Many years ago, a friend told me that Slovenia was really beautiful. I'd never heard of Slovenia. I may have thought that she was talking about Slovakia, in fact. But then I looked it up and it seemed like a really interesting country. It was, at one point, part of Yugoslavia, but it's also right on the border of Italy and Austria, but with a coastline along the Adriatic. I was intrigued.
It was many years before I made it to Slovenia, and now having seen how beautiful it is, for myself, I'm finding it difficult to understand why Melania Trump ever wanted to leave. I flew into Lublijana and then drove up into the foothills of the Alps to the small town of Bled.
Yeah. That's the name of the town. It's actually called "Bled." But as unappealing as the name of the place is, the actual place is unbelievably gorgeous. The small town of Bled is on the shores of a pristine glacial lake, called, um, well, "Lake Bled," actually. There's a small island in the middle of the lake with a charming little church. You can take a little flat-bottom wooden boat out to the church and ring the bell for good luck. Isn't that adorable?
There's also a castle on the shores of the lake, perched high on a cliff. Guess what it's called? Yep. Castle Bled. You can visit the castle, but there are also lots of outdoor activities in the area--hiking, horseback riding, rowing.
And if tiny Bled starts to feel like you've exhausted its possibilities, you could always venture over to the nearby town of Radovljica. It's completely and totally charming. We went for dinner, one night and had delicious food, with fun, local entertainment, in an restaurant located in an old, historic building. While we waited to go inside, we noticed little old ladies scowling at us out of their little Alpine windows, and it was kind of hilarious.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that we were having meetings in this fabulous hotel and conference center, where there were these old-school socialist murals in the room where we had our cocktail reception. Guess what the villa was called? Yeah. "Villa Bled."
So, if you're hankering to go somewhere that sounds like it's just awful based on the name, but which is really interesting and incredibly beautiful, you should think about visiting Bled.