Postonja to Blejsko Jezero: Lake Bled, Slovenia

We set out from the hospital yesterday following Eleanor’s second complimentary nebulizer treatment. Our destination: Predjama Castle. Victor initially complained and said that the castle sounded “too boring.” Eleanor promptly fell asleep in her carseat on the winding road from Postonja out to the hills where the castle lay.

We drove into Predma, which was under heavy construction as it was clearly off-season for cave-castle viewing. New cafés and parking lots and viewing decks were being constructed while the chimneys of much older homes twirled grey woodsmoke up into the valley. We had our ticket from the cave train the day before, and so headed across the drawbridge into the castle. The cold, damp, dark castle. Remind me to never move into a cave castle.

Victor enjoyed the audio that was provided on a device that looked rather like my Nokia handset from 2002, but not as much as he liked the stairs. Fortunately both the stairs and mazelike layout provided ample momentum for five year olds, facilitating our fast visit.

The castle was used primarily for hunting, and, as far as I could tell, for the regular penitence of castle staff in the small chapel. Also, the storage of weapons. The highpoint of the visit: I’m reading a sign in the watchtower about small opening from which to fire arrows and sundry, and also for the deployment of boiling oil or simply manually offing a proximate enemy, through a feature called a “murder hole”… VICTOR GET DOWN FROM THERE!! Victor had adroitly employed his awesome core skills to wriggle up on the ledge and had his head halfway down the murder hole before I grabbed him by the ankle and pulled him out. It was not possible to see how from far below the ground looked up to the murder hole, but it is safe to assume that it was very far indeed.

Victor, on the way out, confirmed that the castle was “pretty fun” and “pretty much like a Lego castle.” We discussed how the knight mannequins did indeed resemble maxifigs (as opposed to minifigs).

“That looks like Eleanor” – Victor

We immediately reported to the bar next to our car for espresso and WC trips prior to our continuation to Bled. The bored barista made our coffee rapidly and without expression. I perused the shelves of traditional Slovenian spirits with some interest. We all gawked at the over the top Hunting Museum adjacent, full of stuffed creatures in various poses of surprise, some hung with tournament medals or labels indicating the date and place of their demise. Eleanor incorrectly identified a few animals. “Look, it’s a flying cat!” Victor exclaimed at the flattened pelt of a large mountain cat, thoughtfully mounted onto what looked like a scalloped felt table runner in an appropriate hunger green. Soon two young men came into the bar to chat up the barista and to purchase local spirits. They all then went outside to smoke and drink the just-purchased spirits together at a picnic table. We ate our lunch in the car and set off for Bled.
The misty cold landscape of Slovenia rolled out before us. Eleanor fell asleep again. Victor repeatedly announced he was bored. I got carsick. Jason puzzled over differing GPS instructions between car and phone while his phone battery dwindled. Family roadtrips at their best.
Victor demanded to know if there was a McDonald’s in Bled. “There are three,” Jason said. As soon as we pulled off we agreed that two Happy Meals were in order. Eleanor had awakened. We pulled into the McDrive where Jason asked, “English… Italiano..?”
Nope, nope. Deutsch? Ok.
Followed by a most amusing order in broken, brave German. “Zwei… Spiele…. Ein für eine…. (What’s girl?? Me: Mädchen. Boy?? Me: ummm can’t remember.) … Ein für wine Mädchen und ein für ein kleinen Herren.”
I was dying. Linguistic amusement at its very best.
We pulled ahead to pay. They handed over the Happy Meals but no straws for the Apfelsaft.
“We need two straws. Two straws!” Jason said. “What is it in German?”
I looked it up on my Google translator app. “Zwei.. Hohenstole? Let’s go with Slovenian… dra slama.”
He tried the German first, no response apart from a puzzled look. The Slovenian was successful and we were on our way.
Bled in the evening was a vision of pink sunset, calm lake and a ring of mountains. We shared a Gluhwein while we watched Victor and Eleanor chase each other around. Live music was on at the Weinachtmarkt, which entranced Eleanor, who asked repeatedly for a piano. The Kinderhotel was everything it promised and more. We will be doing this again.

The hotel hosted a Christmas eve dinner, which thankfully was buffet, and everyone got a flute of something on the way in. 
All in all, a lovely Christmas eve.
  

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