Picturesque and peaceful,Lake Bled is a delight in the fall, but we were puzzled to hear a loud thump, thump, thumping of drums as we arrived at our campsite on the southern part of the lake. As we got closer, we saw tons of motorcycles from around Europe and that they were having an Octoberfest-like celebration right at our campsite.
As we listened to all of the bubbly traditional music, it added to the Julian Alps colorful autumn scenery, but we were also glad that we stayed the extra time in Lubjljana as it would have blasted us away all weekend and this way it was coming to an end before dusk. Just enough to enjoy and not enough to annoy. It is funny how things have a way of working out when you travel by whim.
We have run into lots of Motorcycle and Harley Davidson clubs in Europe. We first ran into a group in that lovely site in Tuscany and we saw many on various ferries. We tend to think of this as an American phenomenon, so it seemed odd at first to see Hells Angel types talking German or other languages. One just adjusts to the many small surprises that come with travel. They sometimes look a little scary dressed in their Harley Davidson style motorcycle black leathers, but seem to be mostly a mild mannered, middle class version.
Lake Bled is in Slovenia near the Austrian border, just 45 km northwest of Ljubljana, so it was an easy drive day. DaVinci still was not feeling well, so we were glad to take it easy here just taking in the beautiful nature. The road to nearby Bohinj was still closed so we had to skip that plan, but there had not been any damage in Lake Bled and it has special charms including its magical island with a church in the center and castle looking down from a nearby hill. It is a popular tourist spot in summer, but was not busy in late September, despite the good weather and beautiful harvest colors, much to our delight.
One can walk all around the lake which is two kilometers in diameter, but we took the train that goes around mostly to save DaVinci's energy. We stayed at popular Camping Bled on the western shore which is lovely and was almost empty once the motorcycle group left on Sunday evening, when we arrived. They also had internet wifi available for free which was a nice surprise in its rural setting, but one needs to camp near the reception. If I were king of the world, I would make sure that every campsite had free wifi from each individual site.
DaVinci was really in the mood for soup, so we made our way via train to the village area and found a cute restaurant with a great view, tho alas the soup was a disappointment. I tried a local specialty that was wonderful and a surprise as it is always a bit of a hit and miss at restaurants that you do not know. Mozart found the Lake Bled swans to feed, or perhaps they found her, which was a highlight for her. There were a pair of white adults as well as an almost grown grey young pair.
The tradition at Lake Bled is to take a “pletna”, which is a small gondola like boat powered by one oarsman, out to the island and explore the tiny island and church. Mozart liked the legend there that says that if you ring the bell at the church, you will get your wish fulfilled, so of course, we had to try that.
The beauty here is very nurturing and we took our time basking in it, resting and recovering. While we were packing up, Mozart was again entertaining herself close by, amongst the colorful foliage and green grass. She loved running up and down a hill and she made a big heart out of gravel at the empty site next door. We did a violin video right before leaving and she was happy to get to see and play with the swans one more time. Lake Bled has a funny name in English, but it is a very sweet spot that we are glad we did not miss.