After driving across Austria, we made it to Lake Bled without being stopped by Interpol following our run in with the campsite owner in Bertesgaden.
We’d specifically requested a shaded pitch, but yet again arriving on a Saturday the request had been ignored. Despite most of the camp being in the shade of trees, our pitch had zero shade and was baking hot. Reception said to come back at 9 the next morning and they’d see what they could do. We arrived promptly, but a reception call to the reservations guy established he was still in bed! An hour later and we were wandering the site with him to find a great one with plenty of shade, and space for the kids to play too.
Having spent the morning setting up camp, we had an easy afternoon hanging out at the lake’s grassy beach which was on the doorstep of the campsite. Evelyn was particularly excited to get to play with her inflatable crab in the shallows.
On Monday we headed to Lake Bohinj, deeper in to Triglav National Park than Bled. Bohinj was far less touristic than Bled, and much bigger. We’d thought we’d walk around it, but at 12km it felt a bit of a stretch whilst carrying the kids. Instead we took the 8km shaded northern path and then the boat back from the far end of the lake.
The path was certainly off road! A sign at the start of the path warned that it may be blocked due to fallen trees, but there was no mention of the dry river bed strewn with boulders. We clambered across okay, but others who appeared on bikes had somewhat more of a challenge. Note if you’re going in spring that path would be impassable with the snow melt from the mountains thundering down to the lake!
We finally made it to the far end of the lake, exploring the local playground before getting the boat back to town. We had time for a quick dip in the beautiful lake before heading back to the campsite.
On Tuesday we headed to the capital Ljubljana. Despite parking in a particularly dodgy part of town, we soon warmed to the (baking hot) city. It reminded me of a mix of Havana (crumbling colonial buildings, mishmashes of colour), Amsterdam (canals) and Granada (roadside bars in the shadow of a big castle/ palace on a hill).
We wandered the old town, took a funicular up to the castle, had an ice cream, and lost Mr Moon. One of our favourite baby toys that’s been with us since Evelyn was born, he somehow fell out of Stan’s “cheap seat” in the bottom of buggy. We retraced our steps when we realised, but had all but given up hope when Simon spotted a flash of blue resting on a bike stand… Mr Moon! A very luckily reunion after several hours.
Before heading back we headed over to Metelkova, Ljubljana’s answer to Stokes Croft. It certainly had a similar feel to the Magpie and PRSC. A former army barracks, it was squatted for years before the authorities approved its use as an autonomous social and cultural centre. It’s now a thriving hub of independent creative endeavours and night events, but had a subdued and hungover air when we wandered in at siesta time.
Wednesday saw us walk the 4 miles around the shore of Lake Bled. There’s a tarmaced path for the tourist train the whole way around so easy to navigate with a buggy/ toddler on a balance bike.
We stopped in Bled for lunch, treating ourselves to the apparently world famous Bled cake – a glorified and overpriced custard slice to Mancunians. At nearly 5e at every cafe / bakery we found they’re certainly cashing in on their local delicacy. It was nice though. We spent the rest of the afternoon cooling down at the lake beach.
On Thursday we headed to Vintgar Gorge. Nestled in Triglav National Park, the mile long gorge has a path/ wooden walkway traversing it’s full length, allowing you to follow the river in to the depths of the gorge – up to 100m sheer walls in places. There’s also a bonus waterfall at the end, the perfect spot for a picnic, and a swim if you’re brave enough (we weren’t).
Evelyn loved the adventure of following the path and crossing the bridges, although the endless stream of tourists in the height of peak season made keeping her on a short rein a challenge. The gorge was stunning though and we’d highly recommend a visit.
We got back to the campsite to find the animation team had organised a running race around the site that started from outside our pitch. While too shy to take part, Evelyn was fascinated and had her own (multiple) races with Daddy afterwards. The team had bled cakes as rewards for all the participants so we scored ourselves a cheeky bonus dessert for dinner that evening.
High on custard, we headed down to the mini disco for Evelyn to blow off steam. She wasn’t convinced by the euro kids party music so we ended up at the lake to watch the sunset. Evelyn wandered in for a quick paddle but quickly dunked herself, finding an excuse to strip off and paddle in her “witwoos”. After exhausting herself chasing ducks and dodging our efforts to remove her from the lake, we realised we didn’t have a towel, spare nappies or any clothes. So she looked very cute traipsing back through the campsite in Daddy’s disco shirt!
After all the outings, Friday was an Evelyn day of hanging out at the campsite. Splashing about in the bath on the pitch, bike riding, bouncy castles and playgrounds gave the freedom to flap about she much needed. She was also very excited for her train journey that evening.
We’d seen flyers for a week long music festival in Bled town so decided to venture there on Friday night, taking the tourist train around the lake to get there.
If there’s any sort of free music/ cultural event in Bristol, it’s always rammed, and people turn up hours early to bag a good spot and get stuck in to cider. So we (and the event crew) were quite surprised when we arrived 1.5hrs early for the event to find ourselves the first there! We bagged our spot and cracked in to our cider (note- Slovenia does excellent cider, who knew?!), only for it to start raining and we had to scarper to the shelter of the nearest tree.
Unfortunately we hadn’t managed to get Evelyn to nap that day, and the event ended up not starting til well past bed time. A meltdown during the first song saw us close to packing up and heading home, but a time-out walk in the buggy away from the excitement saved the day and in the end Evelyn was last girl standing, still running rings around the catering tents when everyone else had started going home.
Saturday was another quiet day to allow us to pack up. We were genuinely sad to leave this site and the beautiful lake and could have easily stayed much longer.
Where we stayed: