Saturday, 10 October 2015

Macedonia: Ohrid

It really takes some getting used to rain and clouds after over three months of sunshine and warmth. Getting further South of Macedonia didn't improve the weather. 

Macedonia is a small country and Ohrid was our last stop before heading to Albania which is basically on the other side of the lake.

We have now visited five out of seven countries that used to form Yugoslavia. As we travelled across Slovenia being at the West side of former Yugoslavia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina (we visited Sarajevo last year), Serbia and Macedonia being at the Eastern end of Yugoslavia we could clearly see differences between those countries. Slovenia is very European, very clean and well organised, adopted Euro as their currency, does recycling, people speak English. It was also the most expensive of the five countries. The further East we travelled, the cheaper it became but also recycling slowly disappeared whilst rubbish appeared along roads and in touristy areas, we found it harder and harder to find people who spoke English and tourist attractions stopped being clearly marked. The differences in wealth and continuous demand to support the poorer areas of Yugoslavia eventually lead to its break up and just like at the time of Yugoslavia Western and Northern parts of the country were richer, better developed than the Eastern and Southern ones, they still are, just as independent countries.  

They were similar differences in the capitals of the five countries. Although they have a lot in common, there is a lot that distinguishes them one from another. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia gave an impression of a sleepy, country town rather than a capital of an EU country. Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, was vibrant and interesting, whilst Belgrade in Serbia was so communist in its looks that it felt like home to me. Skopje in Macedonia was simply ugly. The only city that is still bearing visible signs of war and siege of 1992-1995 was Sarajevo. 

A bit gloomy looking Ohrid, town and lake, the only site in Macedonia that has a UNESCO status.

At the little flat we rented, €25 a night

Offroading in Galicicia National Park
Trying out (again) the ground anchor which (again) failed. We have yet to find out in which terrain it actually works.

And the ground anchor is out whilst the car didn't move!

A little church, though there are no houses around 

And we are back on the road

The biggest cheeseburger ever for the lowest price ever! Just over €2!

The girl has grown and wants to eat just like the rest of us.

Ohrid on a nicer day

Saint Panteleimon

Views over the lake and town from the Old Town

The ancient theatre

On the way to Samuel's Fortress (in the background)

Views from the fortress

Dinner in a restaurant that serves typical Macedonian food

Macedonian salad. Under the pile of red onion which isn't as strong as the red onions I've had in New Zealand, marinated green peppers are hidden. Delicious!

A dish similar to Polish golabki: minced meat with rice wrapped in grape leaves and serves with sour cream. Beany enjoyed it a lot.

I was trying hard to remember the name but I failed. It is grilled bread with grated white cheese.

Macedonia was a place worth a visit for sure but a little bit of a disappointment, too. We met people who sung praises about it and hence we had very high expectations, mainly about the natural beauty of the country. After all we'd visited quite a few places now and know what we like. We did like it, however, we weren't wowed.

27 - 30 September 2015

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