Not wanting to leave the holiday-spirited city of Innsbruck but knowing we would visit Austria again, we boarded our train to Lake Bled, Slovenia. Six hours later, we arrived at the sleepy Lake Bled train station and hopped onto a metro bus for 1.50 Euro each, five miles to the town center.
Rain and fog saturated the town and lake. It was such a contrast from being in arguably the most colorful cities in the world: Cinque Terre, Venice and Burano. We could barely make out a faint church island situated in the middle of the lake.
Our lovely little pension hotel was outside of the town center by a 15 minute walk. Walking the lakeside trail it began to absolutely downpour and by the time we arrived, we were soaked. Stumbling into the hotel, with water cascading off our coats and onto the lobby floor, we were the only guests for the evening and we were welcomed by first names – another benefit to traveling during the off-season.
Throwing our wet gear down on our room floor, we gazed out our lake view room and spotted supermarket nearby. Salami, garlic bread and a liter of wine for under 5 Euros – it was perfect, not healthy, but perfect. Not wanting to explore in the storm, we snuggled into the comfortable bed and watched the rain fall and wind blow.
It was a welcomed break from sightseeing and feeling like we had to go, see, and do. Traveling non stop for three months, it was quite nice to sit and do nothing. We took cat naps and waited for the weather to settle. It never did and we watched a movie calling it an early night.
The next day, with the weather still foggy but not wet, we borrowed two hotel bikes and biked around the short three mile lake loop. It felt like home, biking around one of the many lakes in Washington.
We imagined what this little town would be like in the summer. Beautiful views of the Slovenian alps, warm sun, boats cruising the lake and totally jammed packed. Lake Bled is not a big place and the lake side accommodations are slim. Visiting in the off season, although the weather is unpredictable, allowed us to take in this peaceful place and recharge after the craziness of traveling and being on the move.
Arriving in the town center, we spotted colorful pletna boats taking fellow tourists across the lake to the church island. In the same way that the Venice gondolas are rowed by professionals, the pletna boats are operated by professional oarsmen. Each boat has a unique color that popped against the foggy sky reflections.
You can rent boats but have to paddle yourself, which wouldn’t be an easy row, but more fun in my opinion. Due to the foggy weather, they were not renting any but we could imagine how hilarious it must be spotting tourists, twirling in circles in the middle of the lake.
Lucky for us, Lake Bled’s Taste Bled, a food and wine event had just began as we checked our bikes back into the hotel. Live music, locals dancing and hanging on each other trying to stay upright filled the outside terrace where the event was being held. The music was so loud, eventually the whole town must have been here enjoying the festivities, stuffing their faces and dancing the night away.
Fog began to roll in, appearing like snow as we hung outside on the terrace enjoying beer and huge portions of Slovenian dishes. We may have joined in the dancing fun too.