Ljubljana and Lake Bled, Slovenia

After the rainy night, it was all cleared up in the early morning. As an IHG Diamond status member, we got free breakfast, finally, IHG offers that! From the breakfast room, you can see the Ljubljana Castle on the back while the old town was partially covered by the buildings.

The selections are pretty good with hot items such as eggs and sausages and freshly baked croissants.

The room is very cozy with those comfortable sofas and chairs.

Their hash browns were good and they also have Jason’s favorite watermelon. Oh one thing that is special about it is they have ice cream too….ice cream for breakfast, why not?

After breakfast, we got our car (it was €9.20 for the overnight parking), and drove to Lake Bled. Without traffic 40 minutes but there was traffic and took us a little bit over 1 hour to get there. As for parking, we parked at Pristava – Cesta svobode 22, 4260 Bled, Slovenia. I found this from Google Maps when looking for the nearest parking to the Mala Osojnica Trailhead. Parking costs €6, pay at the machine.

From the parking lot, it was a 10 minutes walk to the lake, mostly downhill. We reached the lake with a postcard view of the island with the church in the lake. The water’s color is so blue and clear.

We waited for one couple to finish taking their photos and it was our turn.

Then, we continued walking looking for the trailhead and it was not marked so a little bit of zooming in with Google Maps and guessing. The first narrow path doesn’t look like it so we continued walking until we saw a bigger path. The hiking trail was mostly in shade, slippery little loose rocks, and some sections are steep and with chains to help. We hiked in our sandals and did fine with a few rests in between.

There were a lot of people at the top so a little bit of a wait to get the photos. The view was magnificent!

At the far left is the Bled Castle.

After we hiked down, we stopped at this spot again for photos and asked the couple in front of us to help us take a photo with Jason’s phone.

With just one full day in Slovenia, we went back to explore Ljubljana. If you have more time, you can spend the day at Lake Bled, there’s a boat tour to visit the island, there’s Bled Castle, and a little busy town.

On the way out, the road coming into Lake Bled was full of traffic and barely moving, good thing we got there early!

Once we got back to Ljubljana, parked our car, used the bathroom in our hotel room, and head back out toward the old town. We stopped at the post office for Jason to buy stamps to add to his collection. There weren’t many choices though. Then, we walked Monstera Bistro for lunch but it was fully booked urg! We walked across the bridge, snapped a photo, and to Julija. Luckily, we got a table there.

We got the grilled mushrooms with prawns as a starter, I like the creamy sauce.

Jason ordered the risotto with prawn tails and cherry tomatoes, it was okay (it’s hard to beat the seafood risotto that we had in Sicily).

I had the duck confit with polenta and sour cherry sauce. It was okay as well.

The lunch was €53.60 and we walked to Gelato Romantica for gelato as everyone raved about it. Both tiramisu and mango+coconut gelato cost €7.20 and are pretty good. We both liked the coconut flavor, it was creamy and rich coconut flavor.

We filled our bellies and walked around the old town to burn those calories. Ljubljana’s old town is very small, glad that we only stayed half a day here otherwise we would run out of things to do and see.

The town hall:

The main views are their bridges. We took this picture from the Fishmarket Footbridge looking toward the Triple Bridge.

Looking back at the Fishmarket Footbridge with the castle on top of the hill.

The lively Prešeren Square with the bright pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.

The middle bridge of the Triple Bridges:

Another view of the bridges and the church.

The central market with lots of stalls selling food and produce.

Mesarski Most – the bridge that has the sculptures and locks.

We made a circle and ended up back at the town hall again:

Ljubljana Cathedral on the back right next to the Central Market.

The door with many faces at the Ljubljana Cathedral.

Near the cathedral, we found a shop that sells cute miniature houses! We bought one blue (my daughter loves blue) and a pink one!

Last of its famous bridges: The Dragon Bridge!

We already browsed the old town and had plenty of time left so we decided to take the funicular up to the Ljubljana Castle. The castle ticket including the roundtrip funicular was €16 per adult.

Instead of one big castle, there are many different buildings that is a exhibition, a museum, a viewing tower, restaurants, etc. We are not history buffs nor museum types of people so we went straight to the viewing tower. The double helix staircase up the tower:

The views from the tower of the old town below:

The pink church!

The castle complex:

This section used to be jail cells:

A little chapel with an artistic ceiling:

To be honest, it was a waste of €16 per person with not much to see! Jason said now you tried and can tell your readers, haha I save you guys some money 😀

Back down to the old town again…

I like this view, it has the beautiful university building on the right side while the castle on the background.

The castle on top of the hill:

Lastly, the Vurnik House with bright colored mosaic tiles around its windows.

It was still early before our dinner reservation at Valvas’or at 7 PM so we headed back to the hotel to take a break.

The restaurant was fully booked so luckily I booked in advance. We chose the multi-course “Surprise Me” menu. The only thing the waiter asked is do we prefer fish or meat. I told him that I am not a huge fan of raw seafood unlike Jason and we love foie gras. He said he’ll let the chef know and they delivered!!!

First was an amuse-bouche of a crispy tart with tasty cream.

Second was foie gras yay with a yummy fruity jam. The texture was pate.

Third was two pieces of salmon sashimi and fish eggs. I am not a raw seafood person so Jason can have double.

Fourth was foie gras again but pan-seared, it was so smooth, creamy, melt in your mouth!

Fifth was cuttlefish ink spaghetti. We had cuttlefish ink spaghetti before in Venice but this was better!

Sixth was sour ice to refresh our taste buds; we took a bite only as it was so sour.

Seventh was the steak grilled perfectly, it was juicy and tender.

Eighth was the lava cake and ice cream, those were so good!

It was the best meal of this trip! The cost of this excellent fancy dinner? Only €137.80 what a great deal it was! If anyone asks me what I like about Slovenia, I will say the great and affordable food! I wasn’t expecting good food at all in any landlocked countries in Europe (well Slovenia is mostly landlocked except a little bit of coast squeezed in between Italy and Croatia) as they tend to be very heavy meat or cheese-based, we were very surprised!

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