On being on the road

Current position: Bitola. Booked three nights here, because I would like to go hiking in Macedonia’s second highest mountain; 2.600 metres altitude, located in natural park Pelister.

As foreseen, nothing went as foreseen to get here from Ohrid. The taxi that should have taken us to the bus stop before 10.10 never showed up. We were three waiting in vain for the car, I even asked the hostel to call for another one, still nothing, so we decided to go on foot. A forty five minutes brisk walk with a Londoner an a Frenchman from Valenciennes: money we did not spend on transport, a cool conversation on travel, and a nice workout. We arrived at 11.00, the next bus would be at 12.20.

My options were either going for a drink and blog, or ask around to share a taxi. Lucky as one sometimes can be, a woman named Vesna who works in the tourist industry offered us to join her on her trip back home, Bitola, my next destination. I didn’t really understand what kind of transport company it was, but the ride in a decent car with air-conditioning was a lot nicer than the overcrowded, slow bus I remembered from Skopje to Orhid. And all this for exactly the same price. I’m definitely going to meet up with Vesna in the next days, she lives 3 minutes away from my hostel.

There is a lot of charm in being a solo traveller. When you stay in hostels and not in hotels, you get to meet a whole different crowd, always resourceful and with lots of wanderlust. People from all over the planet, who hang out and exchange information on their country or places they’ve visited, it can be very refreshing. There is no age limit for staying in what we used to call a “Youth Hostel”. The oldest person I ever met in a backpackers place, was this spring at Cuba Hostel in St. Peterburg.  It was an 80 year old man traveling with his son.

I like the laid back vibe, and sometimes you get to see the kindness of strangers.

When I came back from my paragliding flight yesterday, I stopped by at a shop where I saw these tomatoes fresh from the countryside, and they looked so great that I just had to try making one of my favourite recipes with them.

Here’ a picture of the ingredients:

  
The garlic and onions were already frying. Usually one uses Boursin for this pasta sauce, but any cheese spread with herbes de Provence will do the trick. Add chili peppers as well, or use chili flakes. It’s a weight watchers recipe that I got from my youngest sister, who made it her own by adding cooking cream to it 😊

As usual, I made way too much food, so we ended up with five finishing it. A German guy did the dishes, and what was more, when I got back from a visit around the lake, I found a delicious oven dish on the table, still hot.

  
The same young man had grilled a few eggplants, with some spicy meat and tasty local cheese on top. Heaven! Much better and healthier than restaurant food, which, to be honest, gets boring after a while. Thank you once more, it was fantastic.

More travel luck I had: there was a free folklore festival on at the amphitheatre, a perfect closure of a good day.

Some pictures to give you a taste of my last day in Ohrid:

  
   

    
    

   

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