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Up and down in Macedonia – Bitola to Ohrid (72/16,458ks, 915m)

(written by Nancy)

Today was a great day of cycling through the rolling mountains of Macedonia.  We left our hotel just about 7:30 under blue skies and started climbing almost immediately after we left town.  The first climb took us up along the edge of Pelister National Park, through lots of flowering trees and nice vistas.  All of the blossoming trees are lovely but they also increase the number of bugs flying about – especially bees.  Regularly during the day we get hit in the head, the face, and the arms by the bugs coming at us.  Some of the bees are pretty dang big too – large black bees about the size of my thumb.   One more good reason to wear helmets out here, I guess!

As we came down off the first hill we could see a bit of Lake Prespa, one of the two lakes in this area.  We rode into the town of Resen and stopped at a petrol station to get something to drink.  While we were sitting outside the station drinking our ice tea and making our way through a box of cookie the gal working at the station came out and offered us a cup of coffee, which we gratefully accepted.  She brought us out two cups of coffee in nice china cups and we chatted a bit about the country.  She was rightfully proud of the nice area she lived in.

The second climb started just after we left the petrol station but thankfully we had our shot of caffeine to help us up the hill.  The climb took us around another national park, Galichica National Park.  Actually it wasn’t too bad of a climb and was only about 12k to the top.  The pass topped out at 1190m and we pulled over at a little shack at that top to have a snack to carry us into our destination.  We found a candidate for the worst toilet on the trip so far – see the picture below.  I elected to use the more natural facilities nearby – wasn’t about to go into that little cubby hole!

We made our way down the other side of the pass with a nice downhill most of the way into the town of Ohrid, which sits on the other lake in the region, Lake Ohrid.  We made our way into the centre of town and quickly got accosted by several people who wanted to know if we were looking for accommodation.  It’s clear we are in a tourist area.  We had a hotel picked out that we wanted to look at so we were trying to politely decline the offers of accommodation but one fellow was particularly persistent.  He finally offered to show us to the hotel we had picked out, and if we didn’t like it he would take us to his apartments that he had for rent.  So, off we went, following him through the old town area of Orhid.

Villa Lucya turned out to be a nice spot, right on the lake.  We ended up taking a room with a balcony looking out over the lake, so we had to wave goodbye to our friend who guided us here.  The room comes with a refrigerator and there is a shared kitchen upstairs that we can use as well.  After getting cleaned up we headed out to get something to eat – we didn’t really much for lunch and were both hungry so it wasn’t long before we were sitting at Leonardo’s Pizza with two nice pizzas and a nice Greek salad in front of us.  We also had another little bottle of Tivke Alexandria wine to share so it was a nice meal to end a nice day.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some things for breakfast.  Dave is going to try to make egg and bacon rolls up in the kitchen – we’ll see how that goes!  But it is nice to have access to a kitchen and we can at least make a nice pot of espresso.  We will take a day off here tomorrow to check out the town and try to figure out where we go from here.  We are looking forward to seeing the sunrise across the lake in the morning and listening to the water lap against the sea wall down below us.

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6 responses to “Up and down in Macedonia – Bitola to Ohrid (72/16,458ks, 915m)

  1. Looks like beautiful country, should be a great place to spend an extra day. I noticed that two of the signs were in English, is that common in Macedonia?

    • Macedonia signs generally have English and Macedonian.  The older signs don’t have English.  We are trying a few older roads the next few days, hope we don’t get lost…  

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  2. Looks like a really beautiful area with some nice weather. And a nice room as well. Pizza for dinner sounds great. Do the styles of pizza vary a lot as you visit different countries? The pizza in Italy was different (and so much better) that what I get here.

    • The biggest pizza difference was in Turkey.  Everywhere else it is similar, mostly thin crusts and less cheese than you’d probably get in America – at least from what I remember…

      Macedonia has been great – even in the rain today it was still nice.  

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  3. Nancy always makes it to the top. I am glad she still gets excited about it!

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