You land in a Croatian airport.
You get on a Croatian bus.
While you nap, a mountainous landscape unfolds.
Stop when you see dragons. You need a rest.
It’s late, but there’s more to go. Find a train.
When the language gets weird,
When the decorations get dated,
You have found your destination.
Northern Slovenia, at the foothills of the Julian
First have some breakfast.
Then your tour guide will meet you outside.
We begin in Radovljica.
Go past the decrepit “train station” we came in by.
Down to the farm lands.
Past the danger dog.
Past the danger cow.
Past the danger chicken.
Past the danger donkey.
We leave civilization.
We approach the foothills.
And reach the first of many perfectly clear rivers.
The trout fisherman are already out.
This is the trail to Bled, our first basecamp.
Autumn has just begun, and a yellowish hue tinges the trees.
We go upwards, above the trees, and see our destination in the distance.
The top of the mountain has a barley-and-sausage refill station.
It also has a view.
And a cat.
And another cat.
We head down, past our first of many shrines.
Past our second of many rivers.
Past our second of many fly fishermen.
Past our many of many cows.
There will continue to be cows.
It is the end of plum season, and they live among the dirt.
It is the end of barn season, and they live among the dirt.
Each village contains remarkable homes. This is not a poor country.
Each village contains a handful of shrines.
In inexplicable places.
One village contains corn.
The corn has a view of a shrine.
The corn has a view of a castle on a hill.
Where there is castle, there is basecamp. This is Bled.
This is our hotel room, viewing Bled’s castle.
Bled, as we have established, has a castle.
Bled has a church.
Bled has a car show.
Bled has a Swedish park.
Bled has a toboggan!
Bled has boats.
Bled has Isabelle.
Bled has cheese.
Inside of the church looks like inside of churches.
Inside of the park looks like a castle on a hill.
Nearby the cheese I drop my phone onto a skylight. It’s a whole predicament. There is some climbing.
The grocery store sells Alkoholni Kis.
And that’s enough for one day.
There will be Bled.