A perfectly crisp autumn morn sees us bid farewell to the mesmerisingly lovely Lake Bled. It’s another place, as I find with my favourites, where it would be easy to prop and lose a week or two, simply “being”. A walk around the lake each morning, a debate over where to have lunch, an endless quest to catch the beauty of the mercurial afternoon light. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
We’re not going far: some 7 km away lies the Vintgar Gorge.
It, like Lake Bled, is a result of the last Ice Age.
Not directly the work of glacier in this instance, but the glacial rerouting of a tributary of the Radovna river to higher ground where it formed a lake. Flow from the lake’s lowest point, helped along by the force and speed that a huge discrepancy in level between the two areas, created the gorge. It carved out a 1.6 km path through stone ranging from 50 to 100 metres deep.
It’s clearly a very popular attraction, being the most visited gorge in Slovenia.
Very helpfully, there are well maintained walkways from start to end which culminate in a 13 metre waterfall.
Despite the throng of hikers, it’s a peaceful place, the only sounds being the rush of water and an occasional bird. Brown trout rule the waters here: we see so many that we lose count.
The gorge offers a little something for everyone: still waters, raging rapids and interesting rock formations in an ever-changing landscape. The water is a kaleidoscope of colour and movement. It’s quite beautiful.
At the end, the waterfall thunders down.
We’re lucky enough to spot a white throated dipper performing his little bobbing dance as his went about his birdy business. Too far away for a clear shot, I was rather fascinated to see him take to the water to swim a short distance between two rocks – this is not a water bird.
The walk back is even more peaceful. It’s late afternoon and most of the hikers have gone. The light’s different again, highlighting the layers of rock strata.
Our day is almost done, we drive on a little further and spend the night by the river Sava, a popular spot for rafting.