Lake Ohrid

Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Macedonia  ,
Thursday, August 11, 2005

We couldn't wait to leave Skpoje behind so we jumped on the first bus out of there. We'd heard Lake Ohrid was beautiful and where all the Macedonians go for holidays.

The mob was waiting for us. We couldn't even get off the bus! A lady had already grabbed David and a old man started telling me she was nice and that he had worked in Perth. She promised us a room with a view of the lake. Supposedly the 3rd biggest in Europe (the lake, no the room). The room was brilliant. Just as she had promised.

There were a few things to do so we headed into town to take a look around. There were loads of little laneways and a huge market, churches, the lake to swim if we wanted to. We decided to stay here a couple of days, or more, to relax.

There was an amphitheatre too which we could add to our ever growing list! It was very impressive. We stayed for ages just taking it in. The view of the lake was great.

We walked around the lake watching people swimming and fishing. There were loads of Dutch people about. Apparently they've always come to holiday here. No one could tell us why.

We walked up and down the main paved mall and suddenly saw a tiny shop with colourful cloths and things. It was more of a hole in the wall. I'd seen the kind of cloth I liked and thought it would be a good souvenir and memento of Macedonia. We looked through them but our eyes settled on a small runner. Dark red and black. Very cheap too so we bought it to add to our collection of Morrocan, Turkish and Tunisian carpets/camelbags/runners and bags. The nice lady also dropped in some herbal products that she made herself. Bargain!

We went to drop it back at the room and head out for dinner. That's when we discovered our loss. My heart skipped a beat! I became hot and flustered! Where could it be?! Our beloved 1997 Eastern Europe on a Shoestring Lonely Planet was missing! We turned the room upside down looking for it but to no avail. We ran out and re-walked every step we had taken that day, but still, no book. We asked at all the shops we had been in to and walked round and round town looking at everyone to see if they had in their hands. We close to breaking point. We even peeked in random bins just to see if someone had looked at it then chucked it. We had to face it. We'd never see it again. We'd done so much together. It was like losing a family member!!

David had read it more times than me so we would be relying on his memory to get us through the next couple of days and through Albania. We felt so lost.

Next day we decided we would go up to Fort Samul. Still reeling at the lost of our most trusted friend we needed something to take our minds off it. The fort was really cheap - first bonus. It looked pretty cool inside. We started walking around and climbed the first walls. They were excavating below where we were standing and I noticed a guy drawing so I took a closer look. It was a full skeleton!!!! How cool is that!?! Second bonus! Feeling a bit happier we moved on and took ages walking the walls and looking at everything. Great fort, magic views too. Well worth the pittance we paid to get in.

We walked down a hill because we could, and came across another roman ruin with mosaics. We both remembered reading about it. It had been a basilica - huge one at that. There was nothing much left though, just the floor with mosaics. There was a restored medieval church further down the hill so we went to see that too. Church of St Clements I think. Very nice. I love the architecture of the churches here. We looked at the mosaics near that too and wandered down a track that eventually led down to an old church on the cliff edge of the lake. Fantastic setting. We took some more photos and followed the cliff path back to town where we went into Sveti Sofia. We remembered that Lonely Planet had said this old church had some good frescos. More expensive than the Fort and not so rewarding I think. Not as nice as some of the orthodox churches I've seen. We were still keeping an eye out for our Lonely Planet hoping that we would see someone reading it but, of course, we didn't find it.

Next day we headed for the bus station to go to see a church on our way to cross over to Albania. A cab driver offered us the same fare so we took him up on it. A cafe said we could leave our bags with them whilst we looked around. The water here was even clearer than it had been over in Ohrid. Crystal. There was a spa that you could visit too which explained the clear water. The church was Sveti Naum and is on the edge of the lake. It was beautiful. I can't remember how old the church is but it was lovely and had frescos inside. The guy didn't ask us for any money so we continued to wander round. He lit the oil lamps hanging from the ceiling and went back to his box.

We went and had a coffee at the cafe and asked the boy there how to get to the Albanian border as we knew it was pretty close. 3km if we walked the road but then he pointed to some soldiers buying up on cigarettes and had a chat with them. He came back to us. 1km if we walk with them!!! So off we went - military escort out of Macedonia!!! I don't even think it was a kilometre! He stood there making sure we left and then marched back for a smoke. His days work done, escorting infidels out of the country! Marvelous!

Being a virgin border walker, I was really excited!! My first border crossing on my own two feet!

There was Albania - just around the corner.........
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