I booked a day trip out of Ljubljana today. This morning took me to Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinj. The one final stop after that generally receives top billing in tour books. And it is Slovenia’s most visited sight. But that’s for this afternoon’s post. Wait for it.
I didn’t know when I booked it, but it was a small-group tour, only five customers including me. The van we rode in could have accommodated only three additional passengers.
To be honest, I prefer somewhat larger groups. Not huge, but somewhat larger.
The thing is, I’m not a people person. I never developed the gift of gab, particularly gabbing with strangers. Why should I? Gifts are supposed to be given freely, not developed by the person who gets them. That’s work, not a gift.
I like somewhat larger groups because it’s easier to remain anonymous. There are plenty of people for other people to chat with. They don’t feel the need to drag me into their conversations. Perfect. It means I can keep to myself, without being excessively rude. To my mind, a little rude is fine. But I fear that if I’m excessively rude, the Canadian government will strip me of my passport.
In addition to the guide/driver (I’ll call him Rocco, which I think is phonetically close), today’s group included a Canadian (me), an Australian couple, a woman originally from Mexico but living in Prague for university, and a woman from Los Angeles.
Thank the Tour God for the woman from Los Angeles. She did say her first name. And, surprisingly considering my memory, I remember it, but under the circumstances, I won’t repeat it here. Instead, I’ll call her LA.
LA sat up front, beside Rocco. LA didn’t so much have a gift of gab as a trove of gab.
She would have chatted with the Rocco nonstop during the drive to the first stop had Rocco not interrupted their conversation every so often to give his spiel. (He wore a microphone headset and a speaker strapped to his headrest projected his spiel to the two back rows.)
When we got close to the first stop, Vintgar Gorge, Rocco told us that he’d drop us off at the parking lot, we’d walk through the gorge on our own, and he’d drive to a parking lot on the other side of the mountain to pick us up on the other end of the gorge.
Oh, joy. Oh, bliss. LA wouldn’t have Rocco to direct her chitchat at. I beseech you Tour God, blessed be You, have mercy upon me.
In a word, Vintgar Gorge is breathtaking. In two words, it’s spectacularly breathtaking. Words can’t do it justice. At least, my words can’t. I think you have to be a poet to accomplish that. I didn’t get a poetic license and I think they’re strict about that here.
But I’ll do my best to describe Vintgar Gorge without trespassing on poetry.
A river cascades through the gorge, roaring as it rushes over rapids for much of the way. (Alliteration doesn’t qualify as poetry, does it?)
At one point, the river widens slightly and there seems to be fewer rocks on its bed. There, the river quietens to barely a dull roar rather than a stimulating roar. That lasts for only a brief stretch before the river resumes its raucous roaring cacophony.
The scenery is amazing. Hence the spectacularly breathtaking designation above. The gorge wends between two mountains, as gorges tend to do. The mountains rise up sharply on both sides.
Trees and other vegetation make it a very green gorge. And at one point, the river drops over a short, but powerful waterfall. Beautiful, belle, bellisima, lijep. (Google Translate tells me lijep is Croatian for beautiful.)
I took a lot of pictures while walking through the gorge. I saw a beautiful spot and snapped a picture thinking, nothing’s going to top this. Then I walked another few steps and saw even more beautiful scenery. That happened a few times. I posted only a selection of the shots here.
Vingar Gorge Trail
Most of the trail through Vintgar Gorge consists of sturdily constructed boardwalks with equally sturdy railings. The boardwalks are anchored to the side of one of the mountains, but not always the same side. They’re not terribly high above the mountain’s base.
Thanks to the sturdy boardwalks and, particularly, the sturdy railings, my acrophobia triggered for only a few seconds during the more than hour-long walk through the gorge. And even then, it was mild.
It’s not the fact that the boardwalk wasn’t that high above the base that kept my acrophobia in check. The first step on a step ladder triggers it. But a substantial barrier between me and a tumble is enough to prevent the panic. I experienced no such panic on the walk.
At a few points, the boardwalk became a bridge crossing the river. As a testament to the construction of the boardwalk bridges, I remained acrophobia-free across them.
Where the park people could cut a trail right on the ground, they did so. At those points, the trail floor was either concrete or hard-packed soil and stone. Not a challenge at all.
The last part of the walk to the parking lot where Rocco met us took me on a small road through pastures where cows grazed. One wore a cow bell. I don’t know why only she had to where that thing. Maybe she misbehaved and it was punishment.
Throughout the walk, LA said barely a word. Maybe she had a thing for Rocco and didn’t want to talk to the rest of us. Maybe that’s why Rocco mentioned his wife and kids a few times.
After we left Vintgar Gorge, LA resumed her chatter as we proceeded to …
Lake Bohinj, a mountain lake, is also beautiful. It’s not as frenetically magnificent as Vintgar Gorge, but it has a peaceful allure to it. To top it off, just as we arrived at the lake, a rainbow arced into it. Perfect.
We parked near the end of the lake where a river flows out of it. A charming stone bridge crosses the river. And a quaint church sits just beyond the bridge.
Well-treed mountains surround the lake giving it a peacefully dramatic appearance, if that makes any sense.
We didn’t have as long at Lake Bohinj as at Vintgar Gorge, but I very much enjoyed the stop.
Sorry, as much as I liked it, I don’t have more words on it. Enjoy the pictures.
I adopted a custom on this trip of publishing two posts a day rather than one, unless the day’s activities advised against it. As part of that custom, I said a few words about lunch at the end of each morning’s post.
I won’t do that today. I had lunch at our final stop of the day and I want to keep you in suspense. Please come back for that.
No one asked, but you might wonder why I talk about lunch, but not supper.
For one, for the most part, I enjoyed lunches here, in no small part because I usually lingered over them more than is my custom.
It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed leisurely suppers on this trip too. In fact, I’ve had at least a few wonderful suppers.
But I type most of the afternoon post on my phone while waiting for menus, food, and bills to arrive at dinner, and between some bites so I don’t wolf down my food.
I usually finish the words by the end of dinner. I don’t publish the post until I get on my computer back at my hotel because there are some issues with inserting images from my phone rather than from my computer. Plus, I like to reread the post before pushing the publish button.
So I could theoretically write something about dinner back at my hotel before publishing the post. But the thing is, after supper I’m usually too tired to write anything more. Now you know.