Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lake Bled

Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque lakes I’ve ever been to. The basin was carved out by a glacier and then filled in by the glacier as it melted. It is unusual because it has no natural tributaries leading into the lake and its only source of fresh water is a few springs deep under the lake. The water is a beautiful shifting, shades of blue and, of course, perfectly clear.
With the potential of taking the perfect picture, we began walking around the lake, stopping every ten feet to snap a picture of the Disney like island church, the towering alps, the castle perched on the rocky outcrop…you get the picture. With any number of cafes and bars available, we stopped periodically to review those shots, decide which were worth keeping, which to try for again.
For a fee, of course, you can go out to the island on a pletna, a covered boat that holds about 18 people with the “rower” standing in the back to row. (In the right back of the picture you can see a pletna at the dock.) In the process of doing this, we discovered, however, that there’s a protocol for the boaters and getting some of them to work was difficult. Like taxis, they take turns and our guy was, well, not all that interested in working. A couple came down to him and asked about going out to the island and he said yes, but he needed more people. We said we wanted to go. That was fine but …he needed more people. We sat on the boat, looking at pictures and talking with the other people when two more came up. Once again, yes, but he needed more people. Fortunately, one lady spoke Slovenian so she asked…he wanted 10 people. We stuck it out for about 15 more minutes and decided forget it…ALL of us left. He ended up with nothing but the worse was that no one else could take us because it was his turn. However, we walked on a little ways further, snapping more of those pictures, and came upon another small dock with more pletnas waiting. This time the guy had about 6 people on the boat and was getting ready to leave. He stopped to wait for us and we all headed out to the island. Obviously, only one person was hung up on having 10.
The picturesque church on the island was built in the 15th century and is now regularly used for weddings. The altar decorations are all completely covered with gold – undoubtedly gold leaf – things get lost in translation here. The statues and settings are beautiful. They have a bell, and in the Japanese tradition, everyone is invited to pull the bell pull to ring it. (In Japan you ring a bell to attract the attention of the gods.) You can hear the bell pealing the entire time the island is “open”.

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