Search

Black Pudding Gaiters

Hiking, travelling, gear

Tag

Lake Bled

Chasing Waterfalls

Tuesday 7th June
Ohh eggy bread for breakfast, been years since I last had that!  Put a couple of pieces on my plate along with bacon, omelette and, to complete the egg theme, scrambled eggs….a bit of protein overload!
Mlino, Bled, SloveniaThe plan today was go around the lake as far as Miinska Cesta (by the supermarket) then take the first road on the right, Prežihova cesta, seeing  the small village of Mlino.
Shortly after leaving the village, the road becomes a gravel track heading in the direction of the Kozarca and Obroč hills.
The path follows the river round to join  Cesta Svobode, one of the roads leading from Bled,  passing the military area on the way (plenty of shooting today).
Following the Sava (river) Bohinjka  to the road, I  crossed over, taking a slight left  to join route 5 towards the church of St sv. Marjete and the pleasant village of Bohinjska Bela.
So far so good…..

I continued to the Slap Iglica  (Slap being the Slovenian word for waterfall). Initially there were a few tourist signposts but as I made my way around town, I struggled to find any other signs. I decided the most sensible option was to follow a stream to the west of the village then find my  way from the bottom of a dead end street.
Iglica falls A small group of climbers had gathered near the falls but no other walkers and to be honest I’m not surprised. Unfortunately,  I didn’t  really think it worth the effort.
I’m sure the 18 meter narrow falls are lovely at the right time of year but today, despite all the rain, it was a slight trickle.
There is a rather rickety set of steps up the side. I didn’t climb them but apparently  there are great views over the whole area.

The plan now was to head to Slamniki, a small settlement 872 meters above Bohinjska Bela.
Heading West out of town, Slamniki was marked on a sign post but, this was the only sign I saw and trying to follow the tracks marked on the GPS and map was not easy. I headed up hill with with the stream to the left, loosing and regaining not only the path but also my footing in the mud. I trudged continually uphill until the woodland cleared near some houses.
I could see a track  to my left but I could find it on my GPS or paper maps?
My GPS had one potential route; heading South East before rejoining the path I came up on. My paper map had a road heading East towards the Northern side of Bohinjska Bela. I didn’t want to investigate too much as there was a large group of people gathered outside one of the buildings. I didn’t trust my maps enough to go boldly striding towards them!

The GPS suggested only one route, paper map two.
I was getting confused and the more I tried to compare the two maps with the actual terrain, the more confused I became. I didn’t want to walk one particular route to find it took me miles off course.
Views to BledI decided to take the ‘wimps way out’ and headed back the way I came. This is something I hate doing but, if I got back early, I could do another planned walk to Vintgar.
So, I turned 180 degrees and feeling rather deflated headed back. ….after taking  some photos of the view!

Once again, I made my way through the extremely muddy woodland. Maybe it was the ‘familiarity’ of Bohinjska Bela, but I started to got a spring in my step, I could find my way now even without a map and compass.

I  passed straight through Bohinska Bela, towards the church,  joining path 5 heading back the same way I came earlier.
Before reaching the road I noticed this brightly coloured  mobile bee hive.
Mobile Slovenian bee hiveBeekeeping is a traditional agricultural activity in Slovenia. In the past, when sugar was in short supply, almost every farm kept bees.  Virtually all hives  are painted,  many with intricate designs. These are mobile hives are used to move bee colonies between pastures.

After crossing  the road, I took the first road on the left rather than continuing around Obroc.  This road led to Lake Bled were I walked anticlockwise round to the hotel for a wash,  drink and plot the rest of the day.

Sadly I wouldn’t recommend the full 11 mile walk, however, I have added the route to Bohinjska Bela on ViewRanger as a GPX file.

It was 14.30 and I’d only walked 11 miles  so time for another walk this time in the opposite direction to Vintgar gorge.
The best way to the gorge is along the road heading North  East from Bled to Podhom. I followed Partizanska cesta crossing a bridge before  a fork in a road where I took a left up Cesta v Vintgar. I remained on this road, passing under a railway bridge before entering the village of Podhom whose name means ‘below Hom hill’.
There are plenty of signs through the town directing both walkers and vehicles to the gorge. The route is easy, just keep following the road until it crosses the Radovna river. Shortly after passing Gostilna Vintgar you’ll see the car park and then the entrance.
Entry is €4 at time of writing * and is paid at a small hut, there is one on both sides of the gorge. Each entrance to the gorgealso has a small snack bar, seating and toilets.
Slap Sum, waterfall Vintgar Gorge, SloveniaThe route follows a wooden walk ways  which can get narrow especially as it’s two-way.  The views are spectacular and I assume there were especially good today  following the large amount of rain that had fallen in the area recently.
The route passes pools and rapids  and at the end is the 13 m (43 ft) Slap Šum  (which translates as ‘noisy falls’). This is the largest river waterfall in Slovenia.
I walked down the steps past the pay booth and through the woods to the viewing area which is a great place to see this powerful waterfall.


I returned to the booth/snack bar to take the path back through the woods toward Sv Katarina church. Just ahead of  me in the woods was a man dressed in a t-shirt, cargo pants and trainers. His only nod to being in the great outdoors was a Craghopper hat. He had no map and stood in the middle of the woods looking confused.
“Is this the right way?” He asks, surely that depended on where he was going.
I told him to follow the red and white markers painted on the trees. He was wondering what they were for!
At the end of the woods  is the chuch, a restaurant (Pizzerija Jurček )and some beautiful views.I took a short break on one of the wooden benches to take in the vista.

View near Zasip Slovenia

Zasip near Bled SloveniaHeading in to the pretty village of Zasip with its distinctive red roofed church, a lady with presumably her husband calls out a cheerful ‘Dobrodensdki’ .
‘Dober Dan’ I reply almost exhausting my Slovenian vocabulary.
‘Dober dan’ they  both say,  beaming.
If only every village in the world was so welcoming!

Wandering through the Zasip I paused to watch a game of boules taking place outside Gostilna Kurej. The sun was shining and, despite the navigation issues in the morning, this had turned in to another good day!
Continuing on the road out of of the village, I soon reached the fork in the road and bridge where this circular walk to Vintgar started.

Some travel companies offer this trip for around €14 per person. Save €10 and do the trip independently. It’s fairly easy walking and far more rewarding! A copy of this walk is available in GPX format.

I retired to my room after a dinner  and sat on the balcony as the entire town plunged in to darkness for few minutes, the only lighting coming from the emergency lighting from various hotels. Never found out what  caused this, it was one of the few nights we hadn’t had sorms.

Part 4 >>

 

*Prices as of June 2016

  • Note – click on any image to view full size

Back to Bled

Saturday 4th June
For the first in a long while, I was flying out to my holiday destination at a decent time, I didn’t have to leave my house until 10 am. The traffic  flowed freely and I arrived at Manchester airport before check in opened.  It was interesting to see how many pairs of  shiny new walking boots I saw  in the check in queue, perhaps new to walking? During the course of the week it became worryingly obvious how little experience and knowledge of the outdoors some people have.

Adria airways view from window This would be my seventh time  to Slovenia. The first visit was when the former Yugoslavian country was still outside the EU and my old passport has a few Brnik stamps.
I was now returning to the area where my love for the country first started, Lake Bled.

So what’s changed?
Well flight wise, a lot. Slovenia’s national carrier,  Adria Airways  still have the traditional check in at Manchester i.e. no online check-in (although it is slowly being rolled out) The only seat choice you get is aisle or window.
I was sat by the window on seat 9A on the Airbus A319. The place between me and the aisle seat was free which allowed me to spread out a little.
Gone are the days of the free meal and drinks, the only free beverage now is water although various drinks and snacks were available to buy.
The airline’s ‘OnAir’ service is good. Connect with the WiFi on your phone or tablet to play games, read magazine articles, play games or chat with other passengers. The aviation section  of the magazine is a particularly interesting read and, when the views were lost beneath clouds, the 2048 game passed the time.
It was a nice flight with a smooth landing.
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is small enough to allow you to pass through quickly and, once outside, a number of shuttle buses to Lake Bled were parked up. .Despite the terrible weather forecast, we saw blue skies when we landed and remained as I made my way to the Hotel Jelovica in Bled.

Balcony view hotel Jelovica Bled Slovenia
Balcony view

I was told at check-in that the hotel has no single rooms so I was given a good sized double room (369) with views of the church and castle. As with most hotels in Europe, there are no drink making facilities in the room, but there is a vending machine on the second floor filled with soft drinks and a few snacks.

Dinner is an all you can eat buffet which included free drinks; wine, beer, water or pop. As I entered the restaurant,  I gave my room number and was shown to my table for the week then just got up and helped myself.
My meal started with the Slovenian staple, thin beef soup with noodles. The salad came with a choice of dressing (I went for pumpkin oil), then it was steak  in a porcini sauce with duchess potatoes. There was also an impressive array of deserts which were very popular with those with a sweeter tooth than I!

I took a leisurely  wander to the lake after dinner, returning to room at 9.30 pm  for a drink and early night. Luckily, the church which was a few feet from my balcony turns the bells off at night, however, the ringing starts again at around 6.

Sunday 5th June
Woke fairly early after a decent sleep.
After breakfast, I took a stroll to the shopping centre by Hotel Golf.
Bled hasn’t changed much over the years but the supermarket opening times certainly have! Gone are the days of the Mercator closing Saturday afternoon and staying shut until Monday morning. Supermarket wine
One supermarket just up the road from my hotel on Presernova Cesta is open 7am – 9pm Monday to Saturday and 8am – 5pm Sundays & holidays. It even has a 24 hour vending machine offering drinks, sweets, ham, cheese and sandwiches.  I think this shop also has draft wine for you to fill your own bottles, I’m not 100% sure of this but have seen something similar in Pescasseroli, Italy.

The shopping centre contains a few bars and restaurants, the supermarket, pharmacy, clothes shops and the tourist information office.
Shopping in Slovenia is cheap – although compared to England almost everywhere is!  50p buys a half litre of Cola, 40p for a can.  80p gets a half litre bottle of beer.
Not that you go to Bled for the shopping!

After stocking up on a few drinks for the walk and for the room afterwards, I headed to the lake.
It was 9.15am and still reasonably quiet as I walked along the path on the ‘road side’ of the lake. It’s worth doing the lake walk early as it can get busy later in the day.

The 88 StepsNot far from the bottom end of the lake, there are three paths all heading to Osojnica, I took the third option.
Here came the start of the climb.
Although the path was through woodland and it was still early in the day, the temperature was already quite warm and humid.  I was glad of the drinks in my rucksack!

At one point there are 88 steps to ascend and some climbing, assisted with an iron rope and footholds but the views from the top are amazing!
Staza Hill dominates the right hand side of the lake with Bled directly ahead and Mlino on the right. I could also make out the mountains of the Karavanke range which mark the border with Austria.

Views over lake Bled

I continued on route 6 to Velika Osojnica. My map implied that once I got there I would need to retrace my steps a bit. The lack of markings past the view seemed to confirm that.
chamoisTo be honest, there are better,  unobstructed views along the walk but it’s another peak ticked off (756 metres) I returned to the junction of paths and continued straight on, passing some local wild life!

The path descends through woodland back to the Lake. I carried on around the lake until reaching a path to Visce. The route around the lake was getting busy and I was keen to get off the beaten track again.  (Continuing around the lake would make the walk five half miles in total)

SnakeIt didn’t take long to loose the crowds…. and come across  a snake doing battle with a frog!
Both went their separate ways when the sensed me coming, much to the frog’s relief! The masses on the lake path would probably have no idea of the types of wildlife just a few metres away.

I zig zagged around, passing the monument to Adolf Muhr, a merchant who once owned Bled castle.
The path eventually came out near the castle and from there I returned to the hotel to plan the next route.
This walk  was 7.45 miles/12km in total (starting and finishing at Hotel Jelovica)  and can be downloaded from the ViewRanger website

Given that it was early afternoon and the sun was still shining, I headed out again. I followed the single track roads through some villages to the South East of Bled.
It doesn’t take long to leave the centre of Bled and begin walking alongside fields with views of the mountains beyond.

Ribno
Ribno

This route took in the villages of Koritno, Bodešče and the larger village of Ribno.
Although I was  walking, I imagine it would make a nice bike ride which can be easily extended to include other villages.
I was walking mostly on roads but they are so quiet that it  never caused a problem. I also find the drivers in Slovenia to be extremely patient with walkers and cyclists.
This 5.8mile/9.44km route is available to download.

Dinner tonight was  tomato soup, salad, garlicky cray tails, venison ragu with 3 grains and mixed vegetables. Once again, very nice!

After dinner, at around 9pm I got my head torch and went for a walk round the lake. Initially I wondered if this was the best idea, lots of midges flying around but (unusually) none bothered me (perhaps it was the garlic) so I continued on for around  four miles.
Most of the path has some street lighting but it’s well worth taking a torch as it can get very dark in places particularly on the wooden walk way on the side furthest from town. It’s also worth taking a tripod, there are some lovely photo opportunities.

Lake Bled at night

This brings me on to something else, safety.
Despite being a female travelling alone, I am sometimes a little blasé  especially in Slovenia. I didn’t think twice about a night walk, however,  Slovenia is a very safe country, the World’s  10th safest in 2016 . Yes, there is a small amount of petty crime in the larger cities but the risks can be reduced by taking the usual common sense precautions.

Back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep….another walk planned for tomorrow!
Part 2 >>

  • Note – click on any image to view full size

 

Getting lost, getting wet

Monday 6th June
I started the day early with cheese and tomato sandwich, fruit salad and fresh orange juice (oddly, the fresh juice was only available this one morning).
I took a stroll  to the tourist information office in the centre of town to pick up a walking map for €7. My current map only covered a small part of Bled and it was also showing signs of its age.
Back to the room to change in to my walking gear then I headed out towards the picturesque village of Ribno.

At the southern end of Ribno , I crossed the bridge before taking a right on to route 11. It was a bit of a climb up through the woods and it wasn’t always clearly marked but I just kept heading up!

SignpostThe path came out on to a track. A right takes you to the mountain hut Lovska koca Talez , a number of signs in the woods pointed to it earlier. I gave this a miss and instead went to the left then  a right on to what was supposed to be a marked route to Babji zob.
It was a pleasant walk, passing meadows on the gravelly track. A wooden sign confirmed I was heading in the right direction… but, could I spot the path?!
I continued to the end of the road with out seeing anything remotely path like. Not to worry according to the map, there were potential routes at the end of the road…..nope….
I retraced my steps to the point the GPS claimed the path was. I headed upwards. I knew there would be a climb  but  this was steeper than expected, then this ‘path’ stopped in a clearing.
Once again, I retraced my steps, returning to the point where the stream crossed the road, an obvious feature marked on both my paper and GPS maps. I measured the distance between this point and the required path then paced it out. Still no luck!
Returning to the wooden sign didn’t help so decided to give up  and hastily drew up ‘plan B’.

Heading  back to the hut junction on the track,  I pondered about heading towards it for the view but decided to press on, something I would later be very grateful for.

Get wet!I took the track heading East, slowly working my way down hill through the trees, then came the rain.
Just a few spots at first then a torrential down pour.
Out came the water proof pants and jacket. The nifty built in rain cover went over the Lowe Alpine sack.
Both me and my kit was protected from the elements but it didn’t make for pleasant walking.

By the time I reached Konica the rain had almost stopped. I left the track, taking a minor road to the left.
There was a bus stop on the main road where I packed away the water proofs, refolded the map and plotted where to go next.
It was still early afternoon and the sun was making another appearance.
I pressed on to the church Sv Lambert and into Lancovo, crossing over the river  continuing in the direction the picturesque, medieval town of Radovljica.

 Radovljica. Slovenia Radovljica has the largest number of sunny days in the Gorenjska region and sure enough, the rain had stopped and there was a little bit of blue sky around.
Radovljica streetsAfter wandering around town, under some buildings which once formed the moat and passing houses dating from 15th and 16th century, I went out towards the airfield – I couldn’t resist it!

Wandering past the large garden centre on the outskirts of town, I joined the cycle path alongside the A2/E61 road. I stopped to  watch a light aircraft doing a few circuits with the majestic  mountains behind. It reminded my of a fantastic holiday I took here a few years ago. I hired an aircraft from the Adria’s flight centre and piloted myself from Ljubljana to Bovec, unforgettable! It’s funny though, wherever you fly int the world,  the pilot always wants a cuppa.  As soon as I landed  the owner of the airfield at Bovec comes out with a mug of coffee.

Lesce Bled AirfieldGetting back to my walk…I took a left at Letaliska Ulica, following the signs to the airfield, peeping over to glimpse,  the control tower, hangers and runways.

Returning back through the town of Lesce (a settlement dating back as far as 1004!), I took the cycle route to Bled. At one point the track ends and it’s not too clear that you need to take a quieter road running parallel to the main road.
By now the clouds had darkened and there were a few rumblings of thunder. Despite walking almost 18 miles toady,  I some how found the energy to do the last stretch very quickly! Just as I got to the hotel the heavens opened with some of the heaviest rain I’ve seen!
The rest of the evening was spent in the hotel.

A 14.25 mile/22.9 km version of this walk without the ‘getting lost’ parts is available for download.

Part 3 >>

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑