Families from Mlino village are closely connected to the Lake and lake transportation, from the early beginnings of Mlino settlement. One reason is, that from Mlino there is the nearest way to the Island, and the other is the special right, which they received in 18th century, with empress Maria Theresa, who gave Mlino families exclusivity for transportation to the Bled Island. This right is inherited and is handed over from one to next generation. Number of visitors to the Bled Island and Church of St. Mary, has increased significantly with the arrival of dr. Arnold Rikli and health spa tourism, as well as the railway in 1907. First Pletna boats, in the form as we know them today, were built in manufacture workshop in Mlino – Pr’ Turšč. As the role model they took the boat, which Duke Ernst Windisch-Graetz brought to Mlino – Bled in 1883. At that time, also the emperor Franz Josef I visited Bled and was taken on a boat ride in this particular boat. Locals from Mlino have then manufactured many Pletna boats and soon realized, that these boats are the best – they had better sailing capabilities, were faster and needed only one driver, since Plitvica boat needed two. Plitvica was soon left behind and became part of a history. New improved boat was called Pletna.
Name Pletna originates from Bavarian – German word Plätten – which means a vessel with straight under. Today Pletna is 7 to 7,5 m long and 2 – 2,3 m wide and can carry up to 18 people. Each Pletna is unique and it takes long hours of handcrafted work to build it. Many legends are connected to Pletna and the Bled island and the most famous one is the Legend about the Wishing bell, which is located on the Island in the church of St. Mary.
This is the story about eternal love and longing for this love. Bell was made in the 16th century by Franziskus Patavius in Padova. At that time, a young widow lived in Bled castle. Her husband was killed by robbers and his body was dumped in the Lake. She gathered all her silver and gold and ordered to make a bell for the Island Chappel. But the bell never arrived to the Island, since a horrendous storm captured the boat, which carried the bell and the bell was sunk to the bottom of the Lake. Even today you can sometimes hear the bell, ringing from somewhere beneath. Desperate widow, when she heard the news, has sold all her belongings and donated the money to build a church on the Island and went to Rome to join the convent. After her death, pope has donated new bell to the church on Bled Island.