Arriving in (North) Macedonia @ Ohrid

From the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid we drove around the lake and reached Macedonia and the town of Ohrid with its many churches. The weather got better, and we had a great impression of this wonderful lake.

Church of St. John at Kaneo

We had found a great spot the day before (41.050999,20.645700) and spent a very calm night there. The owner of the restaurant had recommended taking the longer route around the south of the lake to get to the town of Ohrid, which we did.

Parking for the Night
Looks bad but was just some road work going on
Close to the border, the number of bunkers increased dramatically
Reaching the border
We are in North Macedonia now!
Our first stop was at the Monastery of Saint Naum shortly after the border. There is this wonderful church surrounded by hotels and a park like area with restaurants. At the foot of the mountain behind the monastery there are springs with a high water flow like the Blue Eye we had visited in Albania. In summer, you can get rowed by boat through the area of the springs.

The monastery was established in the Bulgarian Empire in 905 by St. Naum of Ohrid himself. St. Naum is also buried in the church. In 1870 a fire destroyed the monastery except the monastery church. The frescos inside are impressive. It reminded us of the monasteries we had visited in Meteora in Greece.

Restaurant swimming on the lake of the springs

We had never heard of Ohrid pearls before but learned that they are made from an emulsion of a secret formula containing the fish scales from an endemic fish of Lake Ohrid. With this emulsion, the surface of a pearl made from grounded shells is covered to create a pearl.

The story goes back to 1924 when a Russian soldier staying in Ohrid knew of this secret recipe with a similar fish in Russia.  He gave the recipe to 2 families, which fiercely keep it a secret until today.

We reached the so-called Bay of Bones where a prehistoric pile settlement was reconstructed, comparable to the settlement on Lake Constance we had visited last year.  Sadly, we couldn’t visit as we had no Dinar yet and Euros were not accepted. We had to change money in Ohrid first.

Last Christmas, we got these nice stickers from our son 🙂

We had spent the night directly at the lake near Ohrid (41.118599, 20.786400). The next morning it was finally sunny but very cold. We could hike along the coast to Ohrid passing the postcard worthy Church of St. John at Kaneo.

Freezing cold
View back to our parking for the night
Church of St. John at Kaneo
Here we met a philosopher, who explained to us the history of Lake Ohrid.
The little settlement of Kaneo
Church of Saint Sophia in Ohrid
One of the historic buildings of Ohrid was open as a museum. It is the double house of the Robev family from the 19th century, when 2 brothers lived next to each other.

After we had explored the pedestrian area of Ohrid with many shops and cafés, we had lunch at a restaurant near the harbour before we hiked back around the mountain to our camper. In the afternoon we were heading north to the Mavrovo National Park.

We came through an area with many new houses

But soon we reached a river which was full of plastic bottles. We couldn’t imagine how it is possible that so much plastic gets into a river. Where a fallen tree was blocking the river, thousands of bottles were stopped and piled high. We saw that a couple of times. The side of the river was covered with plastic throughout. It was the worst we had ever seen. Just unbelievable!

When we reached the Mavoro National Park, thankfully the amount of rubbish was minimal. Great that they manage to keep this beautiful area mostly free of pollution.

Mountain villages with a mosque
Flower of the Day

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *