C A L M.
Something i've been lacking in my life as of late. The insane school weeks, the crazy deadlines, test after test after test, and not having enough time to study for everything.
Pretty much everyone faces the same problems when in college I guess.
Gone were the days I was on my year abroad. Those carefree days where the skies were bluer and the days were brighter (well not literally considering in Singapore you get way more sun). I miss those days with a passion. I miss walking along cliffs, visiting lakes, rowing boats, cruising through fjords, admiring nature, watching sunsets, having 4 seasons, experiencing winter, (Ok I will get to do that in December, but still!) Mostly, I miss not having to worry too much about my academics and obsessing over maintaining my Grade Point Average.
So, in the spirit of introducing a little bit more peace and serenity in my life, I'm sharing some more pictures of my time in Lake Bled, one of the more peaceful places (in my memory).
I loved how my friend and I could just stroll leisurely around the lake, and that would probably take up couple of hours. I think I have some secret-never-said-before-desire to live by a lake. How calming it would be, how Sunday afternoons would consists of family picnics by the lake, watching ducks and swans paddle around the lake.
Perhaps we could even go paddle boating, or boat rowing, or swimming, the activities are endless. If I'm not up for anything, I bet I could just sit on a bench and people-watch the whole afternoon away. Or accompanied by a good book.
Living by a lake, that would be such a dream.
Lake bled, unlike other lakes, has a tiny island in the middle of it. Which you could actually climb up to the top to have a nice aerial view of bled city I presume. While I was in bled, my friend and I didn't have enough time to hop off our boat on to the little island. Or rather, as first time boat rowers, we didn't know how to dock the boat and get off, so intsead of running the risk of capsizing - since we were with all our cameras, phones and other valuables on the boat, we just went around the little island instead.
There is something very calming about watching people row boats, or staring out into the lake and the scenery around. The Mountains and hills behind, the beautiful sky, the blue waters, it is no wonder poets and artists all choose to live by some kind of water body or close to nature.
One thing I greatly enjoyed during my stay in bled was having meals by the lake. The restaurants around the lake have one of the best views, no doubt, so alfresco dining was a must. On top of that, they also had live musical duos playing by the lake, good music, good view, good food, there was nothing more I could have asked for.
Occasionally we saw little robins flying about perching on the ropes near the tables, and flying from one table to another stealing fallen bread crumbs or bread pieces that were given to them by the restaurant diners. How snow-white-in-the-enchanted-forest-esque. The greenery and the blue skies coupled with the chirping birds seems like a scene right out of a fairytale.
If I could teleport right now, i'd probably teleport myself a couple months back, just to enjoy the peace and calmness of lake bled. Perhaps after a nice calm day, i'll have more zest and fight to take on the exam month of November!
I still have more of my trips I'd love to share, and more posts I want to write, but as you probably could guess, I'm in the midst of preparation for finals, and hence the sporadic posts.
I hope you do stick around though, because once finals is over, I'm off to Japan and there would be SO MUCH MORE exciting stories i'd want to share on this blog!
9 November 2015 Lake Bled, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
After visiting many travel destinations, sometimes all you need is a day where you don't visit museums, you don't go on day trips to other places, you just chill out and have a leisure walk around the city. You people watch, you have a nice dinner, you do some shopping/explore a nice park, and then have a good night's rest.
That was what Ljubljana was for us.
Ljubljana was our last stop in slovenia and also our final destination for the whole of our summer Europe tour. After 17 days of non-stop traveling, lugging a 30kg luggage around, exploring new places, with a JAMMED PACKED Itinerary, and after a whole year away from home, my friend and I were both rather exhausted and homesick.
I never expected myself to be the sort to feel homesick, in fact I didn't think I was, not until I got on to my flight home to Singapore did I realise I was actually excited to go home!
Anyway, back to Ljubljana. We arrived in the afternoon and were tired from the heat as well as boat rowing in the morning so after resting for a bit in the hostel, we left around dinner time to walk around and explore the place.
The city centre of Ljubljana is pretty easy to navigate around - although I wasn't doing too much of the navigating because my friend took on that challenge haha! We walked around the main parts of the town, past some dragon statues on the Dragon Bridge, and a couple of interesting bridges.
The most famous bridge in Ljubljana is the Triple Bridge. Located at the centre of the town, it consists of 3 bridges side by side connecting the old town to the newer more modern part of Ljubljana.
We considered heading up to the Ljubljana castle, but decided against it because 1. We were far too lazy to be climbing up steps and 2. We weren't particularly interested in visiting another castle.
Instead we got some ice cream, walked along the bank of the river and did some shopping.
That evening, we headed back to the dorm pretty early to enjoy a nice quiet night.
The next morning, we woke up for our complimentary hostel breakfast, but did not leave the hostel just yet because I, unfortunately, decided to come down with some annoying period pains. Thankfully, the pain subsided after a few hours, and by afternoon, we were out exploring the town.
We passed by a large morning market near the triple bridge and then spontaneously decided we'd love to visit a park.
Looking on the map, there was a park located about a kilometre away from the main city centre and so we began walking there.
As expected of a typical day in the park in summer afternoon, the sun was warm, the weather was nice, and the park massive with so much green everywhere. We passed by a few cafés - sadly most of them were closed - and also saw a glass house. We tried to see if we could enter, but it was closed too.
Near a pond in the park was a pretty patio with a café that was also closed. We weren't looking for food at that time, so that didn't bother us too much. We just continued taking photos near the pond and of the hanging light bulbs and wooden floors.
What I WoreTop: Primark
Shades: Bought at a street side store in Ljubljana
We went from admiring one pretty flower to another, and hopped from resting on park bench to another. One surprising discovery I made was that at certain park benches, THERE WAS FREE WIFI. Only at certain specific park benches though, which I found really odd, but was pleasantly surprised!
After about and hour in the park, we started craving for some ice-cream because of the summer heat.
So we began our hunt for a café in the park that happened to be open on a Sunday afternoon.
Instead of finding an actual café we spotted some really unique park statues and more pretty flowers. In the end, we settled for Ice-cream at a regular ice-cream stand.
That evening, we went back to the old town for dinner, and ate at one of the restaurants along the stretch of the old town.
Even though there were no cafés in the park, the old town was, thankfully, was a place we could spend the evening at. Even though the shops were closed, there were families out having and early dinner, or tea break, kids eating ice creams, and several food places were opened.
It wasn't crowded, neither was it completely empty and lifeless.
Even after over a year in Europe, there are times where I cannot wrap my head around the fact that shops close on Sundays.
Growing up in Singapore, shopping malls, food courts, restaurants etc. are always operating as per normal on a Sunday, which makes it so much easier to go out. In fact, when I was living in London, it was pretty much the same. So whenever I visit other european cities/countries, I always forget that places are usually closed on a Sunday, and get caught with no food and nothing to do - happened on one too many of my travels to be honest.
But after a year of visiting different cities in Europe, my friend and I were pretty much used to the fact that there wasn't much to do on a Sunday (hence why we chose to go a park!)
Even with no intention of planning our day, we subconsciously realised that one shouldn't opt to go to a museum or go shopping on a Sunday ;)
21 September 2015 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Row row row a boat, gently down the streammmm~
I've always wanted to sing it out loud whilst rowing a boat. Don't we all?
When we learnt this song at the age of 4 or 5 we always had accompanying actions mimicking boat rowing. Prior to this experience, I've never had the opportunity to row a boat in my 21 years of living, but in my head, boat rowing feels like it would be a calming, and therapeutic activity.
Just 2 months ago I was on my summer trip in Europe, and my friend and I got the opportunity to ROW A BOAT! We jumped at that chance, and it is now one of the most memorable times I've ever had!
As we were walking around Lake Bled the first evening we were there, we saw people rowing boats around the lake, and so, on the 2nd morning, we got up early, had breakfast at one of the cafés around the lake and then went on to rent a boat.
I expected there to be some sort of a mini lesson, but the guy just took the 15 Euros we gave him, helped us on to the boat, untied it from the dock, told us to unhook the paddles, and shoved the boat out into the lake.
That was it. We were stranded on the boat in the middle of the lake. Our 1 hour of free-rowing time began just like that.
Of course, instead of freaking out, my friend, who offered to begin rowing first, was on it with figuring out how to work paddles.
Since my friend agreed to take on the paddles for the first half of the ride, you can tell I was very much chilling and enjoying being rowed by on the lake as she began struggling to get used to the paddles - some friend I am eh? haha! After fumbling around with the paddles for a bit, my friend got the hang of it, and we were rowing smoothly on the lake. We rowed, had our own competitions trying to row faster than other boats, stopped occasionally to watch other paddle boaters, and took a bunch of photos.
The water sparkled under that bright morning sun, it was pretty much your ideal morning!
After about 15 to 20 minutes of rowing, we reached the Bled Island - a small island in the middle of Lake Bled. We considered attempting to dock our boat, tie it and hop out on to the island on our own. However, as we got closer and closer to the island, we chickened out. We figured, judging by how long we took to row, how inexperienced we both were with paddling boats, and more importantly how MUCH is at stake if we capsize - our camera, our bags, our... life? We decided to go around the island instead.
After going around the island, it was time for me to take on the paddles. We spent an awkward fearful couple of minutes attempting to switch positions (because one could only row the boat if they sat at that spot) and now I was the one fumbling around trying to get used to the paddles.
The thing about paddling with 2 paddles is that IT IS SO HARD TO CO-ORDINATE!
My hands were going at different speeds and just bumping into each other. After some tries, I realised I could use my body weight; I had to lean back to pull the paddles further back, and not whack my own legs, I kind of got it.
What I Wore
Shorts: SheIn (or SheInside)
Eventually, I got used to paddling and began rowing faster, surprisingly, with the help of the winds, the boat moved pretty quickly, but rowing for a while, we realised we were heading back a little too quickly and we still had more time before the hour was up. Plus, at this point, my arms were kind of tired, and we just floated along the lake for a bit.
One discovery I made is that controlling the amount of energy exerted in each paddle is so important. My right arm is significantly stronger than my left, and so every time I pulled the paddles, the boat heads in the slanted direction. It was so tricky to get it to go straight!
By the time it hit afternoon and the sun was radiating intense heat from above, it was time for us to head back to the boat hut. I steered the boat towards the docking point, bumped a few things along the way, and my friend and I were helped out of the boat by the same guy.
That ended our 1 hour virgin experience with boat rowing, and boy were we hungry and thirsty. We headed to a café overlooking the entire lake, and enjoyed some cocktails with a great view.
I must say boat rowing is NOT as easy as people make it seem. Some people just do it so effortlessly. Sometimes when other boaters zoom past us, it felt as if the paddles were an extension of their arms. There was not awkward going in the wrong direction, neither was there any fumbling or bumping of arms and legs. But trust me, it isn't that easy!
Still, if I get another chance to row a boat in the future, IM TAKING IT! Perhaps I could attempt paddle boarding too - the paddle boarders looked like they were having a great time!
All in all, it was so much fun self-navigating the boat. Especially when we got to floating in the middle of the lake (and not paddling). It really is as calm and therapeutic as one would imagine!