While waiting to move in to our new home in Slovenia, we have been staying in the village of Zgornje Gorje just above Lake Bled. Outside the window of the Studio Špica tourist apartment, we have a wonderful view of the Gorje Parish Church. It is typical of churches in the North of Slovenia, having a whitewashed bell-tower bordered with frescoes, and an ornate rooftop spire topped by a weathervane.
Today is Saturday, and at 7am the loud peal of church bells rang out through the village: ding-dang-dong ding-dang-dong ding-dang-dong for the best part of 10 minutes. The kids had already woken me up, of course, but I don’t suppose there was any chance of a lie-in for anyone in the vicinity. It was a beautiful sound, nonetheless, and I realised I hadn’t been woken by the peal of church bells since my childhood. I used to hear the bells of All Saints Church in Cockermouth on Sunday mornings when I was staying at my Auntie’s house. I used to love that sound. Maybe this is something that’s been lost in a Britain that’s becoming increasingly secular. Here in the North of Slovenia, the Church seems an integral part of daily life, as the bells toll the hour and ring out every evening to summon the faithful to worship.
Inspired by the view
Forgive the pun, but the church with its stunning mountain backdrop has inspired me to find out more: when was it built? Are the bells motorised, or do they have bell ringers? What is the roof made out of? How do you get to the tower at the top, and what is its purpose? I will try to find out more about the churches in the area for a later project. In the meantime, I can recommend Studio Špica if you plan to visit Lake Bled: it’s around a 10-minute drive to the Lake, so you will need your own transport, but it has a wonderfully peaceful setting away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist town. There is a supermarket 2 minutes’ walk away, and the apartment is well-equipped, clean and bright with stunning views as seen in these photos. It is suitable for up to four people as it has a double bed and a double sofa-bed. Guests also receive a 20% discount at the Špica Restaurant in Bled town, which is one of the best in the area and situated right by the lake. It’s a popular haunt of former Slovenian Olympic rowing stars and full of memorabilia commemorating the achievements of the Slovenian rowing team.