Ok, so my fascination with Lake Ohrid started about a year ago. I had a trip to Kosovo, and I looked into how to get to Ohrid, but there were no good travel options. Fast forward to now, my friend rented a car, and liked driving way more than I did, so the 4 hour drive from Kosovo to Ohrid was nothing to him.
Funny, about an hour from Ohrid we stopped at a gas station for some food. The guy there told us to keep our receipts, because the cops in Macedonia question you if they see you bought things. Basically, they ask for your receipt to ensure you didn’t raid and rob a convenience store. I’m sure if you didn’t have the receipt a bribe would be accepted…Eastern European cops are definitely a bit shady.
We finally made it to Ohrid, but not without some drama. We got lost, thanks to Adrian’s GPS, which would hound us the entire trip. Thanks to the Macedonian couple who called our hotel while we were driving aimlessly, and arranged for us to meet up with them. Back to Lake Ohrid, this is the oldest lake in Europe.
I admit I was fascinated, but I also admit that coming to a lake resort in January may not be the best idea. Ohrid was, for the most part, dead. Most of the people I met were locals, as it’s clear they rely on summer tourism. Ohrid was, however, a nice little city, even in the off-season. The lake was beautiful, unfortunately it was too cold for there to be any options to go out on the water.
We spent a few hours walking around the entire city. Stopped by the Plaoshnik, an archaeological site that also had St. Clement’s Church on its grounds. The place was undergoing construction at the time, but the outside and inside of the church was beautiful, and very old…built in 893, according to Wikipedia.
We dropped by the ancient theatre, which was built in 200 BC. This was very cool, I see why they picked the location, as there were great views of the lake from here. Comically, I tried my best Julius Caesar rendition on-stage, which ended up being pretty bad.
Later in the evening we found Ohrid’s only Irish pub…again, every city has one. I ended up hanging out with the owner till very late, and he gave me an abridged and drunken overview of Macedonia’s relationship with Kosovo and Albania. He drew a great map on a cocktail napkin, which I wish I would’ve kept…would’ve been great for the travel blog!
The local beer, Zlaten Dab, was above average, and overall the locals were very pleasant. I must admit not knowing much about Alexander the Great, but I saw his face everywhere in all the tourist shops…so I get that he was a big deal here at one time. The only real bad thing that happened here was my friend’s ATM card got eaten when the machine shut down in the middle of the transaction. This is now the second time I’ve seen this happen on my travels, though not to me yet…another reason why it’s good to always maintain two checking accounts when traveling over here.
We left early on Sunday morning to head back to Tirana, and a flight we would end up missing…but that’s a story for later.