Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
51Trip End May 01, 2012
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We were returning from a trip to the opposite side of Lake Ohridin Macedonia to see the water springs. The water was as clear as glass and we were rowed up a stream with a bunch of Serbians to see the springs close up, as well as a couple of churches and monasteries along the way. The rest of the day we spent lounging on the beach and eating some traditional Macedonian food in the restaurants nearby. I had some stew thing with chicken and lots of vegetables and mushrooms, it was delicious. Belinda didn’t want any because it had tomatoes so instead she had a Macedonian hamburger. We got the idea to take this trip from our friendly hotel owner who runs the hotel with her husband. He doesn’t speak a word of English but is always polite and says hello and goodbye and smiles when we see him. Maria, the wife, spoke excellent English and she was constantly helping us with things to do and places to see. They were very happy to meet us because we were the first Australians to ever stay at their place. Also, his sister lives in Melbourne and apparently all the Macedonians who left to live in Australia never come back so we promised to spread the word about how beautiful Macedonia is and also contact his sister.
The town Ohridis situated on a lake that is the border point between Albania and Macedonia and is surrounded by mountains
Crossing the border from Albania was interesting. We walked across having been told that there was a monastery just on the Macedonian side and that we could get a bus from there. Luckily a van came along after about 15min and we realised that the walk would have taken at least an hour. Transport around here and in Albania is slightly different than back at home- firstly trains are apparently extremely slow and run down and buses are called furgons. Often these are just vans and you have to go around asking each one their destination to find the right one. Also, to make things slightly more difficult,they leave from different places in the city so you have to speak to locals to find out where to go. Surprisingly, it all works really well and people are always very happy to help
From Tirana our furgontook us through the mountains to the eastern border and the views were breathtaking. We got to see a bit of the rural lifestyle which is eye opening- they have these motor bikes which after removing the front wheel they attach a square kart, like a trailer in Aus, and steer by holding the edges of the kart. Also along the way there was a van that for some strange reason decided to try to do a u-turn on a sharp bend with only two small lanes of road and a steep drop to one side, concrete wall on the other. Obviously he couldn’t get around and after having gone a little too far into the grass just before the drop people had to get out of their cars to push him back the other way. So both lanes were at a standstill for a while until they eventually sorted it out and off he went with a wave of thankyou. Even the Albanians thought it was funny.
On a lighter note, there seem to be fewermozzies in Eastern Europe. They have been replaced with bees but not aggressive bees that sting, more like flies in the way that they buzz around closely to check you out for a minute and then off they go. Also, we have had another dress emergency but this time its shoes. While we were in Verona Belinda stubbed her toe and took the top skin off
We haven’t had internet at Skopje so the two blogs have been combined here, hope it’s not too long. We are now in the home of Mother Teresa, Alexander the Great and also the capital of Macedonia. After getting off the bus and walking no more than five minutes the big right toe had another mishap. I thought mozzies were a problem. Tears again (in the middle of the street), an overabundance of bandaids and we decided to get a taxi to our hostel to save some anguish and my sanity. We have spent the last three days walking in the bazaar, drinking at bars and sampling all the delicious pastries bakeries here have to offer. Belinda’s new favourite is doughnuts filled with apricot jam. We had a mild occurrence of Melbourne weather yesterday with the temperature dropping to 20 degrees and pouring rain all day.
Amy, to answer your question- every single coke you have seen in the photos has been Belinda’s, plus many more we didn’t photograph. However, taking coke away from Belinda is like taking cookies away from the Cookie Monster.
Happy birthday Sophie, Auntie and Michael. Hope you had wonderful birthdays and sorry we couldn’t be there.
Tomorrow we are off to Bulgaria. First stop is the capital Sofia and then to Varna which is on the coast on the Black Sea.