This morning I woke up perfectly, finally a good bed! Too bad we had to get up quite early to go to breakfast. This day has somehow been the limit for me, but I have to go on. With almost constant music and any second alone that I can take without getting frowned upon, I survived. Breakfast was good and afterwards we celebrated Jelle's birthday with a giant cake with candles. The barman even opened two bottles of champagne, not that I took any of those two but it was still very nice. We began our tour again with singing and some people suddenly took out those party whistles. Sadly we already had to say goodbye to our bus driver, so we had a speech about him protecting all of our lives and not letting us die on those risky roads and then he took off. On foot we continued our sightseeing and visited many churches where I had to use my scarf to cover up my bare legs, and where we weren't allowed to take pictures, but especially the frescos were beautiful, really beautiful. Some icon gallery, ancient theatre in the style of Epidaurus and drinking stop later we went by boats back to the square of Ohrid and had some free time. I bought a charm for my bracelet and a sort of recorder. Too bad I couldn´t find a real flute instead of one that makes music when you blow on it without having to try hard. Gonna continue typing when I get back from dinner ;). BTW, thank the world for autocorrect, without this all would be impossible to read.
I don't remember all the things we did when we got back at our hotel as I didn't have the will to get our my phone and type a bit. What I do remember is that I had to go to sleep early because I was sick. Not any more but still. After we drank some and had eaten some crisps, I wanted to go to bed, but first we had to get rid of the enormous grasshopper kind of creature. We had spotted it in our room after we arrived, a green insect with huge back legs that could jump very high. We took some awesome pictures of it but an hour later he was nowhere to be found. So we searched and found the thing. I also wanted to smash another insect but it got in my hair and then disappeared to somewhere else. After another bad night with dreaming in a hard bed we had breakfast and went to the monastery of Naum by bus. That turned out to be rather difficult since the roads weren't designed for our sort of bus. Some near death experiences later we arrived at the place but it appeared it was too crowded for us to go. So we went in the boats first and a nice guy guided and rowed us through the river slash stream that ended in Ohrid lake. The water here is too clear to be true and the scenery was magnificent. The monastery itself was a small disappointment as it was really small and not as good as the amount of tourists, mostly fellow Dutchmen, made it seem like. I guess it's because I'm used to the Greek versions, which are similar, and I have seen many before. We travelled further by motorboats after a lunch in the fishing region of Macedonia, near Albania. The fish was quite nice but the dessert, a cold pancake with duo penotti on it wasn't really tasty. The boats brought us to a town near the coast and the bus took us further to the hotel. There we were allowed to swim so immediately we redressed and left. My parents, overprotective as they are, totally freaked out when I hadn't told them I was going to swim for a while because they were afraid I might get sick again. Sure, first don't believe me when something is wrong, and then hold it against me by not believing I'm well enough to swim. They were right about the fact that I wasn't feeling well but I'm not going to give them the satisfaction, besides, if I were to tell them every time I feel sick or unwell, they would send me to a hospital immediately I guess. Then I wanted to walk alongside the shore, but my mom insisted on joining me, luckily my dad let me. After dinner, which was tasteless btw, I spend the evening chatting with Jelle and Milan, and dancing some time with Milan. As the night went on, the songs became more and more western, which I disliked very much. In the beginning we were dancing on Macedonian songs, or at least Balkan. We danced on many songs and I even tried to teach him salsa but that's not gonna work. The Macedonian folksongs were good to dance, the first I knew already and the second I learned in a few minutes. It was really great to dance with him and as we waited for a good song on the sideline I experienced what I already knew, in this country it's normal to keep close to each other. How do I put this? If we were in Holland everybody would agree we must be a couple, even an obvious one, but there it's normal. Though it's still stranger to see the how men hug each other.. LoL.. As it is Jelle's birthday tomorrow we kinda discussed parents and rules and alcohol and stuff like that. It's nice to talk freely for once this holidays and to be alone, or in other words, not with my parents around, and they really always are. And they don't notice anything about me. They didn't see that I was unwell last day, they can't notice I want to be left in peace, instead of being interrupted every minute with some stupid question. Milan could see it in my eyes very clear that I was a dreamer, and waited patiently with comments. If only they could understand me as good as he appears to be able to in only one week. But this isn't a complaint page, it's a travel journey, so I'm gonna quit rambling as I'm in my bed now. Tomorrow is another day, until then!
Yesterday was pretty nice with some typical food for dinner. After dinner we went all the way up to the fifth floor or something like that because they told us we could pool over there. After waiting for the keys to open up the place and waiting again for the right key, we discovered that there weren't any balls to play with, so we went back to the ground floor to get some drinks and stuff. Milan and I played some chess and after he had helped me on my way to winning we talked about many things. Languages, countries, music, dancing and singing. Some other people joined and the conversation evolved onto a discussion about Greece and governments. A funny try at learning Macedonian and me talking it from written in normal alphabet. At least he could understand what I tempted to read so my pronunciation must be not that bad. Soon it was midnight and my mother came telling me and Loek we had to go to sleep, especially being mad at me... I slept pretty soon but the bed was terrible. After breakfast we got into some Jeeps and went onto our way to the national park here to walk from the little lake there to a larger lake. The roads were very bumpy and not very ideal for my back but it was acceptable, not so bad. Walking was good and the view is marvellous but almost at the end my heart started to ache more and more. I was used to it but I started to be dizzy too and my legs and arms shook when I had to use them. Not being able to breathe much on this altitude isn't exactly helping either. My mother just doesn't believe me and thinks I'm acting or something.. Right now it's a bit better but after a break on the top watching horses eat sand and fight each other to protect the young, we will soon go back to the hotel with the Jeeps.
After such a night of dancing I would have hoped to be able to sleep well. But as I lay myself to rest in my seemingly comfortable bed, after some internet and short chat I found the almost holy air-conditioning rather irritating. On night modus the damn thing kept turning off and on with quite the noise. Then my bed was too hard and my pillow too big, the last one I could change however, but as I woke up after a short sleep I was kind of ruined. On a scale from one to Kaiafas Lake Hotel I would almost consider creating a new scale, if there had been a bug problem too. Best of all, I even had a nightmare but the content isn't to be repeated in here as it's not very meaningful for others. Breakfast was very good and soon we were in the bus and on our way to the winery. After a short trip without working airco and difficult to open windows, we arrived there expecting a tour by the manager. But since he was nowhere to be found we entered the restaurant and started our wine tasting. As wine is really not one of my favourite drinks this promised to be interesting. And indeed, one white wine and three red later I found myself a drinkable one, white dessert wine that didn't even taste too bad. As one of the group already pointed out, white after red results in a disaster and immediately after that last glass everyone that had drunk a respectable amount started acting quite tipsy. But anyway, we headed to the ancient city of I don't know what to view the ruins, very nice but not as great as Greece if I must say. Right now we continue our journey to Prilep, to a tobacco museum, and then our mountain hotel. Cheers until then! :)
Prilep was nice, not that we did much different things than walk and look for souvenir shops that weren't there. As half of the group decided not to want to go to the tobacco museum, without telling so the two times Milan asked them, he had to cancel it and we had some extra time to walk around in Milan's hometown while he visited his family. I suspect that that was his only reason as it wasn't really a touristic place but fair enough, I had a really good time there and the place was nicer than it looked from the start. Afterwards we got a new and improved bus and went upwards and upwards. Once we were almost at the top of the mountain, having travelled across very small roads, no chance of passing cars on it without sending them in the abyss. Where I'm now is a quiet mountain hotel with great interior and a nice big room for us three, only disadvantage is that the beds are probably worse than in the last hotels, so I'm going to put two chairs against each other and lie there. Hope that's better and now heading off to dinner in some minutes. Up and until now, this city Bitola looks gorgeous seen from this height. Except for the occasional industry chimneys of course.
It's half past three in the afternoon and we're in the bus to our next village and hotel. The hiking lasted for a couple of hours and I couldn't be too relieved when the guide told us that we arrived at the highest point on the mountain. The way up was heavy, not long but pretty steep. My heart was failing like I already suspected and breathing wasn't too nice nor easy. The way down however was much better. Together with the only young person, besides my brothers, I walked down at a reasonable speed, sometimes half running when the paths required it. Obviously we were the only people that smart and the rest was just a tiny bit slower. All the more break time for us, so that was ideal. Before the start of the trip, we shortly visited a monastery, that was just across the street of our hotel. Apparently it was built for the growing community as a second church, but under the rule of the Ottoman empire, the inhabitants had to ask permission to build. The conditions were that it should be invisible from the streets, making it very low and partly underground, that it was built in forty days, though I assume that was exaggerated, as it looked pretty solid, and that the local Ottoman ruler was to marry the daughter of the priest. The priest agreed, but the daughter wouldn't and fled the country, leading to the priest's arrest. As for this background story, it took longer than us getting In and out the place, because it was small and dark and not really beautiful, the interior at least. In a moment we will arrive in a place I don't dare to try and pronounce let alone spell correctly. Really looking forward to the gypsy music evening, but a little conspicuous about the food, as my lunch was bread that was supposed the very white but had some grey spots on it.. Although, I'm still alive so it wasn't too bad.
OK, the gypsy music night was everything I expected and more. But first the dinner, it was brilliant. There are very few things that I don't like, but a plate with tomatoes, cucumbers and goat's cheese is just the limit. Main course however was French fries with chicken Schnitzel without any sauce, but I discovered that French fries and lemon juice go perfectly together. Dessert was magnificently sweet and sour at the same time and the view of Strumica was gorgeous. The speed with which the courses were served was a bit overenthusiastic. Once they were finished with my ultimate favourite dish, they immediately started serving main course... After eating we were once again taken by some taxis and dropped at a neighbourhood ghetto of the highest rank. Definitely the place to be, uhuh. But it came to be very nice. The gypsy music was different with strange oboes and weird melodies but soon they started dancing. After I watched the steps I joined in and quite immediately I got them right. Apparently they all liked me and soon some boy started flirting very obviously. Anyway, after some half hour I found out that, one: our guide Milan can not only dance quite well but can also sing. Two: the difference between Dutch and Deutsch is hard to remember for foreigners. Three: apparently the gypsies saw me as the best tourist ever as I showed their little ones how to do their own dance. Four: although they look -and probably are- poor, fancy phones are completely necessary in every environment. Five: they are the awesomest best people I met. The young people swarmed around me like a round a beehive, and the elder looked and nodded enthusiastically. Every time they pulled me up to dance, kids fighting over the hands of every tourist, and one woman hugged me as she kept saying good good and other nice things that I couldn´t understand. If I could choose, I'd stay there at least until tomorrow because they are much nicer than a winery. Greatest night in I don't know how long. Now tired of dancing all night so gonna go for sleep. Next time about wine tasting, yeey....