Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

I woke at 5:45am – plenty of time to get ready, shower, and pack up my things. I checked out of my hotel and got to the bus stop at 6:20am. The bus came pretty close to on time, and after paying to check my large backpack again, I got a row to myself in the back.

The bus arrived in Zagreb around 9:30am. Instead of trying to figure out public transportation to the train station, I just paid the $10 for a taxi, something I have a bad habit of doing. Sometimes its just worth the money to not deal with the hassle of carrying your bags any more than you have to. The taxi cost about $10 and I bought my ticket for the 12:30pm train to Bled.

Train ticket counter in Zagreb. Be sure to notice international tickets are only available in counters 10 and 11.
First hand written train ticket I’ve ever gotten. Cost from Zagreb to Bled: 173 kuna or $30.33
Outside waiting area
I spent my time waiting for the train by doing some sketching on a park bench. It was cold – glad I brought this jacket. No pants though – that could be a mistake in Slovenia where its in the 40s at night. 
It wasn’t anything special, but at least the proportions were correct. Next I need to concentrate on doing it in pen and using different hatching techniques. 
The train was right on time and I grabbed a compartment with two guys from New Zealand and Germany. The ride went pretty smoothly, but was interrupted by the border control and ticket agents at least 5 times. At least I got some more stamps in my passport. I spent the ride falling in and out of sleep, then sticking my head out the window once we get to Slovenia.
I arrived in Bled at 4:00pm to overcast skies and on the verge of rain. It’s forecasted to be like this for the next couple days and then clear up for Friday and Saturday. Oh well, I’ll have to make the best of it.
Once again I used a taxi instead of figuring out the buses. Slovenia is on the Euro and its a little bit more affluent than Croatia and Bosnia, so things cost more here. A 3 mile, 15 minute taxi ride costs me €15, or $20, where as in Bosnia, it was less than $5.
Bled train station
The taxi drops me off at the wrong hostel and he leaves before I figure it out. I know I was close though, but I have a hard time finding it. I finally (stubbornly) ask for directions and then check in to a 4 bed room. No picture of the hostel yet, but I’ll take some before I leave.
I decided to walk near the lake to get my orientation. I walk past this building and after looking at the apparel in the front windows, I immediately know what it is.
A hockey rink!
They had a practice session for some young kids so I watch for a bit and take some videos. It was pretty neat hearing the coaches giving instructions in Slovene. Ice hockey isn’t huge in Slovenia, but there is one famous player: Anže Kopitar. He plays for the Los Angeles Kings and won the Stanley Cup with them in 2012. Either way, it was an interesting and unique thing to see.
I then go into a casino to exchange my kunas for euros, one of the only places you can do this after 5pm. Despite the attractive top-heavy waitress, it was mostly empty and extremely quiet. I guess it picks up during the summer tourist season, which I just missed. I continue walking and climbing the steps to Bled Castle, but most of the sites were closed so I decided to go back another day. 
Bled Castle on the top left
Bled has some neat looking trash cans! 🙂

I grabbed an early dinner at a Chili (singular, no ‘s’), a mexican restaurant. Despite my expectations, it was actually pretty good!

I then stop by an ice cream place and get two scoops: strawberry and lime.

€2.20 – again in Bosnia this would have cost less than half of  that!

I finally get back to my hostel and drop my clothes off in a bag for laundry (€10). They say it will be ready in the morning, but no idea if that means 8am or 11am. I read through the guidebook trying to figure out what to do tomorrow due to the weather and then fall asleep with thunder in the distance and strobes of lightning bouncing off the wall.