Tag Archives: Yugoslavia

On This Day – Lake Bled in Slovenia

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 24th May 2007 I was rowing a boat on Lake Bled in Slovenia…

Rowing Lake Bled

Rowing I find is one of those things that can be quite a lot more difficult than it looks and I had some early problems coordinating the actions of left and right hand oars to keep us progressing in a straight line and with Kim in charge of plotting the course I had to make frequent adjustments to maintain the right direction.  I found it most helpful however when she began to beat out the rowing tempo in the manner of a Roman galley slave-master but I was worried that I might not be able to cope physically if she decided to up the pace to Ben Hur ramming speed.

We left the island and as Kim was convinced that rowing a boat was a straightforward process and that I was simply an incompetent oarsman she decided to take responsibility for the return journey.  She was no better than me of course but I didn’t complain because I was enjoying sitting back in boat enjoying the warm sunshine and the slightly curious meandering route back to the shore.  I will concede however that she did  make a perfect docking procedure and we completed our walk around the lake stopping on route for a pizza and a beer at a bar with a raised terrace and a good view over the lake.

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Memorable Places – Škofja Loka in Slovenia

Škofja Loka

There was a lovely blue sky and once again the bus arrived exactly on time and we enjoyed the forty-minute journey through the picturesque countryside and arrived at an untidy little terminus at our destination.

The bus station may not have been very exciting but the little town was quite spectacular.  It is a European cultural heritage site and although there is evidence of fifty years or so of neglect there was a lot of restoration work taking place and when all of this is finished it will once again be a seriously attractive town.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less)

Lake Bled Church Steps

Lake Bled, Slovenia

The island, according to legend, was created as a punishment by God.  He stopped by one day on a surprise inspection and was annoyed to find his church full of cattle because the villages had become too lazy to watch over them and had left the church door open.  To punish them he made the lake so that in future the animals couldn’t get across to it and get inside.  A nice story but without a shred of truth of course because in actual fact the lake is glacial and was formed at the end of the last ice age when water poured in behind the retreating ice.

The church is popular for weddings and there are ninety-nine steps to the top and there is a tradition that if a bridegroom can carry his bride to the church without either stopping for breath or complaining then the couple will enjoy a happy marriage.  If you are tempted to try this super-human feat my then my advice would be that you get engaged to a skinny girlfriend because just getting to the top sounds like seriously hard work to me without any unnecessary additional burden.  Or perhaps this is simply designed to get you ready for the harsh realities of married life.

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Lake Bled Slovenia

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat on Lake Bled

Lake Bled Nuns

About half way around the lake we came across a man with rowing boats for hire who was taking care of a party of nuns who were negotiating a rental agreement and were making hard work of getting their seating arrangements organised inside the craft.

This looked like fun and I was certain that they had little chance of making it to the island in the middle of the lake without capsizing the boat on the way and we watched in anticipation but were disappointed when they were joined by a burly man who clearly knew what he was doing and had the job of transporting them across.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Today we were planning to visit Split but as we were preparing to catch the ten o’clock bus the clouds began their relentless march inland and the heavens opened again and we watched as first Brač and then Split itself slipped from view under a thick grey shroud.

When it had slowed from a downpour to a drizzle I was sent to the shop down the road to get supplies in case we were forced to spend the day in the room, which at that point seemed like a distinct possibility.  At the shop I couldn’t remember which beer I preferred, was it Karlovačko, Ožujsko or Laško so I bought one of each so that I could try them all just to be sure.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Abandoned Hotel, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The water taxi left from the little harbour in the village and we waited in the already hot sunshine until it arrived at ten o’clock and then selected seats on the upper deck and sat and sweltered while we waited for it to leave.

Eventually the crew cast off and followed the coast towards the city and then we saw something unexpected and nothing like we had seen before on previous visits to Croatia, a string of war damaged bombed out hotels at regular intervals all the way to Dubrovnik.  This we learned later was the legacy of an invasion by Montenegro during the secessionist wars of the 1990s.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Bridges

Stari Most, Mostar, Bosnia

During the Yugoslav wars, the objectives of nationalists from Croatia were shared by Croat nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  What I didn’t know was that after the expulsion of the Serbs the Croats turned on the Bosnians and they proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate ‘political, cultural, economic and territorial whole’ on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Ljubljana, Bus Ride to Lake Bled

Lake Bled Slovenia

There was another dreary start to the day but at least it wasn’t raining and after another excellent breakfast where I was even tempted to sample the bottled beetroot juice (and promptly wished I hadn’t) we decided to take another bus journey out of the city and to Slovenia’s most popular tourist destination, Lake Bled.

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Croatia, The Siege of Dubrovnik

The taxi left from the little harbour in the village and we waited in the already hot sunshine until it arrived at ten o’clock and then selected seats on the upper deck and sat and sweltered while we waited for it to leave.  Eventually the crew cast off and followed the coast towards the city and then we saw something unexpected and nothing like we had seen before on previous visits to Croatia, a string of war damaged bombed out hotels at regular intervals all the way to Dubrovnik.  This we learned later was the legacy of an invasion by Montenegro during the secessionist wars of the 1990s.

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Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Although we were in Europe this felt like a different place altogether and being predominantly Muslim it felt as though we had crossed into Asia.  It was about sixty kilometres to Mostar and when we arrived there it was a total shock.  We drove past bombed out and abandoned buildings and parked the car in what looked a precarious spot next to magnificent old buildings that had been completely destroyed during the war of 1992 to 1993.

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