Shine On Liberty Sun

Rocks for goal posts
17th September 2018

It was so peaceful here we had the best night's sleep. It was helped by the blackout blinds working so well that even at 8am, with the sun shinning brightly outside, it was as dark as night inside. 

We went down for breakfast around 9am. There were a few more guests around this time. They had an impressive buffet spread from which to help ourselves.  I had a plate full of cheese, a boild egg, a fried egg, a dollop of ajvar, french toast and two slices of this strange looking savoury swiss rolls. I couldn't see any specks of meat in them so I put them on my plate.

They turned out to be absolutely delicious! One was green and the other was orange which I assumed the sponge was coloured with spinach and red pepper. On the downside, everything was cold, which was fine except for the fried egg. Eating a cold fried egg was challenging. 

It was the same for Julie's breakfast, but somehow eating a cold sausage wasn't so bad. I should have mentioned it but it was Frank, the waiter, buzzing around again. I didn't want to interupt his flow. 

We didn't have to check-out until 12pm so we didn't, choosing instead to sit on the balcony relaxing for as long as we could. Julie was a little preoccupied worrying about Hannah who was going through her operation today. 

Right on the stroke of midday we paid our bill and left the Radika Mountain Resort.  From here we were a little over an hour away from Skopje, the capital, but we decided to head straight back to Ohrid.


We took the road towards Gostivar, then soon turned South down the E65. In theory we would made it back to our apartment in less than two hours but we were making slow progress due to roadworks and constantly getting caught behind slow moving trucks. 

To break the monotony of the journey we pulled over at a roadside cafe called Palma just outside the village of Zajas, near Kichevo.

It was a popular place with groups of workmen drinking coffee, families having lunch, and a steady flow of people picking up take-out pizzas. At first we only ordered coffee but the smell of pizza was irresistble so we ordered a mushroom one to share.  

I have to say it was absolutely delicious. "They certainly have some great mushrooms in this part of the world!" I said as I topped up my funghi levels. Also the cheese they used had a brie-like creaminess to it. No wonder it was a popular place.

They had good internet here as well which was really useful as Julie managed to speak to Hannah using Facebook messenger's audio call. She had just got back to the ward after having her operation. She was drowsy, still coming out of the anaesthetic but she was fine. It was a great relief.   

Back on the road we probably still had over half the journey to go. We could see that the construction of the A2 four laned autopat connecting Skpoje and Ohrid was underway. It's scheduled to be completed in 2019. (So that'll be 2024 then!)

 Eventually, at about 3pm we returned to Ohrid and parked outside our apartment. The journey whilst not long was intense and tiring, constantly a few metres behind the back end of a lorry, never seeing the road ahead. 

The afternoon was spent lounging about as we both agreed that a siesta was in order.

It was three hours later we dragged ourselves out for some supper. We didn't have the energy to walk down, or more importantly back up the hill so we made our way across to Gladiator, the restaurant we ate on our first evening.

On the way we took a closer look at the Greek amphitheatre. It was a small semi-circle with only a dozen rows of steps/seats neatly nestled into the hillside. It's believed the original construction dates back to 200 BC. It's now fully restored and is often used for performances, especially during the city's Summer Festival, a six week feast of music every July/August.  

A permanent stage had been built, complete with a stantion for the lighting rig. We walked down to the front and stepped onto the stage graced by many world-renowned artists, none more prominent than Jose Carreras. It's not all just classical either, apparently back in July famous Italian pop singer Zucchero Fornaciari performed here.

We left the amphitheatre and walked the short distance to the Gladiator restaurant. Instead of sitting on their uncomfortable seats outside we asked this time if we could be seated on their balcony. The waiter obliged. He had this expressionless  unsmiling look on his face. I don't think it was a reflection of anything, it's just some peope are like that. 

He looked at us as if he was trying to remember where he had seen us before. We let him struggle until his penny dropped. "You were here on Thursday?" he half questioned.   We smiled and nodded, he nodded back.

We browsed themenu but got distracted by the wonderful view from the balcony. It overlooked the amphitheatre and the rooftops of the old town. When he returned to take our order we hadn't even looked at our choices. We weren't popular. I'm sure he huffed as he walked back down the stairs. 

Then when we were ready to order he was nowhere to be seen.

Eventually it was done and the food quickly arrived afterwards. For an appetiser we asked for some dips which included the now familar delicious ajvar but also a new dip called makalo, an intensly garlicky yogurt/sour cream dip, quickly becoming our new favourite. They were both scooped up with pieces of crusty bread.

Also as a starter we shared a traditional Macedonian cheese pie. When I say shared it wasn't exaclty split 50:50. It was very tasty and moreish, with layers of pastry laced with specks of feta style cheese. Delicious and very filling for a first course. 

For a main I chose a platter of roasted vegetables with more dips and Julie went for Chicken and chips. The best part of the meal however was dipping the chips into the makalo. It was a beatiful thing. Stunning. 

It was all washed down with a jug of local Macedonian wine. Our first impression from its rustic presentation was of concern but we needn't have worried. It was very good.

Evening came quickly whilst we were eating.  We watched as the sky darkened. We were also entertained in the amphitheatre by two kids playing football with rocks for goalposts.

By the time we left Gladiator it was dark. As everywhere in the old town all the lanes were well lit. Before returning to the apartment we popped to the small supermarket for some breakfast supplies. We bumped into Ivanna (the apartment's owner) pushing a pushchair up the hill.

We had a brief chat about the apartment, making sure all was well and talked about our plans for the next few days.

The remainder of the evening was spent on our balcony. We face-timed the grandchildren and had a chat with each one in turn, although baby Blake was oblivious.

After having had a siesta we weren't tired but still decided on an early night. Our plans for tomorrow involved an early start, we even set alarms to make sure we got up in time.

  Next Day >>>  

ęCopyright 2018 Colin Owen