Jumping in at Lake Bled

I’m going to try and blog my summer travels this year, with — I hope! — not too much delay (unlike, you know, every other post on this blog). My first stop was Lake Bled in Slovenia, where I stayed 2 nights (August 3 and 4).

It was around 5pm and stonking hot, and I was slightly dehydrated when I first saw Lake Bled. I’d just been on a 2 hour train ride from Nova Gorica. Before that, a 45-minute walk with my backpack in the muggy early afternoon between Gorizia and Nova Gorica stations. Before that a 2 hour train ride from Venezia, which came after a 20-minute frantic dash to duck out of the station, take a photo of the canal (yup, it’s still there) and buy a slice of pizza. Before that, a nearly-5 hour train ride through intermittent pouring rain from Torino. Before that, a 6am start and a wobbly bike ride to the station with my backpack. It was a long day, in other words.

‘The lake is nice,’ I thought. ‘But so is Lago Maggiore, and I could have been there 8 hours ago.’

Also, it’s usually hidden by the island in all the photos, but Bled does have a rather ugly strip of lakefront hotels and a casino. Not really the peaceful mountain lake getaway I had in mind. ‘I booked 2 nights in this place,’ I thought. ‘Well then.’

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I’m sure you get a great view from inside these buildings.

The next day was sunny and warm and having had some sleep I was a lot more keen about the whole place. I put my bathers on, grabbed a book to read, and headed down to the shore.

It took a bit of a walk to find a place where swimming was allowed (that wasn’t a paid beach — why on earth would you pay to swim in a lake?!), but it was a pleasant stroll and by the time I got to a jetty, I was ready to swim. It was still quite early, so it was just me and a middle-aged German couple, tentatively dipping our feet in the water and trying to convince ourselves it wouldn’t be all that cold. Eventually they eased themselves in on the shallow side, and I took a deep breath and jumped in.

The first thing I noticed was the taste. There wasn’t a taste. No salt, no chlorine. I don’t think I could quite believe I was swimming, even as I was working harder than usual to stay afloat with the reduced buoyancy of fresh water. The second thing I noticed was that it wasn’t cold at all. ‘I could get used to this,’ I thought.

So that was how I spent my morning, jumping in, climbing out and laying in the sun for a bit, jumping in again. People-watching from the water, getting out and walking a bit further around the lake and swimming again in a new spot. Sitting in a lakeside cafe reading. Admiring the view, which if you ignore the hotels is really very nice. Well then.

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