Lake Ohrid #2: Robev Family Museum and Samuel's Fortress

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March 8th 2020
Published: April 16th 2020
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After one of the best night's sleep I'd had in a long time, I woke up to find my clothes all dry from the night before. Great start to the day, and when I looked out of the window, it looked like the rain had stopped, whether that would last I wasn't too sure, but I was hopeful. I made my way downstairs to enquire if I could get some breakfast. The owner wasn't about the first time I went down, but I tried again later and was in luck. I had a great breakfast of coffee, yogurt, burek, and extra cheese. The burek/banitsa I'd had in Bulgaria on the food tour had been amazing and this one was also amazing, maybe even better. I could happily move to the Balkans to feast on these for breakfast everyday.

I made my way back through the town and headed to the Robev Family House, which had been closed the day before when I tried to visit. The streets were pretty quiet although I did have to dodge a big tour group that was walking through the old town near the museum. Since I got there not too long after opening the museum was pretty quiet. The museum is located in a rich family's former home and there were some great examples on display of how the family had lived and what their house was like. The exhibitions were spread out over several floors with steep steps. The house had been built in the 19th century for the family, but had been destroyed by a fire. When it was rebuilt, it was divided into two houses for the two brothers. Since then, the house has been reconnected and that explains why there were two sets of staircases. I quite enjoyed the museum, there wasn't a tonne of stuff to see so it didn't take too long to look around, but some of the pieces on display were beautiful.

My plan for after the museum was to head to the fortress. However, since I had all day, I was in no real rush to get there and if I saw anything interesting on the way, I was happy to stop. The googlemap directions said that it wouldn't take too long to get there, what it didn't take into account was my lack of fitness and all the steps. I loved walking through the quiet neighbourhood. The houses are all pretty quaint and I got great views down over the lake. As I made my way higher, I came to Holy Mary Perybleptos, an orthodox church, which looked really beautiful. I had a walk around the outside of the church and the surrounding area. I came to a smaller church that was called Saints Constantine and Helen, which was closed up, but I got some great views from its churchyard. I made my way back to Holy Mary Perybleptos and while I was having a little neb in the doorway, the man working there told me to come in and have a look around. Normally, you have to pay to enter churches, but the bloke didn't ask for any money. The interior of the church was quite small and dark, but the walls were covered with beautiful pictures. Outside, i took a walk around the street next to the church. I like how the mist obscured the view and made things look quite mysterious.

I then followed the path up to Samuel's Fortress. There were quite a few people at the fortress. It was quite comical to watch all the people ignore the ticket office and start climbing the wall of the fortress, only for the bloke to come out of the ticket office, scold them and make them buy a ticket. After purchasing my ticket, I was free to roam the fortress site. The fortress dates back to the 4th century, when an earlier fortification was built there during the reign of King Philip II of Macedon, however the current structure dates from the 11th century during the rule of Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria as it was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. There wasn't much to see in the centre of the fortress, so I made my way to the far edge. The views were magnificent. I could all the town of Ohrid, which was a lot bigger than I had imagined it to be. Then I headed over to climbed the steps up to the wall and walk along those. The views of the lake were stunning. I had lucked out as the weather was pretty good and I could actually see the lake and the mountains only had a little fog hugging them. I loved the bright blue colours. I enjoyed my walk along the wall and up to the watchtower at one end. I wish the wall extended all the way around the fortress as I would have loved to have done a loop of the whole place.

There was another place of interest, Plaoshnik, close by, so I headed down through the woods to reach it. The walk was only about five minutes or so. There was another entrance fee to pay and I had been collared by a guide on my walk, who I had politely declined, but was a bit persistent. I managed to shake her off, as other people approached. Plaoshnik is an archaeological site that is undergoing excavation. I took a wander around the site, there wasn't really any information, so I wasn't really sure what I was looking it. The Baptistery was nice, but since it was roped off it was hard to get a good look at it. On the site, there is St. Clement's Church. It was built in 893 and later became a mosque during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. I really enjoyed taking a walk around the church, I was surprised that there were quite a few young women in there praying. I had seen that there was a cafe located close to the site, so I headed there for some refreshment, but since it was low season, it wasn't open. I decided to head back the other way so that I could see Saint John the Theologian Church in better weather. I enjoyed the walk through the woods and it linked up with the path I had taken yesterday. Also, the gate was open to the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God Church, so I had a wander around the small churchyard there. i liked that it was on the shoreline and that the water lapped pretty much all the way up to the church. There was a small pool filled with water and I wondered if this had naturally occurred or if the stones had been moved there to create a baptismal pool. I thought about going in the small church but as people were coming and going to pray, I didn't want to disturb them. I then walked back to town along the Bridge of Wishes. It had been gorgeous yesterday in the rain and it was even more beautiful today. The water was so clear and blue.

I had only walked along one of the main streets yesterday, so I decided to explore the shopping streets a little more. The area reminded me of the Old Baazar in Skopje as it was very similar in style. I came across a small market, too. I was really hungry by this point and one of the streets I had walked down was lined with restaurants. I checked out a few menus. While I was perusing one menu, the young waiter came out and recommended some different dishes, that sold me so I headed in there. I was surprised at how quiet it was, being the weekend I had expected it to be busier. I think the restaurant I went to was called Brioni 2008. I ordered a shopska salad, I think I am becoming addicted to these and meat done 'village style', it sounded a bit weird but when the waiter described it, it sounded perfect for me as it contained all the things I like. The shopska salad was really good, I love the way the cheese kind of melts with the juice from the cucumber and tomato. It is just so yummy. The village style meat was really good and very, very filling. It was pieces of beef with mushrooms and onion cooked in a cream sauce with cheese. It was so good and served with bread to mop up the excess sauce.

I was so full after my lunch, I had to waddle back to my guesthouse to relax, as I was close to a food coma. After my rest I decided to head back out. I was still really full off my lunch and needed to walk it off a bit. I hadn't been to one of the places that my guesthouse owner had written down for me to visit. I headed back to the centre and along the other side of the lake. I hadn't walked along here before so it was nice to see this side of it. It was pretty busy with people out taking a late afternoon walk. It also gave me great views of the Old Town. Some people were walking out along the pier, I thought about doing it, but decided to just keep going along the shore. I came to the spring, which feeds into Lake Ohrid, but it wasn't too exciting as it is filled with small boats that are moored there. I continued walking through the park along the shore of the lake. The few people that were about were locals doing some exercise. I passed a couple of restaurants, one was open, the other still shut for the winter. I watched the sun set. It wasn't very dramatic, but it did add a small pink hue to the sky. The view across to the Old Town was great. It was nice to see the lights twinkling away across the bay. I was gong to head back, but then decided since I'd come all this way that I should head over to the famous churches, St. Sophia and St. John the Theologian, to see them all lit up at night, especially since it wasn't raining. They didn't disappoint as they looked stunning and it was a great end to my day's exploration.

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