Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Moving on

We left Turkey overland, with a bit of pain in the heart. It has been such a good country to travel in, with its hospitality, the surprisingly delicious local dishes, more or less unspoiled countryside, the small men on their donkeys.

We found a beautiful spot on a beach in Greece to stay overnight, though in the morning we noticed it was just next to a large military area, maybe that´s why we got checked by civilian police in the morning. Not all too bad, but this day we were being stopped three times by the police and asked for our passports. And we know we are lucky with our fancy Swedish and Dutch ones, imagine being a Turk traveling through Greece!
Next day we drove to Kavala, a small coast town in Northern Greece. We enjoyed the food and the local atmosphere of the old town, but for the rest we did not find this part of Greece so inspiring so we decided to move on.

We entered the country of Macedonia (FYROM for the purists) and found it amazing to see the difference of landscape just changing when you pass a border. From summer we drove into spring again, with fresh green leaves and spring flowers. We climbed the mountains and found a spot high above the beautiful lake of Ohrid, very close to the Albanian border. The lake is surrounded by steep mountains, some with snow peaks, and we realized this was one of our most beautiful spots ever. Such a silent, overwhelming view, and just us here, high above everything. We were a bit afraid for encounters with border police, and in the morning two cars stopped next to us and a group of men, some of them in military uniform, stepped out and… just smiled at us.
We had picturesque expectations of Ohrid from a book written seventy years ago. Ohrid is not that unspoiled anymore, filled with grey architecture from Tito´s times, and new, plastic bars and shops. The old city is still worth visiting with its small houses and old churches, but one realizes the world has changed. The Ohrid you get is the tourist version of what it was once, as with most interesting places.

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