My whirlwind weekend in Macedonia
In spite of my absolute happiness to be back in Bulgaria, I decided to take just one more regional excursion before my final departure to reality. I'd wanted to see Romania, but when I realized that the journey required a lengthy train ride (please see the previous entry) I nearly vomited and decided otherwise. A bus to Macedonia sounded quite a lot more tolerable.
Because no 13 hours is complete without a good book, I splurged on the new Harry Potter just because I decided I deserved it. The bus, incredibly hot and crowded, was certainly improved by the presence of Harry and all his friends, however expensive he was. I was just glad to be on a non-train, so I tried to grin-and-bear my way through the heat, the large, sweaty, hairy men, the utterly rank seats and the nauseatingly curvaceous nature of the roads. Luckily, Harry Potter prompted conversation with two non-large, non-hairy gentlemen nearby: a Scot and a Brit, both similar in age and equally as sweaty and mildly miserable as I.
We arrived in Ohrid, Macedonia, thrilled, at approximately 4:45 in the morning. We were joined by a middle-aged Danish man, and the four of us decided to buddy-up and find accommodation. I was not excited about wandering the streets alone, and it so was nice to have english-speaking company. We settled on a wonderful apartment, and slept away the rest of the morning.
Ohrid is a UNESCO world heritage site famous for its large and beautiful lake. Because Macedonia is land-locked, the lake serves as a wonderfully pleasant substitute seaside. Being 2500 years old and all, the town has an incredibly rich history - with architecture, cultural festivals and other diversions to charm virtually any visitor. I was hoping for someplace charming, relaxing, sunny and friendly. I was certainly not disappointed.
We spent our first day together - slightly foggy from the bus ride - enjoying the rocky beach and clear waters of the lake, as well as the charming streets of the town. Ohrid does not look tremendously different from Bulgaria - I will post my pictures as soon as I can. I was particularly pleased to see the town surrounded by densely green mountains, in addition to the lake. The setting was so idyllic, I only wished I'd had more time to truly enjoy it.
We knew the night life was booming - as we'd walked through town around 5 am to find accommodation, all the kids were still roaming the streets, looking snazzy even after a long night out. Sure enough, we found ourselves a live concert somewhere along the main street. The place was pulsing with life, and we ended up at the front of the crowd, rocking out to Grease's "Summer Loving" and Elvis's "Suspicious Minds" - the rest of the songs, mostly of the alternative rock persuasion - have melted away in my memory. We danced and sang, loving every bit of the evening.
After the concert, a little singing in the street, a marriage proposal from a mildly creepy Macedonian man, caramel popcorn and a variety of other night-life antics - we collapsed into bed...summer days, drifting away...but oh! those summer nights!!!
The next day was a bit of a slow start - those summer nights can drain the days of energy - we had a strange breakfast/lunch of italian food. Duncan, the Scot, ordered the strangest pizza I've ever seen: the 'Istanbul' had ham, fresh yogurt, and eggs. blek! I was happy with my chicken parmesan.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the back streets, snapping photos and exploring the local castle/fortress. My time was up long before I was ready, and I left to catch my bus back to Sofia at seven pm. I was sad to leave the beautiful lake, and sad to leave my new companions. Macedonia, you certainly deserve more than even the most exciting of weekends.