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Europe » Macedonia
July 2nd 2012
Published: September 30th 2017
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Lazy Day Fishing ...Lazy Day Fishing ...Lazy Day Fishing ...

... what better way to pass a summer afternoon?
Geo: 40.928, 20.7793

Though great, Ohrid town can be a bit overwhelming - the beaches are tiny, but people definitely take full advantage of every square inch of space available, with sun loungers side by side, and the odd beach towel wedged in between. There's a vibrant atmosphere on the beaches, but today presented the perfect opportunity to escape the crowds for the day, taking advantage of a lake cruise to explore Sveti Naum, where there would still be crowds, albeit slightly smaller ones.

Sveti Naum is named after its monastery, originally constructed in 900 AD, which was later replaced in the 16th century. It's a very characteristic look for the region, with a monastery overlooking the brilliant body of water below. Its beaches also packed, you can find a private beach on the opposite side of Sveti Naum's port, just a few steps away from the monastery. For the pittance of just over $1 CAD, there was a beautiful stretch of nearly deserted sand, before the crowds started to descend midday.

Once the inevitable tide of tourists started streaming in, it was time to get out of there and find something to eat at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants dotted along the coast of the lake, and also along a placid and crystalline little pond just steps away, situated inside a beautiful little wooded area, where families were happily enjoying picnics, with food, drink, and singing. Of course, the food at such a touristy-little spot was suspect, having no incentive to provide anything resembling a decent Macedonian meal, as money would no doubt continue to roll in, regardless of quality. It's the terrible catch-22 of wonderful locations such as this - that beautiful view is rarely accompanied by an equally-beautiful meal!

Tonight marked the final evening in Macedonia - six nights in a country is never enough, but was sufficient to get a small taste of Macedonia, from the little towns of the Tikves wine region, to a larger city in Bitola, and finally with the best of Macedonia, Ohrid. Macedonia seems like the country to explore the great outdoors, but time simply didn't permit this time around. I'll remember many things about Macedonia, but it's probably some of the quirks that stand out most - but the one that tops them all has got to be this picture I shot tonight. Clever marketing by those Macedonians, targeting a huge and untapped market. I'm sure parents all over are lining up to get their kids some ink!



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End of the Road for the Crn Drim River ...End of the Road for the Crn Drim River ...
End of the Road for the Crn Drim River ...

... an unbelievable crystalline pond just steps from Lake Ohrid, located in a wooded area popular for picnics and serene little cruises.
Pretty good ...Pretty good ...
Pretty good ...

... not having much time before the ferry to Sveti Naum, I picked up this yummy ham and cheese pastry from the grocery store. Surprisingly flaky, though my only complaint is that it was a bit doughy. Eastern European pastries usually aren't the greatest, but this one wouldn't be out of place in Western Europe. The sesame seeds added a pleasant flavour to it.
Fruit Turnovers ...Fruit Turnovers ...
Fruit Turnovers ...

... also quite good, though once again a bit doughy.
Perhaps the Final Shopska Salad ...Perhaps the Final Shopska Salad ...
Perhaps the Final Shopska Salad ...

... I'm assuming Albanian food will be similar to Macedonian, but not knowing for certain, this could be last time I taste this delicious salad for a long time. Unfortunately, this wasn't the best at Cuba Libre, a super-touristy restaurant - being so simple and always so good, not really sure how this could be screwed up ... the high point was the excellent Vranec from Stobi Winery. I'd seen their brand advertised all over the place, but this was the first time trying their wine. Though the food was disappointing, it was nice to chill in this chill town with a glass of wine, especially with a gorgeous view of the pond.
Pljeskavica ...Pljeskavica ...
Pljeskavica ...

... kind of the Balkan version of a salisbury steak, a beef/lamb patty, stuffed with cheese. This particular one was incredibly spongy, and just wasn't very good.
Sugar Overload ...Sugar Overload ...
Sugar Overload ...

... having sampled the excellent baklava at this place last night, I returned for more, more, more!!! I can't remember how each one differed, other than they were all pretty good, with the one exception perhaps being the curly one in the foreground, which was a bit soggy.
Restaurant Dalga ...Restaurant Dalga ...
Restaurant Dalga ...

... a delicious mixed grill, with steak, chicken shish kebab, a pork rib that tasted like smoked bacon, and a delish pljeskavica, which was miles better than the sad version at lunch today, juicier and perfectly-seasoned, with a nice texture . All delicious, especially with the crisp fries and incredibly-smooth T'ga Za Jug, a Vranec from Tikves Winery. For once, I didn't over stuff myself at dinner, leaving room for either some more baklava or ice cream.


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