We head off today for the Julian Alps and Lake Bled, stopping first on the way at the historic village of Škofja Loka, the most preserved medieval town in Slovenia. It first appeared in written records in 1248 when it was a bustling market town. Still a living village, the newer upper town has preserved its living style and habits while the older lower town has an older architecture, both presided over by Loka Castle and its Church between the two.
Traveling is about seeing what is around you and trying to understand how to interpret that new information. The advantage of having a local tour guide is to be able to ask questions to integrate the history and context of another place into your world view in a meaningful way. Of course, having a local friend also provides additional input but friends tend to have their own strong cultural slant. Our guide from Roundabout Travel is excellent and both willing and excited about giving us the personal as well as the more empirical stories of where we find ourselves.
We approach first Bohinj lake, a place of relaxation and beauty. Turquoise blue and clear, it is a perfect place to absorb some of the natural beauty of the area.
Thoughts on language as we pass through tri-lingual countryside with Italian, Slovenian and Croatian known by most and the past close history of occupation by the Hapsburg empire bringing German into some family’s life. Both Slovenian and Croatian are linguistically close enough to their slavic cousin Russian that my old barebones knowledge of Russian allows me to understand a word or two. But what is really interesting is that Slovenian and Croatian, which are written in Roman and not Cyrillic alphabet, have many names (and perhaps words as well but I am only reflecting what I can read on signs) without any vowels. In the last hours I have noticed the city we have passed through Trieste, which is locally written aa Trst. And then there is the island offshore nearby Krk and we passed the turnoff to a town called Vrk. I wonder about teaching foreign languages to Slovenians and Coatians and the concept that a vowel is mandatory.
And then head further to more well-known Lake Bled, famous for both its 17th century island church of the Assumption of Mary and the castle that looms above it. We ride over the glass-like lake in perfect weather, powered by a traditional standing oarsmen with 2 oars, the descendants of 22 original families granted the right to ply these waters for commerce.
Tito’s summer residence, now a hotel, is in a pristine location and we sit looking over the lake and enjoy the classic cream cake and, for me, vegan chocolate raspberry cake.
It is a full and satisfying day, completed at the end by another visit by Jack and myself to Jadro Restaurant in downton Ljubljana. We indulged once again in the most magnificent polenta with truffles and seafood salad. And I return to try to sleep at least a few hours.