Read, Write, Run, Roam

Slovenian Church on Sunday: Lake Bled’s Church of the Assumption


Though I may not be a fan of most castles and fairy tales, there’s always an exception to the rule. Mine is Lake Bled.

Lake Bled looks just like this in real life: completely, ridiculously beautiful. It’s clear glacial lake surrounded by a castle, a wooded path with horse-drawn carriages, and alpine mountains. In the middle of the lake, the Church of the Assumption rises from a tiny green island. The church can only be reached by a special rowboat called a pletna.

Lake Bled is so pretty and surreal, I was half-expecting to see leprechauns offering rides to the church on unicorns. When that didn’t happen, we hopped on a pletna for 12 euros per person roundtrip. We were thinking of being cheap and renting our own rowboat, but we were glad we didn’t. The island is surprisingly far from the dock area.

Once we arrived on the island, we walked up 99 steps to the church. It’s said that grooms carry brides up the stairs to prove their “fitness” for marriage. I decided Muz had already proved his worthiness by giving me a year-long sabbatical, so we all walked up and entered the church for a small fee. The church was pretty, but nothing special compared to the other churches I’ve written about. Its most distinctive feature is the bell that sits in the center of the church. Guests are allowed to ring the bell and make a wish.

There are oddly specific instructions on how to make a wish:

What happens if I ring it 4x?

We rang the bell, perused the gift shop, and made our way back down to our pletna for the return trip home. If I get my wish, this won’t be the last time I see Lake Bled.

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One response

  1. tina

    One exceedingly warm September, a friend of mine took her kids out of school for one last swim at Bled. We adults stripped down naked and swam out to the island, but because our clothes were on the shore, we couldn’t get out. Three visits later, I still have not seen the church properly. Next time!

    Lake Bohinj is lovely, too. And far less touristed than Bled in summers.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

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