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Dienstag, 15. August 2017

Radozda between sunrise and sunset - Travel Macedonia

On August 15, 2017
Lake Ohrid at sunrise, Jablanica mountain at sunset. In between, one of the most beautiful places at the Struga shore - Radozda.

A fishing village from the beginning of times. Presently, a tourism oasis, a destination for those seeking peace and tranquility, a rest for the body and soul.

People here lived from fishing, but also manufactured dinghies and boats, winches and fishhooks. Radozda villagers were masters of the craft of which they are still proud.

As time went by, it became difficult to live just off fishing and people started to emigrate. Families went to America and Australia, some in Europe, others in the region, but also across Macedonia. But they never forgot whey they come from.

Radozda is known for its hospitality, seen in its motels, restaurants, bars, but also the accommodation that offers a pleasant stay on the shores of Lake Ohrid, under the shade of Jablanica.

Radozda is situated on the western shore of the Ohrid Lake. It is 10 km south of the town Struga and 2 km from the Macedonian-Albanian border. The village is situated at 725 m above sea level.

A document from the era of Tsar Stefan Dusan has the village listed under the name Radobuzda. An Ottoman document from the year 1583 also records the village but under a different name Radohozda while a hand written document from the Serbian Branislav Nusic has the village listed as Radoozdz and Austrian-Hungarian maps have the village listed as Radoliozda or Radohozda.

The village has seven churches, the main one being St.Nicholas, built in the 18. century, while cave church Saint Archangel Michael dates back from the 14. century.

Another trait of the village is the preserved section of the Via Egnatia road, constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. About a hundred meters of the road has been maintained by the local population and dubbed "kaldrma" (cobblestone).

By Keti Mickovska

Sonntag, 13. August 2017

Rock Jumping Trpejca Lake Ohrid Macedonia

On August 13, 2017

Awesome clip from Macedonia, lake Ohrid. Some guys taking the rocks and so,e jumping in the clear and deep waters of lake Ohrid near Trpejca.

Donnerstag, 10. August 2017

Ohrid: The Jewel of Macedonia

On August 10, 2017
Ohrid is the reason to visit Macedonia.

The town is located on the shores of the aptly named Lake Ohrid and has a wonderful mix of natural beauty and historical monuments to keep you occupied for a few days.

I took the 3.5 hour bus to Ohrid after visiting Skopje of which there are several buses that run throughout the day. Upon checking in to Sunny Lake Hostel, run by the very friendly Gyoko, I instantly felt at home as the place is another reminder of the famous Balkan hospitality. In a lot of ways, you feel that he is running this place as if he was just having a constant stream of his friends over as he offers guests beers, tips on where to go and free use of the bikes despite the sign above reception suggesting they cost €5 per day.

On my first day, I followed a walking route that Gyoko recommended which took in the main sites of the town. I started by making the short but relatively steep walk to King Samoil’s Fortress which, like most fortresses, offers brilliant views of the surrounding area. The beauty here though is further exemplified due to the gorgeous lake and surrounding mountains.

The route then follows through the Old Town Park to the Early Christian Basilica and Saint Pantelejamon – the site of the oldest university in Europe and birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet. The area has changed between having churches and mosques built depending on the ruler of the time and they are currently reconstructing a church in the area.

The highlight, however, of my walk was just around the corner as I came across the Church of Saint John the Theologian. The small church is stunningly built on a cliff overlooking the lake and is certainly one of the most scenic locations for a church that I have come across during my travels in the Balkans. It was the perfect spot to sit down and people watch as I admired the full beauty of the lake and cliffs.

The rest of my walk passed through some small sandy beaches and a couple of other significant churches – the Saint Sophia and the Saint Bogorodica Perivlepta before taking me back to the main boulevards which are lined with restaurants, boutique shops and cafes. My favourite spot was the small family run business of Dr Falafel whose menu of falafel, hummus, or falafel and hummus is simple but incredibly tasty and a rare vegetarian option.

On my second day, I made use of Gyoko’s generosity and took a bike out to ride around the lake. Not having much of an itinerary in mind, I rode west along the lake’s banks and within a kilometre, I was outside the built-up areas of the town and could enjoy the peaceful scenery. There wasn’t much in the way of sites or churches to see, however, I found an abandoned beach and enjoyed a couple of peaceful hours reading a book while staring out onto Lake Ohrid.

As I checked out the next day, Gyoko’s hospitality didn’t end as he walked me to the shared taxi stand, 15 minutes away from the hostel and negotiated a fair price for me to get to Struga, where I was catching my bus to Tirana.

Most of my time in Ohrid was unfortunately met with rain and chilly weather, however, despite this, the beauty of the town was undeniable and I can’t wait to visit again so I can experience it in all its glory on a warm sunny day.

Article By Michael Rozenblit

Samstag, 5. August 2017

Breathtaking Balkans: The Best of Ohrid, Macedonia

On August 05, 2017
On the shores of one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes, you will find a confluence that defines the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: cobblestoned paths lined with ornate churches lead to lakeside beaches and cafes that fill with sunbathers each summer. Legend has it that at one point, Ohrid, the largest town on the eponymous lake that forms Macedonia’s southwest border with Albania, was home to 365 churches: one for every day of the year.

While the many churches and monasteries that dot the lakeshore boast some of the best examples of Macedonian Orthodox iconography—and the seat of the religion has rested here since 2005—Ohrid and the surrounding region have plenty to offer believers and non-believers alike. For adventure enthusiasts, the town sits between three of Macedonia’s national parks where one can find great hiking, biking, rock climbing and paragliding. For the oenophiles, Ohrid is an easy day trip to many of the 84 wineries that make up Macedonia’s up-and-coming wine industry. To discover these wineries, and get an insider’s take on any activity, look up local tour operator Time for Macedonia can help organize activities to suit anyone’s interests around Ohrid and beyond.

For those looking to party as the locals do, visit during the annual Ohrid Summer Festival, which takes place from July 12 to August 20 this summer and will be capped off with a Prodigy concert that is expected to draw 15,000 visitors to the region. One can happily spend a weekend at the summer beach parties on Gradiste Beach or Plaza Orevce, but check out our other recommendations for a two-day stop in Macedonia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site that are good for spring and fall as well.

Day One

The morning light makes for some of the best views over the lake, so head over to the family-owned Gladiator Restaurant to sip a macchiato or cafe frappé from the balcony, which sits just above the western side of the Ancient Theatre. The theatre, originally built in 200 BC, has hosted everything from gladiator fights during the Roman times to high-profile classical music concerts during recent summer festivals. The restaurant manager will be glad to share local advice for your stay in Ohrid. His wife’s family has lived in the building that houses the restaurant for generations.

After coffee, make your way over to one of Ohrid’s most iconic landmarks: the medieval Church of St. John at Kaneo. You will likely be approached by a local guide offering a half-day tour of the church, as well as the archeological site of Plaošnik, the rebuilt Church of Saints Kliment and Panteleimon, the 10th century Samuil Fortress, and any other sites you care to squeeze in. You’ll be expected to negotiate the price, but plan to settle somewhere around 3,000 MKD ($55) for your group—the unofficial price agreed by the local guides.

No doubt famished from your morning of climbing from church to fortress, make your way down the winding stairs to Kaneo Beach, the site of one of Ohrid’s original fishing villages and the modern location of one of its best fish restaurants. Take a dip in the lake directly from the restaurant’s “summer terrace” as you await your meal of fried lake fish—plasica (eaten whole like sardines)—or the famous Ohrid brown trout.

After lunch, take time to get lost in the city’s old town. If you haven’t yet, make sure to visit St. Sofia Cathedral and its beautifully preserved frescoes from the 11th to 13th centuries. From there, take Tsar Samuil Street to the National Workshop for Handmade Paper to buy a leather-bound book or simply to see a copy of the Gutenberg Printing Press in action. Continue on to the left for a wander through the Old Bazaar until you get to one of Ohrid’s quirkier sites: a 900-year-old cinar, or plane tree, which is held up by a combination of padded boards and a soda stand.

Many of your queries about the town are likely being answered at this point, but if you have a question about Ohrid, head back down to Tsar Samuil Street to Cultura 365, which hosts regular photo exhibitions and offers books and information on the region. Culturally overloaded? Opt instead for a nice glass of Macedonia’s staple red wine, Vranec, as you watch the sunset from the lakeside terrace at Liquid Cafe.

For dinner, there is no better choice for traditional food than Restaurant Antiko, an old mansion on Tsar Samuil Street that serves some of the city’s tastiest ajvar (a roasted pepper spread) and sarma, cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid a taste of rakija, the local fruit-based liquor, head over to NOA Lounge Bar for a dram or a cocktail from their extensive list. Wind up the night with a rakija or two more at Jazz Inn, a cool live music venue with a hip crowd.

Day Two

Start the morning off with a leisurely coffee on the terrace at Kadmo Bar before making your way to the port for the 10 a.m. boat to St. Naum. The boats run regularly June to August, but check with locals for availability outside the peak summer months. The 90-minute journey is the best way to get across the lake while viewing some striking waterfront homes and the splendor of Galicica mountain and national park. You will dock just in front of St. Naum Monastery, a Byzantine-era church complex known for its world-class examples of iconography and the peacocks that strut across its grounds.

For lunch, walk the short distance to Restaurant Ostrovo for a meal of prolonged meze Macedonian-style. Set to the backdrop of a quartet playing traditional music, you will be served plate after plate of fresh local cheese, flaky spinach pie, and bowls of Shopska salad while you look out on the small boats paddling in the spring that connects Lake Ohrid with nearby Lake Prespa. Make sure to leave room for tavce gravce, a white bean stew flavored with fresh paprika.

After your meal, Restaurant Ostrovo is also one of the many places around the lake where you will find Ohrid Pearls for sale. Risteski, one of the original pearl-making families, offers some of the finest quality. Feel free to do a bit of shopping after lunch. Unlike traditional oyster pearls, the Ohrid Pearl is actually made from the scales of the tiny plasica fish, which is only found in Lake Ohrid. Make sure to also peruse the other stalls along the port selling local handicrafts while you await your tour operator for the afternoon’s activity: paragliding.

If arranged in advance, Paragliding Ohrid can pick you up from St. Naum and take you up the winding path to one of their jump points: a ledge off of Galicica Park overlooking the lake and nearby village of Trpejca. With prices ranging from 3600-4600 MKD ($65-$85) for two to four hour experiences, the company offers tandem paragliding (as well as individual lessons) and boasts a record of 6,000 accident-free jumps to date.

Ask the tour operator to drop you at the quiet, but lovely Trpejca Beach for a quick dip in the water and a lounge on the sand. Grab a table at Kaj Ribarot, one of the best restaurants on the lake. Make sure to save room for a dessert of gooey baklava or honey-soaked tulumbi. For 120 MKD (about $2 per person), you can catch a bus from the village back to Ohrid (last one departs around 7:30pm) or you can taxi back for around $20. On your way back into town, consider a night of dancing or a quick night cap at Cuba Libre Beach Bar.

Getting Here 
While Ohrid has an international airport, it is often cheaper to fly into Skopje and take a bus or rental car to make the scenic 200 km trip. Low-cost carrier Wizz Air makes direct flights into Skopje from around the Balkans and Western Europe.

Where to Stay 
The 20-room City Palace Hotel boasts a central location with restaurant and spa starting at $190 in the peak summer season. For the slightly more budget-conscious, Villa Mal Sveti Kliment is a cozy guesthouse with great lake views and a delicious breakfast. There is also camping available near Gradiste Beach, where you can rent a trailer or cabin.

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