It rained from the minute we stepped out of the airport at Ljubljana. And it rained and rained through the next two days. Not a heavy downpour that kept us inside but an annoying persistent drizzle that turned the skies grey and made us shiver to the bone. Nearly all the locals we spoke to told us “it’s usually 30 degrees at this time of the year” (early June). Well, this year the temperature barely touched two digits and thirty degrees seemed very far away. We trudged through medieval towns that at any other time would have seemed magnificent, we juggled umbrella, camera and bags (and one of us, a baby stroller too) and we despaired of ever seeing the sun again. We, who had just gone to Europe from hot, sweaty India.
My friends and I were staying at a lovely cottage at the village of Bohinjska Bela, just tqo kilometers from Ljubljana’s most popular attraction, Lake Bled. The four days we spent there, we woke up each morning wondering about the day’s weather; accuweather.com became our closest (even if not the most reliable) friend. Let me tell you how heartbreaking it is to stand at Lake Bled just to see everything covered by a grey blanket – the waters, the beautiful church in the middle of the lake, the cliff top castle.
On day three, we woke up to clear sunny skies and headed out before the sun could get a chance to play hide and seek with us yet again. We drove first to Bohinj, the tiny village with its single main road and church with impressive murals. Bled is gorgeous, but is paying the price for being popular – hotels, casinos, restaurants, shopping complexes and of course, pesky tourists. After that, Bohinj came as a stunner – it was still early in the morning when we reached, there was not a single soul in sight and the church was still shut. And the lake stretched out in front of us in dazzling shades of blue and green, reflecting the thick low clouds.
The road to Bohinj was a treat since we had taken the longer “back roads” as suggested by our host and so drove through narrow village lanes with homes on either side with bright spring flowers blooming in profusion. The scenery was very Alpine; distant snow peaked mountains, wooden chalets, churches with their distinct round domes and pointy spires, wild flowers all along the roads.
And we headed on to Vogel nearby, taking the ski lift up to the top, to see Lake Bohinj in the distance and snowcapped peaks which seemed almost within touching distance. A dozen photographs, a quick breakfast of coffee and waffle (we were on holiday, ok?) and we were ready to go back to Bled and take our chances with the sun there.
And did we there?