Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed March 16 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | March 16, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Just Pay for a Pletna Captain: Loop-the-Loops on Lake Bled

    Just Pay for a Pletna Captain: Loop-the-Loops on Lake Bled

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    While Slovenia’s Lake Bled certainly looks like it was designed by Walt Disney himself, I have it on good authority that in fact massive things called “glaciers” and “tectonic plates” are behind its creation. These things had to come together in just the right place and sequence for Lake Bled and its fine island to exist.

    People are the ones responsible for the church on the island though. It started out as a shrine to a Pagan god, but then was re-branded to its current Christian form later on, picking up some impressive frescoes along the way.

    Somewhere along the centuries, the island on Lake Bled also picked up a tradition of couples taking a traditional row boat called a pletna out to it, and the man carrying the woman up the 99 steps to the church and ringing a bell, thus guaranteeing that all their wishes would come true.  These pletna boats have now become a symbol for Lake Bled, and you can’t go to this body of water and not take a ride on one.

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    No siree, you just can’t pass on a pletna.

    So, when my buddy and I arrived, we figured we would get ourselves one, and set out for an afternoon on the lake. We weren’t getting married, and no one was going to be carrying anyone up 99 steps, but good times were still going to be had.

    We located a lakeside dealer and were presented with two options regarding our rental. First, for a teeny-tiny additional fee, we could have a professional pletna captain effortlessly escort us around the lake.

    This guy probably would have come from a long line of pletna pliers and would know every nook and cranny of Lake Bled like the back of his oar. He would know how the wind affected the boats, and with one thrust of his weathered index finger into the Bled breeze, could determine the best path for the pletna to take across the lake. He would regale us with tales in between rows and generally just be a great human being. He would though, likely, require a small tip.

    The other option was to have two people (us) who had never rowed before in their life guide the pletna. These two people would invariably lead the boat into a stormy sea of comical errors, but they wouldn’t cost anything extra.

    We went with the latter.

    Photo by Worldwide Scott

    It all started out well enough.  We set off from the dock, waved goodbye to the jilted pletna man, got about twenty feet, and then the boat started just going in a circle. We thought it strange, but just went with it for a couple of minutes thinking it would straighten itself out. It didn’t. We stopped, re-calibrated, started rowing again, and still it would just do a donut.

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    I stood up, nearly capsizing the pletna in the process, to look over the side to see if maybe there was something stuck to the side of the boat or if we had a “flat” No. Nope, nothing was amiss, but no matter what we did, the boat kept going around in a circle. We switched rowers. Still the same result. We switched rowers again and nearly fell in the water again. Same result.

    Finally, we embraced it, because if you are going to spend quality time doing loop-the-loops twenty feet from the dock and see the same scenery over and over, you could do much worse than Lake Bled.  

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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