Lake Ohrid / Galicica National Park

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Lake Ohrid

Tuesday, June 4
After breakfast, we left Tirana and started driving towards Elbasan town and through the valley of Shkumbin crossing the border into North Macedonia and stopping in the small resort of Struga on Lake Ohrid. The town's cut in half by the Black Drim River that flows right through the middle, and it's lined on both sides by bars and restaurants.

After our visit, we drove further to Lake Ohrid, which is situated against a dramatic mountain backdrop. Founded over 2400 years ago, Ohrid has a wealth of heritage and is today an important cultural and spiritual centre. To help its protection both the town and lake were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The lake is one of the oldest in the world and allegedly there are some 365 churches, monasteries, and other religious sites around the lake.

After settling in our hotel, we explored Ohrid on a 2.5 hour walking tour, soaking up the mix of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture in the city including the Old Bazaar, the Amphitheatre, and the Old Castle Walls.
Church of St. John at Kaneo (Macedonian Orthodox Church)

Later that evening, Corinne and I had dinner at a restaurant on the lake where we had some fabulous trout.

Lake Ohrid & Saint Naum Monastery

Wednesday, June 5
It was drizzling rain a bit this morning, but Corinne and I still ventured out to visit St. Sophia Church. The church was designed and built with a blended traditional Byzantine style with local elements, creating a unique and unforgettable masterpiece. One of the most striking features of the church is its exterior, with its intricate carvings and soaring walls. The stone reliefs depict scenes from the Bible, as well as local legends and historical events. Inside the church, the walls and ceilings are covered in exquisite frescoes, painted by some of the greatest artists of the Byzantine era. There are depictions of the saints, the apostles, and the life of Christ, as well as scenes from the daily lives of the people of Ohrid.

Later morning, our group took a boat ride to Saint Naum, an imposing sight on one of the lake's peninsulas, close to the Albanian border.
Fortunately, the weather improved and we had an enjoyable boat ride and lunch before visiting the monastery of Saint Naum.
We had lunch at a very cool floating restaurant. As we were eating, we noticed one portion of the restaurant next to us floating away! I had a nice salad and a traditional savoury pie (Gomleze) which didn't appeal to me. I had tasted it elsewhere already and didn't like it, but didn't realize I was ordering the same thing! It is prepared with a simple flour batter that is repeatedly poured in a pan, and while it bakes, each layer is coated in oil.20240605_124916.jpg98573b80-2e80-11ef-8a8d-2b25a1e5ea73.jpg988688e0-2e80-11ef-9cf2-1d9043b080c8.jpgIMG-20240607-WA0016.jpg20240605_132606.jpg98aa8ba0-2e80-11ef-8a8d-2b25a1e5ea73.jpg20240605_130812.jpg

The monastery of Saint Naum is surrounded by sandy beaches and inside we found impressive frescoes.

In the afternoon, we drove through the Galicica National Park to Lake Prespa. We had an enjoyable scenic drive, stopping at the viewpoint overlooking both lakes.
Straddling the borders of Albania, North Macedonia and Greece, Lake Prespa is a unique transboundary lake shared by all three countries. It serves as a symbol of harmony and cooperation in the region. Prespa is home to more than 260 bird species, many of which are endanged or rare species.

We had some free time in the evening where Corinne and I did some more exploring and stopped for a quick Greek quesadilla, which was actually a thick panini type sandwich. Quite delicious ... just not what I expected!

Corinne got the "executive suite" with a great view overlooking the lake, so we had a nice evening visiting on her balcony enjoying the ambience.

This featured blog entry was written by liztravels from the blog 2024 Europe Adventure.
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By liztravels

Posted Wed, Jun 19, 2024 | Macedonia | Comments