The Hills are Alive

August 24, 2011 - 10:10 pm No Comments

Most of today was spent on the 3-leg, 10-hour trip to Bled, Slovenia, the longest journey of our itinerary. We headed through southern Austria, where the tunnels were impressively long and the mountains and valleys were suddenly majestic. The hills are definitely alive.

Hochosterwitz Castle

It was kind of nice just sit back, relax, and shoot the shit with the rest of the group. We talked photography, and Kirtan and I howled at the Arnold Schwarzenegger prank phone calls.

The Hungarian girl in the seat in front of me had an obnoxiously loud techno ringtone on her phone. It went off four times, and when she answered it, she did not use her inside voice. If I had to guess, I’d say she asked her boyfriend to do something, and he didn’t do it. Or maybe he did something that she didn’t want him to do. Either way, he’s in trouble.

After quick stops in Vienna and a small Austrian town called Villach, we were in Slovenia. We dropped our stuff in some guesthouses and went out to explore.

Walking the Path

Bled is a tiny resort town perched on the small Lake Bled and surrounded by lush, green mountains. Potted geraniums fill every window, and tour operators sell packages for tours of the surrounding area and activities for the lake.

Bled Castle

Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church

Church of St. Martin & Bike

Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church

Bled has that Jackson Hole feel, where it’s gentle in the summer but has the potential to explode with extreme sports in the winter. It’s is a big sports destination, especially for rowing. The lake is being fitted with lane markers and bleachers for the 2011 World Rowing Championships taking place here in a few days.

At dinner, the tipsy mayor of Bled stumbled over to say hello and make some recommendations off the menu.

Before calling it a night, Frank and I took a sunset walk around the charming lake and castle. We stopped for a drink and had a heart-to-heart talk about life and the circumstances that led to each of us coming on this trip. He’s a good guy.

Bled at Dusk

We walked back to our guesthousesand found the landlord sitting on the porch, drinking by himself. In drunk, warbly, accented English, he introduced himself as Jonathan and gave us shots of blueberry Schnapp’s. The night ended with Jonathan whispering to Frank that he’s home alone tomorrow. His wife is “going off somewhere.”

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