We knew little to nothing about Slovenia before starting the Europe Train Challenge. It was like a country which had been left in the shade between Austria and Croatia.
But very soon all of that changed, and we went from not knowing anything about it to absolutely adoring it!
Bled, the small town we went to in Slovenia, was almost too good to be true. It was one of those places you didn’t really think could actually exist, other than in Disney movies.
The lake was unlike anything I have ever seen; bright turquoise from a distance, but when you went closer the water was so clear that you could see fish swimming 2 meters below the surface.
The wild animals were more curious than afraid of people; swans and ducks swimming closer to get a better look, curious of you and your camera.
Coming to Bled felt as though you had entered a book of fairy tales - thick green forest, old traditional cottages, an abundance of animals, a castle perched on the edge of a cliff and a church on a tiny island in the middle of a turqoise lake – with a wishing bell…
I mean seriously, the wishing bell just takes the prize! - this place cannot be for real?!
There are a lot of legends about Bled, with the one about the wishing bell being the most famous.
The story goes that if you make a wish and ring the bell three times your dream will come true, and many people say that they actually do come true.
The only thing missing from the story would be Rapunzel’s hair hanging down from the Castle’s tower…
Tourism is finally catching up here since the Yugoslav war (although Slovenia was never really in war, except for 10 brief days, tourists were afraid of going there for many years).
And unlike some other places we’ve been to, the people there seemed very grateful we were there and instead of wanting to keep Bled for themselves, they were very proud and wanted to share this little gem with the whole world.
So if you’re around Croatia or Austria, please do take the time to visit Bled in Slovenia as well, it really is such a special place!
Have you been there before? Did you also fall in love with the place?