This deep blue lake, framed by the crests of the Julian Alps
, has within it a small islet on which stands a church with a baroque bell tower. You'd be forgiven for thinking you were in Switzerland
, Bavaria or Austria
, however Lake Bled is situated in the north of Slovenia
an hour's drive from the capital. In December and January, the body of water is an open air ice rink, while in the summer it is a popular, green holiday town. You can take a dip in the lake, have a boat ride or take a short cruise to the central islet where you can visit the church which dates from the turn of the 20th century. The church that stands here today actually replaced another one from the 15th century, itself built on the foundations of a chapel going back to the year 1000. In order for an unobstructed view of the lake and church, you simply need to climb up the slope leading to Bled Castle, which was built overhanging the north bank. Initially a watch tower in the Middle Ages, it was expanded in the 16th century and in the 18th. Today it is a museum in which furniture has been placed to give an idea of the interior while it served as a residence. During the summer, a restaurant and tea room are installed in the yard which gives on to the lake 430ft below. The name of the town doesn't derive from the Arab word 'bled' meaning town, but from an Indo-European root meaning 'clarity'. This almost certainly refers to the glistening lake. http://www.bled.si/en/
. © Texte : Estelle Mariotte. Photo : OT Slovénie.