Ohrid 20/11 – 22/11/2016
We have made it to a new country for us today; Macedonia or MackieD’s as it is known locally. We are in the town of Ohrid, pronounced ‘orrid and it is a gem, a pearl. A bit of alright. The great and not so good are here in numbers to walk up and down the corniche and we are here to sample good cheap food and wine. So, moving on.
We left the security of Greece for another dip into the mad, bad, lands of Albania before arriving in FYROM. The journey was something quite special and when I have a week or two spare I will load the video up but currently with driving most days and then writing this driv takes up most of my waking hours. Also because of our time constraints and love of lying on Greek beaches we do not have enough hours to give this part of Europe our full attention. So if you want to know more then just pop along to any town centre and speak to the locals. Having said that we have developed a crush on Albania. It is piss-poor but the people are fantastic and they work like Trojans. You never see such industry anywhere else in Europe, everybody; man, woman and child is working to improve their lives and they deserve better.
We saw none
Duck Pond Albania
Snow peaks of Albania
Bay of Bones, Lake Ohrid
A town of Men
Lake Ohrid is the oldest lake in Europe and one of only a handful of ancient lakes in the world. And I’m not going to google the others, but you can. It is over a million years old and has 176 species unique to the lake. It is over 1,000 feet deep and so wear a life-jacket if you wanna go for a swim. It is also famous for Lake Ohrid pearls and there are many a shop wanting to free you of your finest English Pound. But, buyer beware. They are not pearls at all but a bit of ground shell covered with the scales of the Plasica fish, endemic to the lake. The fish gives an emulsion to make it look like a pearl. These are the ‘real’ Lake Ohrid pearls and word is these might now mostly be fake with most of the ‘pearls’ now coming from a sweat shop in China and having a bit of a paint spray in the local body shop. If you must but the original fakes then only shop in Talev or Falev shops.
We spent our time here just having a bit of a wander around, cruising the old town, out to the bluff with the church of St John on and eating not bad food to be fair.
The people in Ohrid were really friendly and could not wait to start up a conversation. Everybody under the age of 30 could speak perfect English and everyone older; perfect Russian. Despite its beauty the people want to leave. The average wage here is €250 a month for educated folks and even then most cannot get jobs. The downside for them is obviously the upside for us. This is the cheapest place we have been to since the Ukraine. Diesel is about 60p a litre, a pint in a bar is less than a quid and a top quality meal for two is less than a tenner.
However, this lack of money is not shared by the politicians. There is an election here soon and so the wannabe elected leeches are on the campaign trail. We had the pleasure of being in town for the rally of the incumbent party and no expense was spared. They had a stage and sound system Pink Floyd would have been proud of, choirs, marching bands and a firework displayed that dwarfed new year celebrations in London. And this they are doing every day as they slim across the country
There is not a lot more to say about this place. It is beautiful and it creams places like Lake Garda. Put it on your must-see places in Europe. You will not be disappointed. We will leave you the most photographed place in Macedonia to whet your appetite.
The Town of Ohrid
St John Church. The Ohrid tick in the box
St John, take 2
Ohrid and St John
Love to All