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Published: September 12th 2010
After three days of teaching, I escaped the confines of Prishtina and headed to Orhid, Macedonia with three other teachers, our curriculum coordinator and my principal. Orhid is a beautiful location on a lake, Lake Orhid of course, and half-way across the lake you enter into Albania. We arrived around noon on Thursday and set about discovering some wonderful food - fried zucchini and breaded cheese. I think I could have lived on the cheese alone. The interesting part was paying - the Macedonian money is not worth very much, so items on the menu can be 200 denar, and gelato for five is 180 denar. The money looked really cool though, even if it wasn’t worth very much. After lunch we wandered among the shops, as Orhid is quite a tourist town. Aside from the beautiful lake, their main attraction is the Orhid pearl. These pearls are made from the scales of fish that are native to Lake Orhid. Some of the jewelry is beautiful, but some of it is just huge and obnoxious looking.
On Friday, we trekked up the hill to the Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, crusade era, that overlooks the city. On the way up, we passed several
women making ivar, a traditional spread that can go on just about anything and is made from peppers. Of the fortress, there is not much left at all; the only recognizable structure still standing is the walls, from which there is a marvelous view down over the red rooftops of the city to the lake and the mountains beyond. On the way down from the fortress, we stopped at the Church of St. Clement (the lesser) and St. Panteleimon. St. Clement is the patron saint of Orhid. The church is surrounded by ruins of what was once a monastery, but now only partial arches, a few chunks of mosaic floor, and the baptismal font remain. Down from this church, is the church of St, John Kaneo, which is right on the cliff edge overlooking Lake Orhid. With all these churches, Eastern Orthdox, not Roman Catholic, there were carvings and pictures everywhere of the different saints - it was quite easy to resume my search for St. George slaying the dragon! After lunch, we stopped in the National Workshop for Handmade paper. It was so cool! The guy inside explained the whole process, from chopping the wood to soaking the fibers
to pressing the paper flat to printing on it. And they print on a Gutenberg Press! That was pretty awesome to see. That evening we wandered through the shops some more and enjoyed some more gelato. Then storms started to move in and we retreated to the hotel. The lightning over the lake was beautiful. The next morning after some last minute purchases and pictures, we climbed back into the van and drove back to Prishtina. When we got to the border, the line to cross into Macedonia was at least an hour long - I was sure glad we were headed the other way.
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