The following story can be used in the Challenge:Future competition Old Stories 4 New Adventures.
Challenger: Gorenjska region
Story: Alpine wellness
The first visitors to Bled were pilgrims from Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, the Slovenian Littoral, Friuli and Austria who came to see the Church of the Assumption on the island. In addition to performing their religious devotion, they also admired the beauty of the place and attracted an increasing number of pilgrims with their tales of adventure. In addition to these more simple folk, noblemen also visited Bled. Janez Vajkard Valvasor, a local aristocrat and polymath from Carniola, wrote a book entitled "The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola!" in 1689, in which among other things, he reported on the thermal springs at Bled. Due to the arrival of a large number of people who were seeking health and to whom he had to attend to, the castle administrator, Weidmann, wanted to destroy and fill in these springs - fortunately he was prevented from doing so. People continued coming to bath and, as Valvasor said, to regain their health.
Since the springs were not especially warm (23°C), the number of tourists who came to
Bled, not only for the healing waters, but to admire the idyllic landscape increased. The famous English naturalist Sir Humphrey Davy described Bled as "the most beautiful place he had seen in Europe".
The beginnings of intensive tourism date to 1855. A Swiss hydropath named Arnold Rikli was one of the first people to recognise the value of Bled's climate and its advantageous position for a long swimming season. He founded the Institute of "Natural Healing" and introduced a new method of treatment. If he wanted to attract guests, he needed baths, nicely arranged walking paths, excursion points and accommodation facilities. In 1895 Rikli ordered the building of simple wooden Swiss-style baths opposite the then HotelPark (today's Kazina), with a Health Institute in which he had his office, kitchen, dining room and administrative offices. For patient accommodation he also had constructed huts in the chestnut-ringed park, which were a characteristic part of his treatment method. Due to increasing interest among patients, new, larger baths were constructed in 1899. Bathing in the lake and in the baths constituted an integral part of Rikli's treatment method. For this, two cold springs with temperatures of 10°C and 15.6°C were used. He also recommended warm baths and steam baths. In addition, sunbathing on the bath galleries was obligatory. Walks were part of his healing programme. He selected several excursion points in the Bled area and categorised them according to degree of difficulty. At these locations he built courses for bowls and skittles. Rikli maintained strict house rules which all patients were required to observe. Early rising (between 5.00 a.m. and 6.00 a.m.) was followed by walks and physical activity in fresh air. Patients took their breakfasts with them.
To improve circulation, they walked barefoot on dewy grass.
In 1903, Bled received the Gold Medal at a large international exhibition of spas in Vienna, and in 1906, it was officially classified amongst the important tourist spots in Imperial Austria.
For more information please consult:
Rikli’s Walk to Straža Hill
Glamping – wooden camping houses in Camping Bled
Barefoot Walk on the morning dew
Rikli Adventure: Teambuilding in close touch with nature
Gorenjska - Slovenian Alps
STB about Bled
: Eva Štravs Podlogar, email@example.com