Lake Ohrid #1: A Walk in the Rain

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Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid
March 7th 2020
Published: April 15th 2020
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The bus ride from Skopje to Lake Ohrid took about 3 and a bit hours. I enjoyed the views from the bus window as we made our way through Macedonia. I was a bit disorientated when I got out of the bus station, but soon got myself sorted on the right path to my accommodation. I almost missed the place as it was hidden down a side street when google maps said it was on the main street. The hostess was absolutely lovely. I can't speak any Macedonian and she doesn't speak a lot of English, but we were able to muddle through it. She even fed me a plate of veggies and rice porridge as a small lunch. After taking a bit of a rest, I headed out to explore Lake Ohrid. I wasn't staying in the centre, so the walk took about 10-15 minutes. The area was quiet with a little traffic and few people. I did like the dilapidated buildings and the small mosque in the neighbourhood. I came to the pedestrianised area and took a walk through the street filled with shops and restaurants. Despite the rain, there were quite a few people around. At the end of the street, I came to Lake Ohrid.

Initially, when planning my trip, I had just booked a flight to Sofia. After choosing some places that I wanted to visit in Bulgaria, I decided to look at the neighbouring countries and Macedonia and Lake Ohrid caught my eye immediately. It just looked so beautiful, I couldn't believe that I had really seen or heard of it. Although on second thought that probably is a good thing as it meant that it wouldn't be overrun with the hordes. Since it was very overcast, my view of the lake and the surrounding hillsides were a bit obscured, but at the same time I liked the air of mystery that the cloud added to the veiled hills. I set off around the lake towards the Old Town area. It was so quiet, I would love to come back in the summer to see the contrast. I enjoyed walking through the narrow streets with the old overhanging buildings. I didn't really have a plan of what I wanted to see or do, just wander around and soak up the atmosphere of the place. I had wanted to visit the Robev Family Museum but I arrived too late as it was shut for the day by the time I got there. One of the places of interest that my guesthouse owner had written down for me was Saint Sophia Church. This church was completed in the Middle Ages and was built in the Byzantine style. The front gates to the church were closed, so I headed into the courtyard around the back. It was quite surprising as there were lots of arches and what looked like a theatre with lots of seats in the open air. Since the rain had really started to come down harder, I hid under the archways for a bit and admired the artwork and etching in the stone.

When the rain let up a bit, I headed back out. I followed the street and came back down to the lake's edge. I was surprised to see a rickety old wooden bridge there. It didn't look like the safest structure in the world, but I hoped and prayed that it wouldn't collapse. I think I was more scared of the lake of barriers between the bridge and the water, than the actual bridge collapsing. I later found out that the bridge is called the Bridge of Wishes, which I thought was quite cute. The walk along the bridge was great, the view out over the lake was nice and I bet it would be stunning on a clear and sunny day. Also the water was absolutely amazing, it was so clear and a beautiful turquoise blue colour in places. I also got to watch a swan preening themselves on a rock before heading into the water and gliding off. the boardwalk gave way back to the normal path and I wandered along. While walking the narrow streets, I came to the House of Petrush Vangelov. This is an example of architecture preserved from the 19th century and typical of the Ohrid style with a ground floor and part of the first floor made of stone and the rest of the first floor and the second floor made from bondruk construction.

The next part of the route took me along a pebble beach that had some bars and restaurants along it. All the outside buildings were shut up, once again, I bet it would be so different in summer. I could see the Church of St. John the Theologian up ahead. This is in many of the famous shots of Lake Ohrid and Macedonia. At the bottom of the slope, there was a smaller church, the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God Church, but the gate was locked so I couldn't go in there to explore. It did look really cute at the water's edge. I headed up the path to the Church of St. John the Theologian. The church is located on a natural platform of rocks that rises out of the lake. The church dates back to the end of the thirteenth century. I had a walk around the small churchyard. I really liked the gate which led to the sea. I wonder if people accessed the church by boat. I also enjoyed watching the boats go past both big and small. I would have liked to have done a boat trip on the lake, but I think the weather would have severely hampered my view. There were also quite a few picnic benches in the churchyard, I bet it would be a nice place to chill in better weather. Since you had to pay an entrance fee for the church, I didn't bother to go inside. I took the stairs at the back of the church up the hill. This gave me the money shot view of the church and Lake Ohrid. The path extended along the coast, so I took a walk along that. The views were beautiful. If it hadn't been raining so heavily, I would have liked to have continued walking along to what looked like a small village. However since it was raining, I just made my way down to a cute pebble beach an had a look around that. Before heading back the way I came. On the way back, I stopped to take in the views of the church and lake again. Some of the surrounding trees were also covered in cherry blossoms, which always look beautiful.

I was starving by this point so headed back towards the centre of the town to find some dinner. I had found a place online with good reviews and cheap prices. I had already passed by it earlier so it was just a case of retracing my steps. The restaurant was called VIVA Ksantika and is very unassuming from the outside, but according to reviews served up hearty, homemade traditional Macedonian cuisine. It wasn't too busy when I entered and I found a table and had a look at the menu. The trout from the lake is meant to be the local speciality, but I just wasn't feeling it. I decided on a shopska salad and a Sharska Pleskavca, which is a burger filled with cheese. I'd enjoyed the one I'd had the day before and wanted to see how this one compared. I had a lovely glass of local red wine which I sipped while waiting for my food. The salad arrived first and I dug in. I was starving and it definitely took the edge off my hunger. The shopska salad was delicious. I am not the biggest fan of tomatoes but mix them with cucumber and cover them with cheese and they definitely become more edible. The burger was really nice too. It was similar to the one I'd had the day before, but without the extra cheese on the top. While I was eating in the restaurant, one of the other patrons started asking the waiter about me and then came over to ask where I was from. Maybe dining alone, I was a bit of a curiosity to them. After my meal, I headed back to my guesthouse via the supermarket for some snacks. I hadn't realised until I was in the restaurant how wet I'd got from the rain. I had thought that my coat was waterproof, but it was lacking. Back at the guesthouse, it was time to drape my wet clothes on the radiator and cupboard doors to dry and snuggle up with a book.

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