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  • A mountain, a lake, an island and a church on the island will be beautiful scene. Such a combination is nestled in a small town in Northwestern corner of Slovenia. This country split from the federation of Yugoslavia in June 1992.
    The small village I am alluding to is Lake Bled. Until Marshall Tito's death this was his summer residence. 
    Lake which gives this town its name is 2 km long and 1.5 km wide. What makes this a beautiful site is that there is a small island with a church of assumption of Mary on a small hill on the island. The town itself is surrounded by Julian Alps.
    On the shore perched up on a steep hill is Bled castle.
    Visitors can enjoy the water activities on the lake and also take a gondola like boat called Pletna to visit the island.
    We left Santa Maddalena in souther Tyrol and drove on A12,E66 and A10 to reach Lake Bled.
    We passed through the beautiful South Tyrol and Julian Alps. On the way Lienz in Austria and Villach are noteworthy small cities.
    In Lake Bled we stayed at Grand Hotel Toplice . This is truly a grand hotel with ornate halls and small but overlooking the lake rooms with balcony. The view was just superb.Parking is on the narrow main road but Hotel staff helps.
    Another nice hotel on the lake but a bit farther from the city is President Tito's summer vila, Vila Bled. This needs to be reserved at least a few months before planned arrival.
    As the evening was very pretty we took a nice stroll on the lake. Had dinner at a much recommended Pizzeria Rustica.
    That night it rained a lot. I got up at 4 AM and armed with my Nikon D500 and a tripod I went for a sunrise shoot. I knew that the narrow path has no signs but I had prepared my track as per google map. It was a bit difficult in dark but managed to find it.The track is pretty steep. Last steel staircase is quite slippery and steep. I would recommend to have hiking shoes and hiking stick as the path being muddy it is quite slippery .After reaching the top turn left to reach viewing site. Still better is Mala Osojnica. There are no signs but it is up the  short steep path.
    Returning was difficult due to slipperiness .One should keep 45 -90 minutes for this hike.
    After returning we had wonderful breakfast on the balcony of the breakfast hall overlooking the lake.I was told that Slovenia's Olympic rowing team practices here.
    Rest of the day we strolled on the shore . Visited market where there are multiple stores with alpine produce, fruits,jams and honey. Particularly honey from this area is quite popular. The day being Sunday a band was playing in the park near Bled Castle. This was a perfect way to spend a nice day.
    This is precisely the reason Niti anI like to drive in Europe so we can enjoy the slow life in small towns.
    Driving in fact is easier than in USA as the regulations are strict and fines are hefty.