Little did we know back in March when we decided to go on our little trip that someone would hijack our well laid plans! So obviously attention seeking, Sam and Tabitha decided to get married in Lake Bled in Slovenia in mid August. Cue untold excitement and all sorts of panic but amazingly everything worked out perfectly.
Slovenia then! Where’s that exactly? Sort of West from where we are before turning left and you’re right there. That’s what my friend Othmar told me anyway.
So hired a car from Graz, Othmar kindly ran us in to collect, panicked a little about driving on the right, took a wrong turn after 4 minutes driving, had no idea what the speed limits were, but headed off for Lake Bled. Fabulous journey through mountains and lakes with incredible views coming at a rapid rate of knots. Got the left turn ok and passed through the 5 mile Karawanken Tunnel (Karavanški predor in Slovenian). Easily made Bled in two and a half hours from Graz and negotiated what looked like pedestrian roads and footpaths on our way to his Airbnb lodge.
We were so pleased to see them both after 11 weeks away and after one or two cuddles and a lot of chat we got parked in their little place. Little? Seriously? Apparently there are only two private residences on Lake Bled and this was the second, after the President of Slovenia’s pad next door. They were staying in a beautiful wooden lodge in the grounds off a huge mansion on the edge of the lake, unbelievable setting.
We spent the afternoon swimming and canoeing from their very own private jetty which was absolutely brilliant even though Tabitha did make me fall out of the canoe twice. Getting back in was a supreme task involving banging my head, falling back in countless times, beaching myself like a whale, and generally looking like a complete wally. They all thought it was hilarious obviously. The day finished with us wandering into town for a lovely evening of pizza and beer. Just so nice to have them all to ourselves for the day.
Early start next day for more swimming and then a lot of shopping for all the food and drink required for the post-wedding celebrations. The rest of the family were due to arrive late afternoon so we had another nice day together before meeting them all. Once again it was incredible to see Shaun, Katie and Ryan after such a long time (even though we’d seen Ryan in Munich, which you should know if you’ve been keeping up). Tabitha’s parents and brother Gary, his wife Tasha, and his little girl Lily-May made up the select group of guests so it was lovely to see everyone together. Quick check in to the Pension Pletna for the Ringwoods, followed by yet more swimming in the lake (we love swimming) and then a night out at Bar Bled for a few beers and wine’s ready for the big day.
As we all went off in our different directions; Sam and Tabitha to their wooden lodge, The Duffield family to their hotel, the Ringwoods to the Pension Pletna; the excitement was building and none of us could wait for the wedding day to start. (click on the image below to see what happened on the wedding day).
After such an incredible day it could have been a bit of an anti-climax the following one but we’re made of sterner stuff than that. The whole family got down to the Lake for some more swimming and messing about in the water before Sam and Tabitha arrived via canoe with a huge picnic. Shaun supplied the beers and we had a fantastic lunch on the grass together. Even Tabitha’s parents, Nigel and Patsy arrived from their hotel to enjoy the feast.
Even more exciting though was the thunderstorm that suddenly descended as we finished and as all the other visitors and tourist ran for cover there really was only one thing to do ……….. we all jumped in the lake! Amazing swimming in the pouring rain with thunder and lightning moving closer and closer. So exciting. Sam and Tabitha loaded up the canoe with leftover supplies and disappeared across the water as the weather started to get worse and we all said our goodbyes just in case they didn’t make it.
They luckily did make it across and we arranged to meet up for another evening out. A bar maybe? Few beers and the odd wine perhaps? Obviously. So after a few rounds at the cheapest bar in town with the greatest view (£21 for 10 large beers and 6 glasses of wine) we had one of the best ever pizzas four storeys up on a terrace in the moonlight. Tabitha’s family joined us Ringwoods for a quick drink mid-pizza which was great, bringing us all together again.
Last day’s are always tough aren’t they? Sort of hanging around and just waiting to go, killing time. We drove up from our pension to the big hotel late morning where the airport taxi would pick up from. A little walk, a few drinks and some champagne, a lot of ice cream (particularly on Katies dress), and it was time to say goodbye. Very emotional after such an amazing time but we knew we’d be seeing the boys and girls in a couple of weeks time so it was easier.
Once again we were left with Sam and Tabitha all to ourselves for a few hours and made the most of it. They are such good company and we enjoyed a beautiful little stroll and a late lunch with them before we had to say goodbye. Pretty tough as it meant the end of the Wedding weekend for us but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world and will remember it forever.
Bad weather followed us back to Graz but we made it ok with lots of wonderful memories and a ridiculous amount of photos.
12.8 – 16.8.2015