One of the major differences between this trip and Big Trip is the amount of socialising that happens. Lingering for a few drinks after an early dinner means that we end up having late nights – by the time we’ve written about the day and selected the photos to post, it’s really late.
We’re both tired today.
We left Skopje at 9:00am aboard a public bus to Ohrid.
Small towns and villages are scattered about; some buildings in the bigger towns reflecting that awesome Soviet brutalism style. Villages are nestled at the bottom of the mountain range.
Some of us drifted off to sleep (probably dreaming of the swimming opportunity ahead), but the vast majority chatted all the way. The only noise on board.
The journey took approximately 3.5 hours.
We saw storks nesting; storks on the ground, storks flying.
A village we passed through had a stork nest; and an Orthodox Church and a mosque in the background. I wasn’t sitting by the window today, so sadly I was unable to take photos.
A quick ‘technical’ stop saw the whole bus tracking down the facilities, and coffee and water for us.
Upon boarding the bus, I grabbed the window seat.
We travelled through a wooded area, the hills in the distance covered in trees. Huge infrastructure projects are underway – a new road; a new bridge and upgrading the road we’re travelling on (small delays incurring as a result).
We pulled in at a major bus station. I watched people buying tickets, chatting, saying goodbye to loved ones… a small window into other people’s lives.
We arrived in Ohrid (pronounced something like ‘oh-ready) around 12:30pm. We got a taxi to the hotel. Well, we got in and then the taxi couldn’t start so Andy was asked to push start the car. In the heat. A hot car. Ah. Welcome to Ohrid!
Ohrid. We’d both wanted to come here for a long long time. It’s all in the name!
And also, it’s supposed to be pretty here. All Macedonians we’ve spoken to told us to come here. It’s a place they are proud of.
There used to be 365 churches here (one for each day of the year). I think we had one of these towns in Central America. A prize to the person who comes up with the name.
We dropped our bags into our room – beyond any kind of interior designer’s imagination… as in, almost kitsch but bad – and left for lunch.
With the heat we’ve had throughout the trip, we’ve all been looking forward to the lake. We went to the coolest bar by the shore; scored great seats and dived in. The water was cool at first, but oh so pleasant. We had cocktails, Andy read his book, we chatted. Most relaxing.
At 6pm, we were ready for our city tour. Orhid has a look and feel of a Mediterranean town. Cobbled streets, many churches; terraced bars. It’s busy but not crazy busy. Everyone here is having a nice time.
Our tour lasted two hours and it took us though all the major sites in town. As well as being an extremely popular summer destination, Ohrid has many claims to fame: a superb music festival yearly (tonight’s the opening night and the President of Macedonia’s in town); an Easter procession; the lake (as a summer destination) and of course (oh the things you learn!) Saint Clement of Ohrid who invented Cyrillic – now used by 250 million people.
It’s so pretty here – every corner is an opportunity to explore and photograph. Andy and I both got left behind by the tour. We have no idea what is what or why, but we had a great time and have cool photos! I’m seriously thinking we should come back for a week; there are so many back streets we’d love to explore further.
We did all end up at St Jovan Kaneo just in time for sunset. The church is picture pretty, and the sunset was vibrant. Its supposedly the most photographed building in Macedonia, it’s easy to see why.
A short walk back to town for dinner. Traditional food (which was delightful) and a break away from the wine drinking group tonight for me. I ordered a small bottle of red wine. It was divine. I let people try it and soon enough bottles of the stuff were ordered.
We walked back to our hotel (we’re about 15 minutes from the centre) along the busy promenade.
The place has a great vibe. We like it.
Ohrid is nice.