Flashback Friday #41

Back in 2013 I wrote about a trip to Slovenia and the picturesque town of Bled. A place I actually wouldn’t mind revisiting if only for another wonderful Bled Cake!


A Quiet Corner in Slovenia

Bled and its perfectly formed lake located in the Julian Alps is in the Gorenjska region of Slovenia, not far from the Austrian and Italian borders. A lake just the right size for a comfortable stroll around its shores with spectacular views from all sides. We found ourselves there for a week in June 2012 when my OH attended a conference. Not far from the airport it was a quick transfer to the Hotel Golf, an ugly sugar-cube building above the lakeside, which had pluses and minuses.

The plus was a lakeside room with wonderful panoramic views. The minuses included no air-con, a steep climb back to the hotel from the lakeside, poor breakfasts and a noisy bar close-by where the natural amphitheatre of the lake basin amplified the sound.

The 6 km trail around the lake is long enough to take in the views of the island with the Church of the Assumption which demands a climb up the 99 stone-step staircase; visitors should ring the bell for good luck, and a local tradition at weddings is for the groom to carry his bride up these steps. Behind the island the background is of the Karavanke mountains. The castle is perched on the high limestone mass at the north of the lake and you will see the colourful traditional Pletna boats and boatmen who will row you over to the island; swans, ducks and fish swim in glacial waters so clear you can see the bottom. There are convenient benches for you to rest and absorb the beauty surrounding you.

The lakeside town is charming and popular with lovely cobbled streets in the old town, plentiful lakeside restaurants serving the famous Bled cake (kremna rezina), a delicious custard and cream confection, and the lovely neo-gothic St Martin’s Church below the Castle. The castle can be reached up a steep route from the Castle beach, or slightly less tortuous routes by road from behind the Bledec hostel. The castle offers magnificent views and is an interesting medieval fortress, well worth the effort of getting there.

When you are tired of the scenery around the lake you can visit Vintgar Gorge, 4 km north-west of Bled. A public bus will get you there and back. The 1.6 km gorge carves its way through vertical rocks and you alternate between paths and boardwalks alongside the River Radovna and its waterfalls, pools and rapids crossing over wooden bridges. It is a lovely cool place to visit on a hot day.

The Triglav National Park covers almost the entire Julian Alps and offers a completely different experience. Majestic mountains, steep gorges, clear mountain streams and traditional farms. Take an exhilarating and spectacular drive up the hairpin bends of the Russian Road to the Vršič Pass which is on the border with Italy.

Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park

Not only is it special for the views and scenery, but there is a history behind its existence. It was built by Russian prisoners-of-war in 1915 and because the road had to be kept open all year round, prisoners were kept in camps to shovel off the snow. In 1916 an avalanche buried one of these camps killing around 400 prisoners and 10 guards. There is a small cemetery near hairpin 4 and a beautiful Russian Orthodox Chapel on the site of the camp at hairpin 8.


This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Flashback Friday #39

This is a fairly recent post from 2019 about the place where I live in response to a Lens-Artists’ challenge about the word ‘Magical’ posted on my Cornish blog – Cornwall in Colours


My Magical Place

Summer already seems long ago; the year has swiftly embraced autumn. The light is subtly different now. The sun is lower in the sky and shadows are longer and hard-edged. There is warmth in a sheltered spot, but an underlying chill lies in the air like a harbinger of winter.

The country lanes are no less interesting with the hips and haws and berries, wild flowers turning to seed; the bracken copper brown. On a clear day Trencrom hill still affords the most wonderful views to the Celtic Sea in the west and Mount’s Bay in the south.

Last week’s “micro harvest moon” (so named because it is the smallest it has been for a while on account of being at its furthest point in its orbit around the earth) appeared tiny and bright in our cloudless sky. So bright it kept waking me up during the night as it rose around sunset and set at sunrise. By early morning it had changed from being silvery white to golden yellow before sinking behind Trink hill. At the same time I saw the most wonderful saffron sky at dawn on my early morning trip to the bathroom and once again chastised myself for not yet having gone up onto ‘my’ hill to see the sun rise. In contrast the evening skies have been glowing red and orange and purple or more subtle peach and lilac. My favourite time of the year for sky watching is here.  From my magical place. Home.


This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

World Photography Day

World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography.  And this year it is the 19th August.

Lacock Abbey

I thought I’d share some photos of Lacock Abbey once home to William Henry Fox Talbot, polymath and pioneer of Victorian photography, who moved to Lacock Abbey in 1827 and created the earliest surviving photographic negative in 1835, taken of a small window in the Abbey’s South Gallery. Not much bigger than a stamp!

When we visited in late May only part of the building was open, including the north cloisters. I do like a cloister though this one is quite small and the light was challenging.

Flashback Friday #31

In 2014 we took an add-on holiday to Dumfries and Galloway after spending a week in the Lake District based at Keswick. It is not a part of Scotland either of us had visited before, but it turned out to be one of the best holidays we have had.


The Gatehouse of Fleet

The town takes its name from its location near the mouth of the river called the Water of Fleet which empties into Wigtown Bay at Fleet Bay, and its former role as the “Gait House” or “the House on the Road on the River Fleet” or toll booth of the late 18th century stagecoach route from Dumfries to Stranraer, now the A75 road. It was a safe haven along this route, and travellers would often stop in the area rather than furthering the journey at night due to the high numbers of bandits and highwaymen at the time. Wikipedia

We drove a few miles from Kirkcudbright to visit the converted mill ‘The Mill on the Fleet‘ (1788) to have  a look at the art gallery and bookshop and also have coffee and cake on the terrace at the  Tart n’ Tea  café. The most delicious cream choux pastry I have ever eaten.  Cardoness Castle is on the outskirts of the town too and Cally Nursery, which I didn’t get the time to visit.

DSCF8502

Having picked up a leaflet from the Information Office in Kirkcudbright of a Walking Tour of the town I dragged the OH off for a stroll.  I think he’d have quite happily remained on the terrace or in the second-hand bookshop if it hadn’t been closing time.

The Mill and Terrace

Leaving the Mill behind you cross over a pedestrian bridge and through the park to the Riverbank – a housing project built in the 1950s to cope with the overcrowding and poor conditions in Gatehouse. Turning left on to Hannay Street you pass an interesting little Episcopal Church with robin’s egg coloured painted windows.

DSCF8584And on the corner stands the rather dilapidated Ship Inn (previously Anworth Hotel) where Dorothy L Sayers wrote Five Red Herrings. One of the Gatehouse artists of the ’20s and ’30s, Alice Sturrock, also lived along here.

Continue reading Flashback Friday #31

Flashback Friday #24

Just Back From… the Cotswolds was written in June 2013 after a lovely spring break to celebrate the OH’s birthday. Spring was a little late that year.


the old post officeWhen you think of the Cotswolds it is the warm honey-coloured limestone and cute thatched cottages inviting romance and tranquillity that spring to mind and where market towns (formerly centres of the wool trade) have wide squares and streets and are the centres of activity. Brooks and rivers bridged by tiny stone arches  meander through the hidden villages in the rolling hills and farmland where country pubs have flagstone floors, beamed ceilings and inglenook fireplaces with log fires.

You may also think about crowds of tourists and visitors up from London for the day, often on large touring coaches; ancient churches and manor houses; picture-book tea-rooms; expensive antique, retro and vintage shops. You’d be right about all of these things, but there is another side to the Cotswolds to be explored if you look.

The Cotswolds district is mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire with parts of Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset at the edge. It is an area filled with hundreds of small towns and villages that don’t appear on the calendars and book covers or hog the limelight, but are equally attractive. Discover them by driving along the plethora of narrow, winding roads which often provide the most amazing views over the Wolds and the valleys. There are public footpaths, national trails and bridleways galore. Find yourself in a charming and unspoilt village away from the main tourist spots and walk around listening to the birdsong and admiring the chocolate box cottages and striking parish church. In the late spring sunshine, with so many shades of green it is impossible to count, you may stumble across a woodland carpeted with bluebells.

adlestrop laneIn the north of the region take a romantic circular drive from Moreton-in-Marsh to Stow-on-the-Wold stopping at Broadway Tower and Country Park for a picnic with a view, Broadway village with its wide main street, Snowshill Manor with its collection by the eccentric Charles Paget Wade, Snowshill Lavender farm in the summer, and Hailes Cistercian Abbey ruins, a most peaceful spot on the Cotswolds Way. Continue through Guiting Power with the ‘Hollow Bottom Inn’ and the picturesque Lower Slaughter with the tiny River Eye running through it.

There are dozens of lovely homes and gardens for you to visit, some owned by the National Trust, others in private ownership. Some are large estates such as Sezincote or Hidcote and attract the coach parties, others are smaller and often quieter. All are worth a visit.

sezincote

The Cotswolds is a vast region and requires several days to explore it thoroughly. We only touched on a small part in four days; there is a lot more to discover.


This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.