Monday, August 28, 2017

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia: Bathing Suit or no Bathing Suit

That was the question as I prepared to leave Ljubljana, Slovenia for a day at Lake Bohinj. 

Most tourists go to Lake Bled but I wanted to head right for wilderness. It is part of the Tiglav National Park.  Should I pack the bathing suit and towel in order to swim, assuming I could find a way to safe-guard the day-pack while I did? What a hassle it is to not have a car or at least a friend to help!

So, I decided to pack light and just walk the wild path around the famously beautiful lake.

I could climb the canyon! Climb beside the water-fall! Have a perfectly marvelous time without swimming… I told myself. Besides, what if the lake was dangerously cold? After all, I had almost collapsed of hypothermia while circumnavigating the waters of Pray Lake in Montana before my concerned partner, Andy, had hauled me out.

But the minute I saw the lake I knew I’d made the wrong decision. It begged it be entered! Look at these happy kayakers!

These paddle-boarders

These gleeful children and relaxing families! The purpose of Lake Bohinj is to be on it or in it! Sure I could see the one local sight of the 1300 AD Church of St. John the Baptist. Especially interesting was his wooden head.

And I could admire the strikingly white limestone boulders along the path. 

And try without success to find the path to the canyon. (Tourist-office guides aren’t always helpful – “Go to the right a little and then try to find the unmarked path in the meadow.”)

The further I walked, the fewer the people and the less the clothes. 

And the more the waters beckoned. They were almost Caribbean in turquoise color with white sandy bottoms – because of the lime-stone. What to do??? Finally I noticed two young women off-shore, looking suspiciously like they could be skinny-dipping. I waited and watched hopefully unobtrusively until they emerged. And yes! Apparently at this distance from the main beach the Slovenian etiquette is that it’s OK to have no bathing suit! But was I brave enough? I explained my shy dilemma to them and like daughters encouraging a cowardly Mother they said, “Just do it!”

So, I did it.  Sort of. 

Down to the underlying sports bra and  black underwear that sort of looked like a bathing suit. I boldly sat in Lake Bohinj. Actually there was no need to do more. Just talk to these fine young women who are working with “asylum seekers” in Germany. And finally when refreshed by the clear cold waters I stumbled out, they lent me a towel and kept a look out so I could change out of the wet clothes.

I don’t really know the point of this story. My timidity?  Depending on the help of others? A baptism of sorts? Or just the knowing that you have to do what you have to do. 
Next time? Pack the bathing suit!

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