At 7 AM, I get up and just sort of stare ahead and hope I can fully wake up. I feel like I m in a trance. I m moving slowly.

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1 September 13, 2013 (Bled, Slovenia) I don t sleep well. It s a combination of the jetlag and the room being too warm. The room has a thermostat that doesn t work in turning on the air conditioning. The temperature in the room is 27.5 C (81.5 F). It s necessary to open the large window that overlooks the common room just to try to allow some air to circulate. But, despite posted quiet hours, people are in the common room much of the night talking. Any noise echoes up through the open window. At 7 AM, I get up and just sort of stare ahead and hope I can fully wake up. I feel like I m in a trance. I m moving slowly. At 7:45 AM, I m downstairs waiting for breakfast to be ready at 8 AM. Since the breakfast is included in the night s stay, I m not going to miss it. It s ham, cheese, bread, jam and cereal. I walk down to the bus terminal around 8:30 AM to catch a bus to Bled. I purchase a ticket for 7.80 ($10) and am told the bus leaves at 9 AM from slot #7. At 9 AM, the bus arrives and everyone boards. It s only about half full. The bus ride takes an hour and 15 minutes to get to Bled. It s somewhat of a local bus as it drives on the country roads and stops at every town along the way. I try to catch some sleep, but I m also careful not to fall too much asleep stop is in the center of the town next to Lake Bled. Lake Bled is the main attraction in Bled and I begin with the trail around the lake. Soon I come to the Parish Church of St. Martin. It s a white church that doesn t look to be very old. I go inside. On a rocky cliff above the church sits Bled Castle. There are several trails up the mountain to the castle. I choose one up the road from the church in the town that goes up the back side of the mountain. as I don t want to miss getting off the bus at Bled. I arrive in Bled at 10:15 AM. Fortunately, the bus 9

2 The path up to Bled Castle isn t too difficult. It s just a 15 minute walk on a dirt and rock path that constantly climbs. Up at the castle I see the parking lot with the many tour bus groups, mostly older people. I purchase an entrance ticket for 8 ($10) and climb the rock path through the gate that leads to the castle entrance. The initial part of the castle is a small courtyard with a restaurant. Here s where many of the older tour bus inhabitants have succumbed. From here are some steps to a ledge with an overlook of Lake Bled and Bled Island. Unfortunately, it s a bit overcast so the colors are a bit washed out. Bled Lake is about 1 ½ miles long and a mile wide. At the far end sits Bled Island, only large enough for the Church of the Assumption, which dates from the 17 th century. The only way to visit the church is via rowboats that people can rent. No 10

3 motorized boats are allowed on the lake. Across the lake s surface are many boats. It looks like a lot of work, especially since most of the boat rental places are at the opposite end of the lake. Surrounding Bled Lake are mountains. I then walk up some more steps to the main dates back to the 11 th century, but most of what presently exists dates back to the 16 th century. From the courtyard are more views of Bled Lake. courtyard of Bled Castle. Of course, in the courtyard is another restaurant. Bled Castle Inside the castle is a small museum. Small is the key word. There isn t a lot to see in it. Through a museum exit are steps down to a small wine shop. Also, there are steps up to a wall walkway with views of the mountains and countryside in the direction opposite from the lake. 11

4 I descend to the lake from a different path. This patch is much steeper with many wooden steps. I m glad I didn t come up this path as it would have required a lot more effort. At Lake Bled, I begin the 3 ½ mile walk around it on the paved trail. To my left is the lake and the ever-present view of Bled Island. Around the far end I come to a rowing club and then a swimming beach. No one is swimming as it s too cold. There are many people along the banks with fishing poles and lines in the water. It doesn t look like anyone is catching anything. The funny thing is that I see several large fish The walk around the lake is easy. Many people are walking around it and also many bicyclists. jumping in the lake despite all the people fishing who look quite bored. Around the opposite side of the lake from the castle provides the best pictures. From here, the church on the island and the castle on the cliff can both be 12

5 framed together. To make everything nicer, the overcast from the morning has parted and it s a beautiful sunny afternoon. I finally need to take off my jacket and am glad I have worn shorts. My feet are starting to hurt. I really should have done some exercising before my trip to strengthen my feet and ankles for all this walking. It s around 2:30 PM when I complete my circuit of the lake. I haven t had anything to eat since breakfast and I finished my water bottle about ¾ th of the way around the lake. I m hungry. 13

6 I stop at an outdoor restaurant and order the fish and chips with a large Slovenian beer for 8.10 ($10.50). The 2 pieces of fish and the plate full of fries are plenty and I mostly just sit and let my feet rest. The food is good. I walk back to the bus terminal to catch the bus back to Ljubljana. There, I m met by a shady taxi driver who s trying to fill his minivan with people paying 7 ($9.50) each to return to Ljubljana. I know I don t have dummy written on my forehead, yet he s telling me all kind of false stuff to get me to go with him, like that the bus won t be here for a long time. Eventually he finds his suckers and I see that he s squeezing them very tightly into his minivan, 4 people across the back seats. It looks very uncomfortable. I m happy to wait 10 minutes for the bus. The bus comes and it s only 6.30 ($9). The extra 1.50 I paid to come to Bled was a reservation fee from the ticket agent. It s cheaper to purchase the ticket directly from the driver. A little before 5 PM I m back in Ljubljana. I walk back to the hostel and check to see how to turn on the air conditioning in my room. I m told that it s not been working on the 3 rd floor for awhile and the guy doesn t know when it ll be fixed. I look at my guidebooks and decide what to do tomorrow. The train and bus schedules aren t going to allow me to visit the caves south of Ljubljana and still allow me to get to Zagreb at a reasonable time. So, I ve decided to leave for Zagreb early in the morning and give myself most of the day to see Zabreb. I walk back to the train station and purchase a ticket for 16 ($22). The train departs at 8:15 AM and arrives at Zagreb at 10:35 AM. On the way back to the hostel, I stop at a grocery store and purchase a piece of hot pizza and some other things (bananas, croissants) to eat for breakfast. I ll be leaving too early for the breakfast the hostel provides. 14

7 I try to go to bed. The temperature is 80 F so I must leave the window open that overlooks the common room. At 10:30 PM, it s after the 10 PM quiet time yet the television in the common room is still on and blaring out noise. I walk down to the reception area and ask about it. He immediately goes and turns off the television and locks the common room. I can try to go to sleep now. 15

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