Tag Archives: lake

Lake Bohinj: better than Bled?

Woke up early this morning and have 4 hours until my bus leaves, so I guess it’s time I sat down at the hostel shared computer and wrote about Lake Bohinj. (Excuse any crazy typos, it’s a croatian keyboard…)

My second day in Bled started with a lazy morning in the hostel, drinking nescafe (it was free, don’t judge me) and chatting and playing Jenga with an Irish guy and an aussie girl who had never played Jenga before and a dutch couple who insisted the rules were you could only use one hand in a turn, you couldn’t alternate right and left to ease a block out. There was talk of hiring bikes and going to some waterfalls, once everyone had gotten up and dressed and we’d found out where these waterfalls actually were.

Around eleven we’d worked out the plan — it turns out the ‘waterfalls’ were actually Vintgar Gorge, which I’d been to the day before, and liked, but not enough to go there a second time. So with that we went our separate ways, the group off to Vintgar and me down to the bus station to see where I could get to easily in the area.

As it happens, there was a bus fairly soon to Lake Bohinj, which was about half an hour away. I’d heard of it before as ‘the other lake in Slovenia; some people say it’s nicer than Bled’. Time to test that theory then.

‘Some people’ are right.

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Perfect mountain lake.

Where Bled is quite built up, with its resorts and a substantial town on its shores, Bohinj is more of a large mountain lake that you could imagine hiking to and camping by. It was an overcast day when I was there, and everything was in shades of grey and green and blue, save the odd bright orange canoe and a white streak of a reflected church tower. Though it was hardly deserted, none of the crowds of Bled were there, and none of the bars and the boat hires every few hundred metres along the shore. Just mountains, trees, and a lot of water.

Lake Bohinj

Little beach with a tree.

I guess the reason Bled is more popular is that its water is much warmer – I took a quick dip in Bohinj before lunch, and a quick dip was plenty for me. It’s definitely more of a lake to walk around, or paddle on. I walked all the way around, with frequent stops to admire the views.

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Dramatic clouds and still lake.

So yes, count me as one of the ‘some people’ who prefer Bohinj to Bled.

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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