After three days in Bitola we were ready to get on the road to our next destination. However, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to since it had snowed about 6″ and we had neglected to buy snow chains or tires. Technically we were required to have snow chains and contemplated buying some, but decided not to since warmer temperatures were in the forecast.
When we got on the road we were relieved to find that the snow plows had completely cleared the way. About halfway to Ohrid we crossed over a mountain pass and on the other side there was no snow at all!
Ohrid Old Town
The town of Ohrid sits next to a lake of the same name. During the summer it is very popular with tourists, and boats whisk visitors to sites along the lake and into Albania on the other side.
Ohrid has a charming old town with structures dating back to Greek and Roman times. There are also many churches from the 13th and 14th century, including the Church of St. John at Kaneo.
From the Church of St. John we hiked up to the top of the hill overlooking Ohrid where Samuel’s Fortress stands. As we walked along the walls we noted that the construction didn’t seem particularly old. Our suspicions were confirmed when we read afterward that the fortress was reconstructed in 2003 on the original site.
After walking around the upper part of town we strolled along the shops and restaurants along the Old Bazaar Street. There we found a shop where we stocked up on winter hats and gloves.
Bay of Bones Museum
The next day we drove south from Ohrid to visit the Bay of Bones Museum, a reconstruction of a prehistoric village built on stilts in Lake Ohrid.
Inside the huts we saw how the ancient residents might have lived. Their homes had areas for livestock and beds filled with straw.
St. Naum Monastery
A bit further down the road we reached the Monastery of St. Naum. The Monastery is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country and as we walked from the parking lot to the monastery we passed by numerous shops and restaurants but these were mostly shuttered for the season.
The grounds are guarded by ferocious attack peacocks.
This one gave us the evil eye. We quickly walked the other direction.
The Monastery itself is beautifully constructed of rock, red brick and tiles.
Inside the walls are covered with frescoes depicting Christ and the saints.
After visiting Ohrid we can see why it is such a popular tourist destination. We could only imagine what it must be like in the summer when the town fills up.
In our next update we make our way to the capital city of Skopje. Check back soon!