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Wet day in Ohrid

(written by Dave)

Much to our surprise, it was raining this morning when we got up.  We’ve got such an eagle eye for the forecast but because we were not riding today, we had not looked.  We didn’t let it dampen our mood, however, as we were having our first egg and bacon rolls since France.  Our hotel has a communal kitchen and we took full advantage.  I am happy to report that the rolls turned out great, including runny yokes.  Not all the ingredients were “Aussie standard” but pretty good result none the less.  For new readers wondering what all the fuss is about egg and bacon rolls, Nancy did a nice summary of them back on Day 61, June 7th last year (click here).

The rain continued for most of the morning so we took advantage by planning the route ahead.  We have worked out a rough plan for the next 10 days or so, taking us through Albania and onto Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It used to be easy to pick the route because there were not many choices.  As we are getting more into Europe, we have more choices on routes and many more fellow traveler blogs to read.

We finally broke free from the computers for lunch.  Ohrid has a great walking street with shops and restaurants.  But today, it was pretty empty.  The rain has that affect on tourist towns.  We finally settled on a doner shop – but had a number of other restaurant owners let us know that they had tables.  Everyone had tables.

It was still raining lightly when we left for our guidebook’s walk of sites in Ohrid but our trip weather luck held and it stopped raining when we reached the first stop, the upper gate of the old city.  And the rain held off until we finished the full walk three hours later – perfect.

The stop after the gate was a Roman Amphitheater.  This one was pretty small but it had a nice view of the lake and it is still being used for concerts.  We’ve seen many amphitheaters on this trip but I really do like seeing 2000 year old buildings that are still being used.  Of course there are new and old blocks/rocks but you have to perform maintenance on any building.

The next stop was Car Samoil’s Castle.  This castle was built in the 10th century and like the amphitheater has had extensive renovation.  The views of the lake, town and surrounding mountains were great and we even got a peak of blue sky.  It would be a great place to take in the views from on a clear day.

We next visited the monastery of Saint Pantelejmon.  It was here that one of our old friends from Bulgaria, Saint Clement (also sometimes spelled Kliment) spent time refining and teaching the new Cyrillic alphabet.  They have some nice mosaics but unfortunately the area was roped off so we couldn’t get too close.  We got a little lost heading to our next stop but a friendly group of taxi drivers got us going the right direction.  The taxi drivers were waiting for a group of folks in the monastery but still managed to offer for their services.  It was like we were back in Turkey – all fun and friendly.

The last stop of note was the Sveti Jovan Kaneo or simply Saint John church.  This is a great little church on a knoll overlooking Lake Ohrid.  It is said that this church is the most photographed building in Macedonia.  The view was amazing, even today with the flat light from the clouds.  I had to pull myself away after taking way too many photos.  Nancy was pretty patient enjoying the quiet of the church courtyard; one thing nice about the rain is the lack of crowds.

We have seen lots of interesting old cars in our time in Macedonia.  Ohrid seems to have more its own collection of interesting old cars – I tried to capture a few of them today.

We are cooking up some noodles in the hotel kitchen for dinner tonight.  We enjoy eating out but also like to enjoy being “at home” every now and again.  We are still debating on what we do tomorrow.  The wireless in our room doesn’t work very well so planning is hard but it would be nice to see the town without grey clouds and rain.  We’ll discuss further and post from here, or from Debar, the next town up (and the last town in Macedonia).

Finally, congratulations to our nephew Henry Peterson who graduates from high school today – way to go, Henry!

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