Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ohrid, Охрид, Macedonia

Today Ann and me with Ilir Koçi have been to Ohrid, Macedonia and back. In May Catrina Benham speaks at the two day ladies UNIKE Conference in Tirana, Albania. A week later Catrina will be speaking at our first ladies Conference in Skopje, Macedonia that will gather women from Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria. Should she fly home from Tirana (there aren't direct flights every day) only to fly out again a couple of days later to Skopje (again there aren't direct flights daily). All round we decided it best that Catrina travel on from Tirana and stay for a few days at Ohrid, Macedonia by the lake of the same name giving her time to catch up with herself. Ann and I have been to Ohrid a few times and know what a nice place it is for a few days. Other people are catching on. WIZZ air now fly here to the Saint Paul the Apostle airport and the Rough Guide recently named it as one of 20 best places to see in Europe on a budget.

From Elbasan in Albania, the road climbs continually to the still snow topped mountains that divide Albania and Macedonia and the border crossing. We were able to get a taxi from the Macedonian side (they are not always there) to Ohrid. We arrived by the lakeside to see and hear hordes of kindergarten aged children gathered with their parents being entertained near the statue of Saint Clement of Ohrid. I am not sure what he would have made of it!
St Clement was a disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Greeks, who invented the forerunner of the Cyrillic script in their endeavours to reach the Slav people for Christ and the Orthodox Church. In coming to Macedonia one has stepped into the world of the Cyrillic script, the alphabet that Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian are written in.
We had come to check out a number of hotels that line the lakeside. To read reports on Tripadvisor is one thing but we wanted to see how big the rooms are, how clean they are, check out the facilities, is there air con, does everything work, and if they really have a view of the lake!
Having exchanged some money and checked out five hotels, (I could show photos of bedrooms, balconies, and bathrooms galore,) it was time for lunch in the increasing heat, 26C by lunchtime. Below is a classic in this part of the world Shopska salad. Macedonian meals are pretty hearty affairs often beginning with soup and then salad. Shopska salad is a salad made with tomato, cucumber, peppers and onions cut small drenched in a grated mild sirene cheese. It is the most recognisable and best known salad in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and even in Romania. This is followed by the main course often of some form of smoked pork meat, chops, sausages etc.
My main course was liver and bacon with rice and unsurprisingly, macedoine.
Here is Ann enjoying her lunch
And here are Ann and Ilir by the lakeside with part of Ohrid in the background, as it climbs up the hill to a castle that overlooks the city.
And finally before we caught a taxi back to the Macedonian border, a last look at a statue of Saints Cyril and Methodius who were key in seeing this part of Europe impacted by Orthodox Christianity.
May Catrina and Marija who leads the Conference in May, hugely impact the women who will hear them for the building of the church in today's world.
 Бог да те благослови
God bless you.
Ken and Ann


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