Going to Bled Island on Pletna Boat Day 2 3pax Family Holiday in Slovenia 15-21Sep2018

took the pletna boat to bled island €14pax return

after checking out, we took the pletna boat from the ferry point next to hotel to bled island €14pax return.

it’s 35mins one way..even the professional oars man was shagged out resting several times during the journey..

walked around the tiny islelet did not enter the pilgrimage church of assumption of mary..

by the way the €2 ice cream on bled island is really good👍

going to bled island

going to bled island

going to bled island

always fun to ride on the waters.

there are 2 ferry points for pletnas. we landed at the back end of the of the island.the pletna man did not collect payment & we pay only on the return journey.

walking round the tiny bled island

view from bled island

wife wanted to enter front the front jetty so we took the coast path to the front.

took some photos of the shoreline…should be osjtrica & osojnica in the background.

up the steps

a few steps to get to the church & the rest area. 🙂

99 to be exact, and the tradition for the groom to carry the bride up 99 steps for the marriage to be consecrated in the church.

up the steps

the pletna ferry point made a good geometrical photo point of interest. 🙂

view of bled island from osjtrica

that was how the bled island & the steps looked like from osjtrica. 🙂

on bled island

of course bled island is another favourite wedding reception location. 🙂

on bled island

son bought some ice cream. very good ones. 🙂

on bled island

pilgrimage church of the assumption of maria

pilgrimage church of the assumption of maria

we took some photos of the prigrimage church of the assumption of maria.

the single-nave Gothic church was built on the island in 1465. Its special feature was the 52 m high free-standing bell-tower made of porous stone known also as buckwheat grain. The church gained its present Baroque appearance in the middle of the 17th century when the Chapel of Virgin Mary and the monumental staircase with 99 stone steps were constructed. Tradition still has it that the groom should carry his bride up all of the 99 steps in order to get married in the island church.

view the other side

& the view from the other side of the island away from bled castle.

returning on pletna boat

then it was time to leave & we took th epletna back to the hotel ferry point & got into our skoa octavia for the next destination, bohinj and mostnica gorge.

c.h.e.f andy


Bled Island

Blejski otok

4260 Bled




The Worst Hotel = Grand Hotel Toplice Atrocious Service & Rundown Floor & Room on 15Sep2018 3pax Family Holiday in Slovenia 15-21Sep2018

Just a word on the atrocious service and the lousy room in grand hotel toplice.

julijana, the restaurant at hotel, has good online reviews.

for that reason my wife booked 1/2 board including a 4-course set dinner & breakfast at grand hotel toplice.

few days before our arrival, wife emailed the hotel to ask the hotel to help reserve for us a table with a good view of the lake because this was for my 60th birthday celebrations. the email was written over an email trail where the hotel replied & confirmed the 1/2 board.

and how did the hotel replied?

the same person who confirmed the 1/2 board on the same email trail replied to say “the restaurant was fully booked and no table was available”!

how could you confirm and make your customer pay very exorbitant 1/2 board rate and then replied that no table was available. it was unnecessary vexing for your customer! luckily we were not the type to be bothered or vexed.

when we arrived at the hotel, and rooms were available for early checked in the same guy (who later identified himself to the person who confirmed the 1/2 board & yet replied my wife that no table was available!) tried to get us to pay additional €30 for early check in.

(that was unusual in my experience though if you want to guarantee early check in then of course you pay for that but usually hotels i have stayed in my lifetime do not ask that when you are at the counter. if they have the room available they just offer to you, especially when this was a very exorbitant room). this though was insignificant & not an issue to us. we didn’t need so we just deposited our luggage.

so we asked about the reservation at julijana restaurant & the really odd reply.

and the guy got the galls to say “i thought you wanted to book another table”. i don’t want to be rude here so i leave it as that.

then of course we ask since the matter of table reservation is cleared up, can he help us get a table with a good view?

and his reply?

o…that is the restaurant. you have to go talk to the restaurant yourself!

of course we have enuf of this guy & we have no time to be bothered with him.

later when we came back to check in at 3pm after hiking osjtrica,

we had 4 pieces of luggage, and the guy & the a young trainee just stood & look without offering to hep us with the luggage.

they really gave incredible customer service training to their crew in this hotel.

and the room?

hotel completely run down, floors were creaky…it was like the “worse stay room-wise” we had in our entire week in slovenia…

of course the location was good & the views were incredible and they have heated indoor swimming pool, and a really great breakfast, and you have to pay for all that. that’s ok.

but hotel service sucks and that was unforgivable!

& later we found julijana was a really good restaurant with excellent dishes & really good service for which we gave a really good tip to the server precisely because the service was genuine with heart & not expecting to be tipped.. 

and of course the next morning-

the front desk was never trained to greet their customers to say good morning!

when checking out –

the same atrocious attitude ignoring customers. this time though the young trainee guy offer to help with the luggage. we acknowledged him but didn’t need his help.

obviously it is better not to train your front desk staff, then at least they behave like normal human beings. lol!

c.h.e.f andy


Grand Hotel Toplice


A Really Good Breakfast Day 2 3pax Family Holiday in Slovenia 15-21Sep2018

breakfast at the terrace

we went straight to breakfast, sat at the terrace, and son joined us shortly on 16.9.2018. ^^

this the same restaurant julijana we had our best dinner inslovenia last evening. 🙂

breakfast semi buffet – cured meats

it was a semi buffet.

there was a huge spread. and high quality stuff.

the cured meats were excellent. there were many variety, different chorizo, salami, cured beef etc

some fish ceviche too

& there were fish ceviche…not sure what? maybe king fish? anyway sweet & tasty.

some pate

& very good tasty, smooth pate.

not sure if it was duck pate, very good but of course not quite the goose terrine of last evening.


& mushrooms & also grilled vegetables like peppers, zucchini etc..

there were all manners of bread & pastry, cheese etc. and nuts which i took a few.

really marvellous buffet.

cooked breakfast – smoked salmon 2 sunny side up

and of course it was a semi buffet.

i ordered smoked salmon. it came with avogado, 2 sunny side up.

good competent, not tops in this department, but then the buffet spread was so good & this salmon was good standard too.


ended with some fruits.

hotel heated swimming pool

wife & son went to swim at the heated hotel swimming pool.

from hotel heated swimming pool

i sat at the swimming pool area & enjoyed the lake scenery outside.

breakfast semi buffet – cured meats

a really scrumptious, satisfying breakfast. among the best i had. similar to the ones we had at docletian palace place at split in apr2018, which i have not blogged yet but will write about later.

c.h.e.f andy

Waking Up to the Serene Beauty of Lake Bled Day 2 3pax Family Holiday 15-21Sep2018

bled castle & reflections on lake bled 

woke up to the serene beauty of lake bled after a good night sleep on 16.9.2018. ^^

view from our room balcony

view of bled castle from our room balcony

bled castle & reflections on lake bled

really glorious view of bled castle & reflections on lake bled.

morning walk & jog around lake bled

wife wanted to walk jog around the lake.

she jogged, i walked la! lol! ^^

bled castle & reflections on lake bled

can never have enuf of the view.

pletna boats ferry point

pletna boats ferry point

we checked out the pletna boats ferry point next to the hotel.

pletna boats fees

later after we had a wonderful breakfast & checked out & placed our luggage in the car, we took the pletna boats €14pax 35mins journet to bled island, what we did not manage to do yesterday.

bled castle & reflections on lake bled

bled castle & reflections on lake bled

walk around lake bled

walk around lake bled

i walked round to the other side of the lake.

wife ran ahead & ran back. we met up & walked together.

horse carts

we saw some horse carts yesterday.

bled castle & reflections on lake bled

looking back at grand hotel toplice

form the other side of lake bled, our grand hotel toplice was prominent on the landscape.

st martin parish church

st martin parish church

we walked to st martin parish church.

inside st martin parish church

inside st martin parish church

& looked inside.

apparently it holds a number of frescoes painted in 1930 by the Prešeren Award-winning artist Slavko Pengov, including one portraying Vladimir Lenin as Judas Iscariot in a depiction of the Last Supper. It also hosts a number of statues by Ivan Vurnik.

st martin parish church form side lane

st martin parish church from main road

we walked round & came to the main road connecting back to lake bled & hotel.

road leading back to lake bled & hotel

& walked back along the lakeside.

bled castle & reflections on lake bled

such beautiful postcard scenery.

bled castle

bled castle standing out on the cliff precipice.

c.h.e.f andy

Scrumptious 4-course Dinner @ Julijana – Our Best in Slovenia Day 1 3pax Family Holidy in Slovenia 15-21Sep2018

4-course set dinner at julijana restaurant

julijana has good online reviews.

for that reason my wife booked 1/2 board including a 4-course set dinner & breakfast at grand hotel toplice.

because of the horrendously bad service & really run down lousy room, we did not expect much of the dinner. basically i was telling my son probably could write off this dinner.

we had a full day staring with rowing on lake bled, a good lunch at mlino, trkking up osjtrica, vintgar gorge & bled castle, so would have been good to settle to a nice dinner.

julijana 4-course dinner menu

& fortunately as it turned out the dinner was scrumptious, every dish was delicious, except for the dessert which are pedestrian, and my tenderloin steak with wrong doneness which was swiftly & politely replaced.

the service was friendly & cheerful, helpful, polite & responsive, exact opposite of the front desk manager & staff..heaven & earth it was..to give the hotel benefit of doubt, hopefully the behaviour of the front desk was exception rather than the rule!

form the salad buffet

there was a bread & salad buffet included in the dinner, so we took some.

goose terrine the best!!!

my goose terrine was incredibly delicious, cannot remember a terrine so delicious, so fragrant & flavourful & smooth.

we had some terrine next morning for breakfast, also very smooth but probably not goose so not quite so flavourful.

smoke trout terrine good

smoke trout terrine good

son’s smoked trout terrine also very good. texture was more grainy which maybe more suited to the nature of the dish.

son & i liked the goose terrine better though both were very very good.

tomatoes with mozzarella

wife’s tomato with mozzarella salad very good to…

we all love burrata & mozzarella. it was light & tasty, and good combination with arugula & veg.

creamy pea veloute

i had the creamy pea soup.

i always love pea soup & most creamy soup…tasty & delectable.

fish consomme

son & wife’s fish soup also good.

for me i prefer creamy soup to consomme.

sea bream with clams istrian pasta, spinach

wife’s sea bream with clams istrian home made pasta, with spinach was delicious.

sea bream had crispy skin & sweet. and wife who generally less excited with fishy fish dishes than i was very happy & enjoyed the dish.

the istrian hoem made pasta (which texture was very similar to the scialatielli pasta we had everyday on amalfi coast) was superb, very very tasty even taken plain, i think already infused with really tasty stock!

i do a very good pan roasted snapper myself so i was less enamoured with the fish here.

the fish, pasta, sides & overall dish was very good. 🙂

tenderloin steak rare with chantarelle sauce

son & i had the tenderloin steak.

when we were chatting with the server, we said tenderloin so we should have it rare.

the steak came out medium well. son was ok with it. i took 1 slice, informed the server, showed him the cut meat & he swiftly replaced it.

tenderloin steak rare with chantarelle sauce

the replacement steak was done perfectly, and as it happened maybe incidentally, it was a much larger piece of steak.

tenderloin steak rare with chantarelle sauce

the rare (doneness) was perfect.

& the tenderloin was just so good, sweet, tender, not tough, world of difference from the medium well piece.

though this was such a basic preparation & the restaurant should have gotten it right first time, still the service recovery was commendable.

flambe apricot not so great

son & i took the flambe apricot.

presentation was great taste was ok, apricot was a bit sour. a competent dessert i guess but not really special like the other dinner dishes.

bled cake ok light enough

the menu did not include bled cake as an option.

my wife jokingly said it would be good if we could tried it, & the server produced the bled cake for her.

it was a good cake, light enough. just that we were not very the cake type or dessert type. wife was very happy & told the server “you made my day” and he did! for all of us!

what a difference good service makes!

sea bream with clams istrian pasta, spinach

the menu did not mention any coffee, when we asked the server said he could do that!

we had a very satisfying dinner and relaxing evening, great time to wind down & enjoy good food & company & chat with the server.

we gave the server a very big tip especially because he was just doing his job so well with his heart in it & not really with expectation of tipping.

c.h.e.f andy


Julijana Restaurant, Grand Hote Toplice, Bled