Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vintgar Gorge

As if we haven’t seen enough waterfalls (and I know… I need to get my waterfall pictures up) we took off to see yet another spectacular site. One of the “must sees” here in Bled is Vintgar Gorge. Not to leave any site unseen, we rented bikes and headed out for the gorge, about 5km from town. It was a gorgeous ride out through the countryside, cows chewing their cud, corn waving in the fields, farm houses dotting the landscape, castle on the hill, blue skies…really an idyllic trip. The road was relatively easy for the most part and they had a walking/bike route separate from the cars so we really didn’t have to deal with many cars at all. Well…it was easy up until the last part…we came around a corner to discover a downhill…a REAL downhill. Not bad that direction but I knew I wasn’t looking forward to the return trip…but that was yet to come.
As I mentioned from our trip to the national park in Croatia, they are masters at artfully creating paths for people to wend their way through to enjoy a trip through “nature”. The gorgeous scenery through the gorge with the rushing water and cascading waterfalls and rippling rapids were delightful. (hmmm…I think I need a thesaurus just for describing waterfalls…it’s getting redundant.) The narrow, winding walking route was amazing…even more so since it was originally created for tourists more than 100 years ago (fortunately, it has been upgraded over time). The trail meanders through the 1600m gorge, carved into the rock face, protruding from the rocks, crossing on bridges, all designed to give the visitor changing views of the rushing Radovna River. The river surges through the confines of the gorge with the water cascading over boulders or surging and bubbling through the rapids. (now I sound like I swallowed a thesaurus)
The sun cooperated with us, sending shafts of light into the gorge, highlighting the turbulent water or just causing it to twinkle off the surface of the smoother ponds. Everywhere you turned, there was another breathtaking view. While the path really wasn’t that long, I think we spent well over an hour hiking to the end, stopping, with everyone else, to snap pictures, wait for someone else to take one, or do the shuffle dance to get by people coming back.
At the end there is yet another waterfall, though the river had been partially dammed so the falls were not as full as they would have been in the spring. We sat among the rocks below it and had lunch, enjoying the spray and watching the young boys brave the freezing cold water.
Ah yes, the road back…the hill was quite steep and while I did get up a little ways, it proved to be too much. I ended up walking back up the hill to our road. Once again we were able to ride the bikes back to Bled and, around the lake yet again to take just a “few” more pictures of the castle and island. 

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