Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bother at the border!

Off we set with Edi and Renato in the children's work minibus, a smooth road and blue sky. Soon we arrived at the Nehemiah Centre in Pogradec where we will hold our Youth Camp at the end of July, with Liam our youth pastor. We met Elona Canallari who deals with the administration of our camp and confirmed the dates. It gave Lydia and Catherine the opportunity to see where the Youth Camp is held. Then on again, through Drilon a quiet beaautiful spot where a small river runs into Lake Ohrid and then to the Albania-Macedonia border. Quiet, very quiet. Probably the quietest border crossing I have ever been to. Just one other car and a couple walking through the border. Getting out of Albania was no problem, getting into Macedonia was a problem for Edi and potentially for us. The passport check was okay but they were checking the vehicles and the Police were unhappy with a broken window in the minibus that was taped over with plastic. Something that would be perfectly okay in Albania, in fact pretty normal. After giving Edi a hard time for twenty minutes whilst we sat patiently waiting and praying for them to make their decision as to what to do with us, they finally agreed to let us proceed as long as Edi fixed the broken window in Ohrid, else he would not be allowed out of Macedonia with his vehicle back into Albania. They produced a written order for him saying he must get it fixed and giving him permission to proceed only as far as Ohrid. I was relieved, as there were no taxis that could have taken us and frankly we would have been stuck. But on we went and then stopped for a short

break by the lakeside. Photos above with Ann, and below will give you some idea. It was totally calm, a beautiful blue sky and warm.

On the other side of the road I spotted these 2CV's and thought this is where they must come to die!

On to Ohrid where we went to the bus station, bought our tickets for the 3pm bus and then went for lunch by the lake. Life has it's compensations and this was one of them. We were seated under a tree looking towards

the lake about to tuck into a lovely fresh Shopska salad, with village sausage and chips. The tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce are all fresh and locally grown and strawberies are already in season here.

Then time to get the bus, say our farewells to Edi and start our 3 1/2 hour journey to Skopje. Sasha met us, took Catherine and Lydia to their hotel and then we went to their home as Ann and I were going to sleep in Sasha and Marija's bed. A cup of coffee and a sit down in a comfy chair, then time for us all to eat down town and then home again by 10pm ready for a brief nights sleep. The alarm was set for 2.15 am but I awoke at 2. Showered and shaved, cases packed and the taxi arrived soon after 3 with Lydia and Catherine already on board. Straight to the Alexander the Great Airport for our 5am flight, and now as I write this we are on the WIZZ air flight to London Luton. An excellent, enjoyable, fruitful, friendship building and tiring time. But I would do it again!

Love from Lydia and Catherine, who have excellent, positive and thoroughly enjoyable companions to travel with, Ann and me.




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