pub, but was also one of the only places in town with public internet access as of 2007- so it was always hopping. Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge are both within walking distance. However, if you are looking for privacy or a quiet environment- this is not the place for you! We were there during the Rugby World Cup, so it might have been especially boisterous, but I can’t imagine it being quiet under any conditions.
While in Bled you must:
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.