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Clare
Clare

Day 6: Ohrid

When we woke up this morning we found something we had hardly dared hope for: a sunny day in Ohrid! The view from the terrace had been beautiful yesterday but it was even better today in the sunshine. We sat outside and ate a breakfast of what was officially the best burek we have ever had.

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When Tim went out to fetch the burek in the early morning, he had found a boardwalk along the side of the lake which seemed to be a popular place for the locals to stand and fish. We went for a walk along it and it was absolutely beautiful.

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The water was amazingly clear. It wasn't hard to see why so many people were fishing!

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The walkway took us to a secluded (but very stony!) beach.

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From there we climbed upwards to reach the top of the cliffs. Although it wasn't long after 9am, it was already really hot.

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We were walking towards Sveti Jovan Kaneo, a thirteenth century church built overlooking the lake. This may be the best location ever for a church.

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From there it was an easy walk downhill to the town centre. We decided to go for a stroll along the main promenade alongside the shore of the lake.

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Once we rounded the corner of the lake, we had beautiful views back towards the old town and the fortress. If you look carefully at the photo below, you can just make out the church of Sv. Jovan Kaneo perched on the cliff to the far left.

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The views were so spectacular that we just kept walking and walking and ended up going much further than we intended. We stopped for a drink at a lakeside bar where we were practically in the water ourselves.

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Walking a bit further down a woodland track we came to an estate which was completely fenced off, with signs warning against trespassing or taking photographs. It turned out to be Tito's former residence on Lake Ohrid, now used by the Macedonian government for hosting foreign dignitaries.

Continuing to walk through the forest, we had fantastic views out across the lake.

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We found another rocky beach where we were able to climb down to the water's edge, then decided we'd better call it a day and head back before we ended up too far away from home. Upon arriving back in Ohrid, we decided to go for dinner in the restaurant where we had eaten yesterday. The owner was very friendly and offered us a free glass of his home-made rakija as we were returning customers.

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It was definitely an acquired taste. The geraniums ultimately had the opportunity to acquire the taste of Tim's glass :) We ended up ordering chicken kebabs, which might not sound very inspiring, but were actually amazing. Each piece of chicken had been wrapped in a slice of bacon prior to being grilled and the result was delicious. We finished up with a massive pancake, drizzled with honey and cream.

Rakija aside, we have really enjoyed our time in Macedonia and are a little sad to be leaving tomorrow to head to Serbia. We weren't sure what to expect from our first visit here, but it really is an extraordinarily beautiful country, with friendly people and very affordable prices. The food has been excellent, the wine definitely needs to be exported and we have confirmed you can survive without speaking fluent Macedonian. Not everything is perfect, of course. You really have to watch where you are walking on the pavements to avoid falling in a hole. You feel like you are taking your life in your hands every time you cross the road, as the green light doesn't seem to mean a lot here; the best tactic is to insert a local between yourself and the oncoming traffic, as they seem to be able to sense which cars will run them down and which will stop ;) Recycling and indeed putting litter in litter bins seem to be relatively new concepts which haven't quite caught on yet (although in other respects it is a very tidy country - there were men out in Skopje on Wednesday morning sweeping up the rain water!). With a bit of investment it could easily become the new Switzerland, featuring in all the 'Lakes and Mountains' brochures. Personally, we hope it stays undiscovered for a bit longer :)




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