In spite of my crazy schedule on my last trip to Europe, I had planned to make a trip into Triglav National Park while I was in Slovenia. While I did manage to make a couple of trips to Lake Bohinj, my trip into the center of the park was cut short only after driving for several miles up route 206 to find that the entire highway was shut down for an indeterminate amount of time for road repair. But my short trips were more than enough time for me to fall in love with this entire area and it is definitely at the top of my list for my next trip.
The most popular spot in Triglav would have to be Lake Bohinj which is located on the far Southern end of the park in the Bohinj valley in the Julian Alps. Since it was a mere 30 minute drive from Lake Bled I headed over immediately after shooting on both occasions. While my hope to was capture the surrounding alps around the lake, I was thwarted on both mornings by mist and fog. But on the bright side, the fog gave both the lake and neighboring valley a wonderful etherial quality.
As is the case with Lake Bled, the main draw for Lake Bohiinj is a small church located on the Eastern shore of the lake. The bridge spanning the Sava Bohinjka River adds some wonderful architectural interest as it leads the eye across the river to the St John The Baptist Church. The church is visible from the entire Southern side of the lake. My hope was to hike into the hills above the church to get a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding alps, but the low clouds and fog pretty much nixed that idea. Even when the clouds lifted the resulting haze made it impossible to see the mountains behind the lake when shooting West. I settled for several shots of the church surrounded by the fall colors before heading back down the Bohinj Valley.
After doing a bit of research, I found that according to legend, God was giving land to various people and as he finished, He realized that he had forgotten about a small group of people who were silent and did not insist like the others. Because of their modesty and patience, he felt pity for them. That is why he decided to give them the most beautiful land of all, which he set aside for Himself. It is called Bohinj because “Boh”is their name for God.
So I suppose it was apropos that I drove through the nearby village of Bitnje on a Sunday morning, and as I got out of my car with my camera, church bells began pealing as the sun broke through the mist. I remember my first thought was that if I had died and gone to heaven I definitely would not mind spending an eternity here. As the mist began to rise, it revealed a gorgeous valley surrounded by the Julian Alps.
As I left the Bohinj Valley, I eventually made my way around to the North side of the park. As I drove up highway 201 through a narrow valley separating Slovenia from Austria, I was struck by the sheer size of the alps that were now rising up on my left. I exited the town of Kranjska Gora and began to head up highway 206 into the park. As with many locations throughout Slovenia, the water in the streams coming off of the glacial melt is aqua blue from the limestone and other minerals that had been worn away over time.
After driving a short distance up into the canyon, the road began to climb in earnest. It wasn’t long before the peaks in this section of the Julian alps came into view.
After driving a few more miles, I came across a Russian Chapel that I had heard about from Rick Steves before my trip. Apparently, this particular mountain pass was very strategic during World War I. Russian POWs were assigned to clear the pass but were buried alive in a massive avalanche. The Chapel was built by the Russians to honor the dead and to serve as a reminder of the follies of war.
After passing the Chapel I came across a roadblock. I would have sat there for the rest of the day but one of the folks in front of me finally tracked down a worker who informed us that the road was closed for an indefinite amount of time. So…that was the end of my trip into Triglav.
As I mentioned earlier, you would need several days in order to really explore everything within the boundaries of this incredible park. I had just a few hours and the major artery through the park was blocked so I barely caught a glimpse. But a glimpse was enough to motivate me to make another trip as soon as possible.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!