Slovenia (Part 2 of 2) - mountains, sea, and a pinch of love

Two people lost in awe (and in the snow) of the Julian Alps

Lake Bled - where wilderness is knocking at the door

Our experience of lake Bled is accompanied by rain and some snow, too, but we are no longer bothered and adapt to every situation. On top of the rain, it is -2 degrees in the beginning of May, which is apparently quite unusual and quite unexpected for our tent plans. Jenthe is one brave man for taking me there in those conditions in a tent. We dismiss any cold and discomfort, though, when we wake up in the mornings by the sound of countless cheerful birds and nothing else (ok, if those little birdies woke up later than 5:30am that would have been welcome, but once I get into it, I manage to merge my sleep with the sound). I enjoy some of my most revitalizing sleeps ever.

Lake Bled island
Our camping site, home of many cheerful early-rising birds

Little cosy tent we got

Lake Bled is something in between wilderness and commercialization. We get to find our paths through some forests and see some bee hives in the open. At the same time, there is plenty of buses with tourists and some spooky-looking hotels by the lake. There are a few exceptionally good restaurants as well, and we find the local people much warmer than those in Ljubljana. We even get educated in Slovenian wines by our extremely animating waiter and, while Slovenia is a country of white ones, we get to try some exceptionally good sorts of red.

Spooky hotel by the lake

Spooky deserted house by the lake

Cute bee hive by lake Bled 

Lake Bohinj - where wilderness unfolds itself

The highlight of our trip happens to be around the least reviewed spot, usually offered as an alternative destination in some guides. However, this is where we find what we are looking for. Lush wild landscapes and hikes, and a very limited amount of other hikers - true Alpine experience.

Looking for something more adventurous, we head to look for the "Black lake", which we will later understand is called that way, because... it is so very difficult to find. The path immediately starts very steep, suggesting for what will follow. My breath is taken both by the ascend and by the views, which are revealing in front of us with almost every step: a step through the fallen forest leafs, next one through little stumbling stones, another step passes underneath a waterfall, next one takes us trough a rocky wall. Timid flowers pop up by the path, welcoming us into their green world. Gradually, pine trees take over the surrounding landscape, providing shelter for the newly fallen May snow. The frozen white carpet leads us to our first target - the Black lake. It is pristine, smooth and entirely integrated in the forest. We feel blessed to be part of this natural work of art.

The steep way through the forest

Up we go

 Sparkling forest waterfall

Some rock cheating a.k.a. following a rope
The Black Lake

We do have a very ambitious plan to reach another spot after the Black lake - a cute mountain hut one hour away, and to return through a different path than the one we have climbed on the way here.  

Perhaps the blissfully intoxicating pine smell has gotten deep into us, because at some point we realize we have ignored our logical senses of direction for too long because we are not supposed to still be ascending three hours after the Black lake. We realize we have blissfully lost our path, we are far from any civilization, in the middle of a pine forest and knee-deep snow, and we have no more than two-three hours until dark. I personally always wondered who are those lame people who find themselves totally unequipped in a snowy mountain in the dark. Now I regretfully start imagining that those people could very well be us. Luckily, we maintain our composure and do not take any wrong decisions - we decide to take the same way back. Jenthe turns his senses back on, in full-speed mode, and we gallop through the heavy, deep, wet, cold and not-so-romantic-any-more snow. All little brunches, pine cones, funny trees and rocks, which we have discussed with awe on our way up, now turn into our guiding signs that we are on the right path.

Conquering the snow

Precious pine cones - our signs

The snow conquering us, lost people

Completely wet, humbled and delighted, we manage to put the mountain to sleep just on time and find ourselves back in civilization just to witness a marvelous and rewarding sunset above Bohinj lake. 

Sunset above Bohinj lake

We have not gotten enough of those views, and we feel a bit "defeated" by our unsuccessful attempt to finish that extra challenging trek. So, on the day after, with new will power and enthusiasm, Jenthe and I hit the path on the other side, where we were supposed to finish the day before. We are pleased to discover more of the unsuspected wonders t
he Julian Alps have to offer.

View over lake Bohinj


Kali a.k.a. me

Piran - where time has drowned in the sea

At the end of our trip, we have planned a couple of days at the Slovenian sea side - just to sleep late and rest. Bad weather is back, though, and is there to stay. We barely see the sun any more, but we do have a good preparation from the days before and of course we do not let the weather impact our mood. 

First and last colorful sunset in Piran before the rain takes over 

Rain is there to stay

Little Slovenian mermaid

Piran is a cute, walkable and entirely car-free ancient town. The mood is special as it is a mixture of authenticity and commercialization. People have kept their ways of living - hanging laundry on the street, having one shop for fish, one shop for wine, one market for vegetables, and we see the same people every single day.

Colorful houses by the promenade
Wandering through the little Piran streets 

At the same time, they have cultivated this peanut-sized town to welcome tourists of many countries - offering a hike to the city walls, a circular view at the sea, a non-exaggerated meal at the town's main Tartini square, a glass of unpretentious white wine in one of the little streets...and of course a Shell museum, whose retro atmosphere is particularly demonstrative of the fact that time has stopped in Piran.

Washed by the rain, beautiful Tartini square from the city Bell Tower

Tiny Piran, bravely standing in the midst of a dark sea 

To end our stay in the charming Piran and seal our special sentiments towards Slovenia, we find the "recipe for love". We are now ready to head for our 12-hourish ride back home to Belgium. 

The first part of our Slovenian exploration is here.

Sneak into the rest of my boxes of memories here. 

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