Posted by: lindsaygoes | October 17, 2016

Beautiful Macedonia 

Sunday 9th October 2016

Sofia to Skopje

We had another private bus today, which I wasn’t going to complain about as, even though I was feeling a bit better, I still wasn’t 100% so didn’t mind not having to go from taxi to bus to taxi to walking with my backpack. We headed from Bulgaria to Macedonia, the border crossing taking a couple of hours, with our first stop in Macedonia being Skopje, the capital city.

Skopje was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1963, and has also been undergoing a lot of building work, so many of the buildings are new. There are also a huge number of statues, sculptures and fountains. A number of the newer ones have been struck by the ‘colourful revolution’ being splashed with paint in protest for the amount they cost, government corruption and surveillance. 

As we were just there for the afternoon and evening we spent our time wandering around through the streets, bazaar and waterfront area and also up to the top of the fort for a view around the city as well as visiting the outside of Mother Teresa’s memorial room, which was closed. After dinner we got a bit of a look at some of the lit up buildings and fountains.

Monday 10th October 2016
Skopje to Lake Ohrid

After leaving Skopje we stopped at Matka Canyon where we had a boat ride to Vrelo Cave, which is possibly the deepest underwater cave in the world. The boat ride through the canyon was majestic, it was misty but not rainy, and with the canyon walls rising above us it felt like we could be in Lord of the Rings somewhere! There was only a small portion of the caves we could walk into, but hey were very cool with some fantastic stone formations and bats flying around.

After the boat ride back we had a bit of a break before getting back on the but and heading for Lake Ohrid. We didn’t have time for much more than an evening stroll before dinner.

Tuesday 11th October 2016
Ohrid

Today was spent exploring Ohrid, although the fact that we were woken up by the sound of rain was not a good sign!

We headed out, walking through the upper gate of the city and up to the fort (every place we’ve visited so far seems to have one!) which was called Czar Samuel’s Fortress and was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire around the 10th Century. 

Then we had to retrace our steps a little as we realise we had missed the ancient theatre, which was built in 200 BC (although only the two lower levels still exist) but is still used for performances in the summer.

Next we went to the Early Christian Basilica, which had some fantastic mosaics, and the St Panteleimon Monastery, both located on a hill called the Plaosnik.

Then we had a bit of a walk through some woods, hoping we were headed in the right direction. We did make it to our next target, the Church of St John the Theologian, which is situated on the top of a cliff above the lake. As it was still we and rainy we had to be careful not to slip on any of the paths.

Then we walked along the waterfront back to the main part of town, had some lunch and visited the local market. After a bit of an afternoon siesta we had a walk along the waterfront away from the old part of town.

For dinner I had some of the local Lake Ohrid trout which was very tasty but a bit of work to make sure I didn’t eat any bones! 

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