I didn’t do the hike. And I have no regrets about not having seen the lakes. They’re going nowhere, so I can visit them whenever I want in the future, in a different season.
What happened? They’d sent me the same driver, a guy who doesn’t speak a word of English and who reminded me of Manuel, the clumsy and chaotic waiter from Fawlty Towers. Even if the man’s intentions were good, he did not drop me off where I wanted to start the hike.
On the road, He had aleady asked several villagers where the starting point was. Not really something one expects of a taxi driver. Because it looked nothing Elena’s description, I called her and put her on the phone with the driver and the neighbour. They insisted that they were right and Elena was wrong, there was no path that fit her description. This man had lived in de village for more than 20 years, if such a path existed, they would have known.
There are 3 ways to the top:
- the rocky trail, which I hope to hike one day, it a big big challenge and it’s very scenic (but dangerous, also)
- the ski lift trail, which is comforable and is Elena’s favourite
- the goat’s trail, as I call it, which is really the oficial one – it is marked.
I did start to follow the red dots, but soon it became more of a pain than a pleasure. After walking for 30 minutes, a steep climb, in the sun (hardly any shade!), goat’s steps in the sand, goat’s and other animals’ dung on the track – not to mention the flies, I decided to all it quits. The beginning was pretty, though.
My water supply had diminished way too fast, I realised the view wouldn’t be worth the effert I’d have to put in. On my way back (fast, because happy to get out of there), I bumped into two young, enthusiastic well equipped hikers. Hikers always come in pairs. For safety. I’m patient. That mountain will still be there in 20 years. Take my time (and excercise more).
I followed the road for cars, much easier, walked a bit uphill, the prettiest of mountain landscapes rolling out in front of me. To make it better, a nice red Mini Cooper convertable is all it takes. And big shade and a scarf for your hair.
That day, I walked the full 20 km back to Bitola. Well yes, I had booked a massage, so there was no excuse not to get some excercise. Gigantic mountain houses with lots of land, a restaurant with a view, some goats (on a walk up to the mountains, ladies? Your track starts right there. Watch your steps though.)
Pelister, really worth a detour.
My last stop in Macedonia was Kruševo, a paragliders’ paradise with the best of sunrises. Skopje-Ohrid-Bitola-Kruševo. What a country. Warm, friendly people who will always offer you their help.
Today I am in Sofia, I arrived yesterday after a trip that took 9 hours, from 5 AM to 14 AM. I’m bit tired, so I chill out in Rd. Vitosha, there are shops, boutiques, restaurants, loung bars. All wih air conditioning! Not that bad.
Tomorrow hopefully get to the Rila Monastery, than continue to Plovdiv.