One of the reasons that I absolutely adore language learning is because I also absolutely adore travelling. I’m very lucky to have been able to travel to lots of different countries, so I definitely feel that this something I would want to blog about, and share my experiences.
So the first place that I want to talk about is the very beautiful Lake Bled, in the northwest of Slovenia. I visited this place during an Eastern European road trip that I took in the summer, and it was perhaps the most worthwhile, beautiful pitstop destination I have ever experienced in my entire life. It was the most fantastic morning, I had woken at around 5:30am in my hotel room in Ljubljana with the gruelling 5 hour journey to Munich ahead of me. As dispiriting as this thought may have been, by 8am my bus had pulled up to the shore of Lake Bled for a small rest top.
There are not enough words to describe how magical the atmosphere was there. Bled is an immense body of water, famous for Bled castle which overlooks the lake and the tiny heart-shaped island right in the middle. Despite Bled being a popular tourist destination in Slovenia with campsites on the water’s edge, the only sound to break the silence that morning was the sound of the ducks quacking. It was truly beautiful.
The only way to reach Bled Island was by riding one of the wooden boats, or Plentas, which were manually rowed by local men. There were around 15 of us in the boat, as well as our rower who perched himself on one end and used the massive oars to push us through the water. The vessel had sank very low into the lake due to the weight of the people, so low that I could easily reach in and trail my hand idly through the waves but this seemed normal to our skipper. The voyage took around 10 minutes and during that time he amused us with stories of the lake; how it froze over in the winter, how there are hundreds of different types of fish beneath the surface, and how Bled was often the host of the World Rowing Championships. The cruise and its captain reminded me of the Venetian gondolas, and how nonchalant their drivers could be in such stunning surroundings. I was mesmerised when we stepped out onto Bled Island.
There are only a few small buildings on Bled Island, most notably the beautiful church where local ceremonies and weddings are still performed. To reach the church, I had to climb a giant flight of stairs, however the locals said that there is a tradition that for a marriage to take place on the island, the groom would have to carry the bride up the stairs. All I can say is I suddenly felt very sorry for the poor Slovenian grooms… because that was a lot of stairs! It was worth it though, for the view alone. From all sides of the island were the most gorgeous, panoramic views of the lake, Bled Castle and Emperor Frans Josef’s summer residence. I have never felt so at peace with nature and the world than I did on those moments that morning. Now, back in my busy life, when I’m feeling stressed all I need to do is close my eyes and I can imagine myself there and it is a calming stress-relief.
Have you ever been somewhere that has made you feel at peace?