The ride from Ljubljana was really punishing, the inclines went on for miles at a time and just when we’d managed to settle into a rhythm some hairpin sharp bends would throw the road into an even steeper ascent forcing us to fall back to our lowest gears.
Arriving at the lake was at first an anticlimax, it didn’t look very charismatic, it was beautiful but not imposing and the surrounding mountains looked flat compared to what we had just ridden through. I wasn’t put off though, I knew this was the flat side of a long lake and I wasn’t going to be disappointed. As we approached the far side the mountains rose up enclosing us against the water’s edge. We sat beside the lake admiring the vestibule created by the calm mirrored surface of the lake at the bottom, mountains and waterfalls at the sides and heavy clouds above, it was as if we were in a cocoon.
Charlie and I took to the surprisingly warm water, I had expected it to be freezing like the mountain streams further north, and began to swim. I’d suggested to Charlie that we should swim to the other side and back, it hadn’t looked far from the shore but as we progressed further we noticed that the other side seemed to be the same distance away. The water was crystal clean, I opened my eyes and watched my front crawl strokes carve through the water ahead of me. If we were going to make it to the other side we would have to swim efficiently and get into a rhythm again, just like the hill climbing on the bikes earlier.
Slowly Ellie shrunk into an indistinguishable pink dot on the beach behind us and the coast ahead edged reluctantly closer. After deftly evading the tourist boat that passed by every 20 minutes or so we arrived at the other side to be met by two surprised topless girls and a puppy that enjoyed licking the water from Charlie’s back. Charlie didn’t want to swim back again and upon the advise of the two girls, who assured us the path around the lake was fine to walk bare-footed, we began our trek back to Ellie and the bikes.
The rocky, uneven and rooty path slowed us down as we hobbled like drunk old men, trying to run but really only managing to ungracefully lurch from one rock to another until we reached the lakes main inlet. The river feeding lake Bohinj was icy cold and over the top a think blanket of freezing mist followed its rapid flow into the lake. We stepped in and recoiled in pain, it was so cold it made my feet ache long after I’d taken them out of the water, we would have to find another way round.