The Adventure of Lake Bled Begins. The Pletnars called for a Strike

By | October 15, 2017
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You can take the bus to lake bled from right beside the central train station. Our bus started the journey on time. Soon it reached the country side. Both sides of roads were picturesque with gigantic alpine mountain range, green forest and huge cultivated land. As always I started taking pictures although I wasn’t satisfied of staying in one sides of the bus as sometimes the opposite sides were becoming more scenic. Therefore, I started moving around the bus. Suddenly I noticed one man from the back spotted my crazy behaviour but that didn’t drag me behind.

The bus reached at the Bled within one hour. The weather was dry but bit gloomy. This is when I discovered the amazing Lake Bled where in the centre of the lake “Bled Island” was situated with pride. On the west of the lake the mighty Julian Alps was standing with an absolute authority. This place is the last eastern side of the alpine mountain range. On the Bled Island there was a church called the “Bled church”. Besides the lake there was a sheer mountain where the bled castle was situated. The whole place was very quiet because there was a strike going on among the worker of in this region. The issue for the strike was for their pay rise. That’s still good as unlike our country there was no violence during the strike.

The bled church had 99 steps starting from the lake to all the way to the church. There is a saying about the couple those who wish to marry in the bled church. If the groom carries his bride and climb all the 99 steps of the stairs and finally ring the church bell then their wish will be granted. By any means my wishes has already been granted because finally I came to Lake Bled. I have been planning to visit this place for a long time. And after the hassle of hayfever I was quite unsure whether I would make it or not. But somehow I got inspired with my inner motivations about this place.

I decided not to climb the mountain now and instead started to follow the narrow road surrounding the lake. Because of the strike not too many tourists are present at the moment. Due to the strike, casual tourist boat are closed today. So the only way to reach at the bled island is to hire a rowing boat. Note in Bled, this sort of boat are called the “Pletna” and the boatman are called “Pletnars”.  Personally I cannot swim so hiring a boat and row to the island is beyond my imagination, furthermore, I have the waterfobia. Moreover, I never did row a boat though I did paddle boat few times but rowing was totally new for me. All these facts didn’t really attracted me into this. Anyway, I kept all these thinking asides and continued to walk surrounding the lake.

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While walking I met with an American guy from the Washington D.C. His name was Andrew; a project manager working in an IT company. Like me he was also doing his world tour on his own. Together we shared our funny travel experiences. While talking we finished the whole walking circle of the lake. It was around 3pm by now so I told Andrew I would like to take the next bus to Ljubljana. As Andrew wanted to stay a bit longer so I was going to say goodbye to him and started prepare the leaving process. Suddenly, Andrew spotted the office for hiring the row boat. He asked me whether I would like to hire the boat with him and go to the Bled Island. I said to him I am not really interested because of my inexperience and inability to swim. But he insisted saying he will row the boat. So naturally I thought Andrew knows how to row. Together we went to the office to hire the boat. There were only one woman sitting in the reception. Apart from us there were no one to hire a boat. She gave us the life jackets and two rowing sticks. She said if I want I can wear the jacket but it is by the Slovenian law that the life jacket has to be in the boat. A little bit ironic for me as it should be other way round. If it was in the UK then according to the law life jacket must be wore all the time. But it sounded like health and safety rules are bit soft. In Western Europe health and safety comes before everything. Different region different perception so I can’t complain.

Anyway, I and Andrew came outside to the dockyard with the rowing stick and the woman was carrying the life jacket on our behalf. I and Andrew departed on the boat and I thought she will wait while we wear the life jacket. Instead she threw the life jackets on the boat and pushed to boat to launch it on to the water. I was bit shocked as I though she should have us the time. May be she was thinking on her head that you guys will be fine, nothing to worry. The boat was shaking so bad that I grabbed the boat with my boat hands. If I don’t hold on and instead try to wear the jacket then I will end up in the water anyway. But this was getting worse as it’s only then I discovered Andrew never did row a boat and this is first time too. By now our boat is already 20 yards away from the land, means we have already crossed to point of no return. Andrew was struggling to balance the row both sides. He could figure it out how to synchronize his both hands movement in order to propel the boat in a straight line. I tried to relax myself and told Andrew to stop looking at the end of the row. Instead suggested him to hold the stick strongly and construct an imaginary circle at his wrist’s end. It took him few train and error and later he realised what I suggested. Gradually he improved his rowing skills. It was a long six minutes of tensed moment in our life. Together instead of drowning in the water we survived this time and headed towards the bled island.

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