The azure Lake Bled darts in & out of sight as we follow a narrow track leading up to the top of Mala Osojnica, a steep hill in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. The sun outlines a 17th-Century steeple from the teardrop shaped Bled Island in the lake’s centre. Birds chirp in anticipation of dawn & a light breeze sets in from the forest. Lake Bled is for both for recreation & medicinal benefits. Emperor Henry II, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, enjoyed the lake so much that he built the Bled Castle in 1004.
Arnold Rikli was the Swiss founder of a naturopathic & hydropathic healing regimen. Relied on elements of nature (sun, water & air) for treating the body, mind & spirit. The famous Natural Healing Institution on the banks of the lake. A combination of everything – pleasant weather, walking trails around the Julian Alps, panoramic views & Rikli’s healing methods.
Rikli’s therapies involved the use of water, sunlight & the climate for preventive & curative purposes. Offered accommodation in ‘light & air’ huts, structures with wooden walls facing the lake. Modest food like rye bread, milk, fruits & legumes served to detox & regulate blood flow. Patients underwent ‘climate therapy’ – physical exercise in the fresh alpine air, heliotherapy or sunbathing on wooden platforms & hydrotherapy (steam, cold & warm baths) to detox. Beautiful Lake Bled instills a sense of calm as we watch the morning mist, the lush green meadows & alpine forests contrast with the blue lake & the orange sky. Memorable.