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Macedonia top of Lake Ohrid near Albania border

Travelogue Entry
Tags: macedonia
City: struga
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An amazing week working in a local village near the border of Albania, to provide a much-needed play area in front of the village hall. An older man offered to help us remove the base of a monument “for free!” he declared — maybe a remnant of something he’d rather forget. Beautiful weather, warm, down-to-earth people, incredible vistas in this region with snow-capped peaks. Inexpensive (cafe lunch beside Lake Ohrid for the equivalent of €4 each). A little rough around the edges—but that’s what I like. Can’t flush toilet paper; watch out for young guys in new Mercedes approaching you; little kids with bb guns shooting at you all in the name of fun; homes in utter disrepair that look as if nothing has been done to maintain their roofs or sides since 1940, juxtaposed with neat-looking hotels that would fit in any rich country’s tourist areas; the persistent strains of woodsmoke in the air everywhere you go; garbage on some corners and lots of stray dogs. Roads, however, were not bad. ATMs are few—get cash on arrival at Alexander the Great Airport (Skopje); you exit the Arrivals hall to the out-of-doors, but turn right and go into the more-modern check-in area and there’s a row of ATMs, cash exchange windows, a cafe/bar, and snack/gift shop. Denar are not traded outside of Macedonia, so spend it all. 1 Euro ~ 60 Denar last week.

We flew Adria Airways from Paris via Lublujana, and Slovenia is now on my “must see before moving away from Europe” list — the mountains on approach to LBJ Airport are stunning. Slovenia is a new EU member and use Euros. A friend in Munich said to think of Slovenia as “inexpensive Austria.” Adria Airways is excellent, by the way, and exceeded my expectations.