Since neither of us had ever been to Slovenia before (or heard anything about it, for that matter), we didn't know what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. We stayed at the Vila Istra which is a small, 5-room hotel that was originally a villa on the lake (hence the name!). Here's the hotel from the lake:
On Sunday night they sent us out to a restaurant called Gostilna Murka for traditional Slovenian food. We ate carniola sausages which were delicious and crispy on the outside, and were served with yummy mustard.
On Monday morning we rented a row boat so that we could row (so that RYAN could row ME) out to the island in the middle of the lake.
There is a church on the island, which we visited, and then we climbed up to the top of the bell tower. We rang the church bell because apparently that brings good luck. You can hear the bell ringing all day long as all the visitors go up and ring it.
Later, we ate lunch out in the sun and tried kremna rezina, a local Bled dessert, which is like a cream cake, but really light and delicious.
We visited the castle's wine cellar where we learned about different Slovenian wines and then we got to bottle our own Merlot!
We were really surprised (now that we are Italian wine snobs) at how good the Slovenian wines were. We even stopped at a grocery store on our way out of town and bought a few bottles to take back to Italy with us. We also noticed that there was a big emphasis on eating locally - at dinner at our hotel on Monday night we started with a mushroom carpaccio made from mushrooms that the chef had picked himself out in the woods! We also had a lot of trout, not from Lake Bled, but from another nearby lake.
After our castle visit we walked the long way around the lake back to our hotel. There's a fantastic walking path right on the lake - it's about four miles total.
And we got a little bit of a sunset, too:
Tuesday morning was rainy so we slept in and had a slow morning before heading back to Italy. It rained the whole way home (and still hasn't stopped!) but we did get to see this amazing rainbow in Austria:
Lake Bled really reminded us of a European Lake Placid - lots of hotels and restaurants and little shops and a huge emphasis on outdoor activities. We love Lake Placid so we were very happy here and would highly recommend it for a relaxing getaway or a stop along a longer trip.