Over the past couple of years I have looked at a huge amount of photographs as I study the work of other photographers and try to understand what they have done, how they have done it and why I like or don't like it. One pleasing side-effect of this process is that I start to become somewhat familiar with many different destinations despite never having been to them myself. This familiarity then fuels my desire to visit those places which look like they would provide most interest for me, and for my camera.
One of the places which most quickly became familiar to me in this way is Lake Bled in Slovenia. A small island sits in the middle of this beautiful mountain lake and the catchily named "pilgrimage church of the assumption of Maria" occupies almost every square metre of the island. The resulting views give a real fairytale feeling such as you can also experience when looking at Neuschwanstein castle or the Maria Gern chapel.
Slovenia must be one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and although I have only visited twice it is already one of my favourite destinations. It is far enough south to enjoy significantly warmer weather than Finland, it has magnificent mountain scenery (the Julian Alps and the Karawank mountains) and it also seems to pack a large amount of natural wonders into a very small area. Once again the flights are also very convenient from Helsinki, the flights are about 2.5 hours and the departure from Helsinki is a bit after 0800 (allowing a pretty full day on arrival) and the return leg is in the mid to late evening (allowing a pretty full departure day).
Compared to the Garmisch trip I was quite lucky in two important ways. The first and most important one was with the weather which was simply beautiful. Warm and sunny days with some interesting sunset and sunrise colours on more than one occasion, I could not ask for more. The second positive improvement was in the rental car. As I am without salary until further notice I am trying (not often very successfully) to be conscious of places where I might save, and the rental car selection is one of those. I booked the most inexpensive car I could, "Ford Fiesta or similar", which cost the princely sum of €86 total for the 4 days. I had specified that it should be an automatic gearbox and it turned out that this detail was crucial. The only automatic that they had available when I arrived at the rental car office was a 2 litre BMW X4, so had to reluctantly accept that as my "Ford Fiesta or similar" 👌😁
During the trip I visited the spectacularly situated church of St Primus at Jamnik, the waterfalls at Sum and Savica, the gorges at Mostnica and Vintgar, the Vrsic pass, the Soca river and the beautiful Lake Jasna as well as spending some time at lake Bled.
A fantastic trip with a huge amount of highlights packed into 3.5 days.
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