Well… I am now over two weeks behind in writing (closer to three actually), and in that time we have been to five more countries, eight more towns/cities, and have had many more adventures. My goal is to catch up (or at least get closer to real time) before I fall so woefully behind that I begin to forget what we saw, what we did, and how we felt these past weeks. If you are a follower, be warned that these next few days you may have blog posts coming at you faster than normal.
After our wonderful time at peaceful Plitvice, Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, felt overwhelmingly busy and bustling. All the rain we had been experiencing had eaten away at the soles of my $40 boots from Marshalls, and my trusty leggings had lost all elasticity and had begun to fall down, so we made a much needed sojourn to one of Zagreb’s many mega-plex malls. Leggings were easy to find (H&M is BIG in Europe, they are EVERYWHERE!!!), shoes proved to be more of a struggle. Thinking I would just pick up some Converse (which are very popular here, especially the white ones), we found a store selling them and checked the price. $90!!!! That is TWICE as much as we pay for the exact same shoes in the US!! Needless to say, our backpacker budget, along with my disgust, prevented me from buying a pair, so we left the mall with some cheap, but sturdy, suede booties, which only cost $40.
We were sad to leave Croatia the next morning, but we were excited to explore its tiny neighbor, Slovenia. After a quick bus layover in the capital, Ljubljana, we made it to beautiful Lake Bled. The town of Bled is clearly a very popular summertime destination, and felt very resort-equse, so we were happy to be staying 10 minutes away, in a tiny town called Mlino. Since we arrived on a Sunday, and everything is closed on Sundays in Central Europe, we spent the afternoon lazing around in our rented apartment, catching up on laundry and drinking wine (of course!).
The next day we took a slow stroll around the stunning lake, stopping to check out the castle and eat some cream cake (which this area is apparently known for). The castle museum was pretty lame, but the views were spectacular and the cake delicious. After going back and forth on the subject, we decided not to pay the 12 euros each to visit the tiny island in the middle of the lake. We had heard that the novelty of going is to ring the church bell for good luck, but we already feel pretty lucky, and it just didn’t seem fair to ask for any more. The lake water is so beautiful and clear and green. Tourist season had not fully hit Bled, so we had the path mostly to ourselves, and the day was calm and warm and peaceful.
On our second full day at Bled, and unfortunately our last, we decided to take the bus to Bled’s larger, less visited sister lake, Lake Bohinj. You can see the beautiful Julian Alps from Bled, but they feel so much closer and prominent at Bohinj. We only walked halfway around the lake (the whole way around is 12 kilometers, which I was not interested in undertaking), and in that time we saw almost no other hikers (okay… strollers).
We loved Bled (and Bohinj). If we lived anywhere near Slovenia (and not halfway around the world), this would be the type of area we would spend summer vacation. Like Lake Como, we fell pretty instantly in love and hope to go back someday.