Week 131 October 1, 2016

This week, still on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia, we rented bicycles one day. We rode from the Old Town of Ohrid, around part of the beautiful clear deep blue lake, through Struga to Kalishta, to our destination to see a cave church. We went partway into the dark interior, but it was hard to capture a photo of the facade. It was unmistakably an autumn day of bright sun with a chilled wind indicating summer is all but over. We hired friendly Joko and his boat to ride us back to Ohrid, and enjoyed seeing the sunset together with him.
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What we notice now – and often have a taste of thanks to Loren’s daring filching – are the ripe fruits of many laden grape vines, and apple and fig trees.
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Our AirBnB was right next to the lake where we enjoyed most of our meals on the patio. A plethora of birds entertained us, flitting from boat to shore, preening and sunning. At this time of year, swans teach their cygnets to practicing flying in preparation to migrate for the winter.
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In looking over a few tourist brochures, I learned that Constantine Miladinov’s Poem, Longing for the South is read at the start of each annual Poetry Festival that is held in Strega. I also was moved by this quote:
“Senses are gates of our souls.”
We had a memorable day tour to see parts of the lake with Georgi, our AirBnB host. He stopped for us to take photos, to see the Museum of Bones – a recreated historic village, the National Park Galicica with St Naum Springs – a water source of the lake, and, the Monastery of SvNaum– St Naum, with its resident peacocks.
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Then we crossed the border into Albania. Georgi drove us to Korce, before stopping for lamb chops and a glass of Kosac, which is also the name of a local Albanian birra – beer.
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The restaurant where we ate has a collection of books and one jumped out at me about the life of Stiv Xhobs – Steve Jobs. At the back of the book, the only part printed in English, was his Commencement Address to the Stanford University graduating class of 2005. It was good to be reminded again of his reflections that I had read some years ago.
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As we have seen in many places there are numerous cats out and about. Recently though we have also seen many dogs on the loose. It is entertaining to observe their behaviors – lying lazily in the sun, striking up friendships with each other, trotting along as if they have important engagements to attend. One little pair scampering towards me were so enamored with nosing each other side by side as they approached that they did not see me and ran into my leg. One of them appeared to be so baffled, as if to say, “What just happened here?” It was quite amusing. One little one actually joined us, then guided us, from a lake edge trail up through myriad paths to the fortress we intended to visit. It made sure that we entered the gate safely and waited as we paid, then merrily trotted on down the hill.
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We had a pleasant morning walk at Lake Ohrid before we left by bus to travel to Bitola, then by taxi to Di Hovo. At our Di Hovo Villa we met a young couple on holiday. She is from Moscow and lives half the year in Berlin, while he is from The Netherlands, worked in Moscow where they met, and currently lives in Berlin. We had a long conversation over a leisurely breakfast then went on a hike together to see a creek and waterfalls. The next day we enjoyed a hike to a monastery together. It is always delightful to  find kindred souls to share some travel experiences and explore new places together.
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Now, traveling again by taxi we have arrived in the nearby city of Bitola. We look forward to attending a piano concert here this evening!
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PLEASE NOTE: While this week we have internet coverage, we may not always have service in the next few weeks. Please check back here, I will share my weekly post when and as often as I can.

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