Lake Bled, Slovenia
Bike Lake Bled Then Eat Their Famous Cream Cake.
After a day exploring the picturesque small city of Ljubljana, I headed by bus for the quick 50-minute ride to Lake Bled. I chose to stay at 1A Adventure Hostel in Lesce, 5km from the main town of Lake Bled, as I wanted three nights of mountain peacefulness. After my first full day exploring Lake Bled by foot and kayak I chose to spend my second day biking Lake Bled and its surrounding areas. I rented a bike from Adventure Hostel for €10 and peddled the 20 minutes to Lake Bled where I spent 2 hours cycling around the Lake and another 1.5 hours getting frustrated in the alpine countryside.
Biking Lake Bled is geared for all levels of fitness and is perfect for families with young children. Although there are no designated bike lanes, pedestrians are very accommodating to cyclists. I biked counter-clockwise around Lake Bled, constantly hopping off to take photos of the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary in the middle of Lake Bled, Bled Castle, and the spectacular mountain scenery. There are numerous spots dotted around the lake where you can go for a swim, a paddle or like me, relax under a cluster of trees with a book.
BIKING THE ALPINE COUNTRYSIDE
As I spent two days roaming around Lake Bled, I asked a young fellow at the information booth for a bike ride recommendation that is outside the main town. He insisted that I bike to Vintgar Gorge (a narrow valley with a river), for what he reassured me was going to be a relatively pleasant 30-minute bike ride. I asked for a map. “You won’t need one,” he chuckled. “Just follow the signs.”
He started me off by pointing up the steep hill that takes you out of Lake Bled. No problem, I thought. I got this. It took 2 minutes to climb the hill before the roadway became level with farmland. For 15 minutes I biked along the country road with the breeze blowing through my hair, cows mooing and the smell of country life wafting in the warm Slovenian air. I came upon a sign (1.5km to Vintgar Gorge) that took me under a small overpass, up a quiet street then to a fork in the road. It said go left, so I did. Remember, the young fellow told me to ‘just follow the signs.’
Well, 25 minutes later I was huffing up a never-ending hill trying to avoid lorries and small cars. At one point I had to pull over on the road’s edge to give my poor thighs a breather. It was here I saw the sign that put ME over the EDGE – the sign had a lovely white background with a beautiful picture of the Gorge and written underneath it – 1.5km until Vintgar Gorge. WTbeep! Didn’t I see this sign 4km ago? Did I take a wrong turn? Clearly, I must have. So there I was, standing next to my bike forcefully gripping the handlebars and giving the death stare at the hill before me. I shook my head as I had no clue how much longer of a climb it would be before it would flatten out. 1.5km is not far on a bike, but when it’s up a steep grade it’s torturous for someone who is not a skilled cyclist (or slightly lazy). So what did I do? I gave up. Well, my toosh and calves did. I was spent and annoyed.
I hopped back onto my bike and joyfully rode down the hill, heading in the same direction I came. When I arrived at the ubiquitous fork in the road, I saw a couple of hikers who I passed earlier. I mentioned to them to not go left as it will take them at least another 1.5hrs. There must be a quicker way, we discussed. Surely enough there was. They asked a local farmer and he pointed at a trail that cuts through the mountains that ends up at Vintgar Gorge. Where was he when I needed him? Well, lesson learned. When a sign says for you to go left, it actually means to cut through the forest on a dirt trail. Why didn’t I know that?!
DEVOUR A LAKE BLED CREAM CAKE
When I arrived back to Lake Bled I was famished. As a reward for the intense leg and lung workout and to give my sit bones a rest I enjoyed a cappuccino and the famous Bled Cream Cake on the patio at Caffe Peglez’n overlooking Lake Bled. I wrote in my diary, enjoyed the summer breeze and chatted with a young Aussie girl about our Lake Bled Adventures. It was only 3 pm at this point, but I was exhausted. I biked in agony back to the hostel as my sit bones were as bruised as my ego. Nothing a glass of Slovenian Rosé couldn’t fix.
- Rentals: Bike Rentals at the Lake Bled information center next to the bus depot