Thirty miles north of the capital city of Ljublijana, Lake Bled attracts people from all around the globe. It was a picture of that idilic location I saw two years ago which tugged at my heart and gave me the desire to visit its country.
Half way around the lake's four mile circumference, I sat at the shore and absorbed the views. A long haired man slowly paddled his kayak behind a pair of swimmers, gliding across the crystal clear waters to the island set in the middle of the lake. It is a small island, lush with grenery, and home to a 14th century gothic chapel. It is that chapel which draws people to the alpine village of Bled. The bell from the old church chimed - dong, dong - slowly, but determinedly by a tourist with a wish. That's what the little island's church bell does, they say, grants wishes.
Every Saturday wedding parties will fill the pletna boats, Slovenia's version of a gondola and the traditional way to reach the island, so the groom can carry his new bride up the 99 stairs to the chapel for a wish of their own to be fulfilled.
High up on the cliffs, keeping watch over the entire lake, sits Bled castle. Being first made mention of in the year 1011 AD, it is the oldest castle in all of Slovenia. A small walk through the woods brings you to to a wooden staircase leading up to the castle doors. At night, each step is illuminated, adding to the enchanted feel of the surroundings.