The first time I planned an international trip with a friend, I realized on the way to the airport that my passport was expired. I eventually made it on that flight, though I’d like to think that I’m a bit more responsible now than I was in the 90s.
Since then, a lot has changed in the world, but nothing has shifted our reality like technology. I’ve been thinking about it a lot during this trip. We are currently in a very touristy town called Bled, where there’s a beautiful lake, with a castle on a cliff above and an iconic church on an island in the lake. Beforehand, I looked at lots of blogs and photos online, and now I can confirm that, yes, it’s as beautiful as everyone said it would be.
Other tourists have also figured that out. Even though Slovenia is a tiny country, with only 2 million people who live here, this town is packed with tourists.
To be honest, I read lots of blogs, but I was worried about all the chances to read other people’s trips. I was worried it would ruin the sense of adventure that makes travel so fun. It didn’t.
Yesterday we set out with bikes that we borrowed from our hotel, to bike around the lake. On the way, of course, we stopped for more photos.
Then, we saw a sign for the castle on the cliff. Even with GoogleMaps, we couldn’t totally figure out the route, because, as it turns out, the path we selected was closed. We ended up meeting a nice Slovenian couple who helped us navigate the path (even around some fences and construction equipment). At the castle, the couple even got us in without paying the 10 Euro fee, heading straight for the restaurant where we spent our money on a lovely castle-top meal instead. The views were stunning.
The other tourists didn’t matter. We ended up sampling honey in a shop, and chatting with this guy works in the print shop. For 8 Euros, he’ll help you make yourself a souvenir using old school printing methods. Instead, we just hung out and chatted, and I made him a balloon crown. Much more fun!
We eventually got back to our hotel, where we traded in the bikes for our rental car, and headed out with our friend GoogleMaps. When we hit another closed road, this time we re-rerouted into tiny narrow roads in residential neighborhoods.
The adventure getting to Vintgar Gorge was as interesting as the destination.
And then we arrived at Vintgar Gorge, which again, lived up to its hype. The paths were beautiful and the water was so clear.
It was a great day, and I’m grateful for all the blogs I read before, and all the benefits of offline maps. I still feel like I got a chance to discover these beautiful spots, just in a different way than the days of traveling without technology.