My trip to Macedonia was part of a more extensive Balkan trip in April and I was indeed inspired to write a separate article about this lesser known ex-Yugoslav republic. My in-flight was to the capital Skopje, and from there you may catch one of the frequent buses to Ohrid. You will be treated with stunning mountain views and rural villages along the way. Most of the villages are dominated by a mosque and a minaret, and Byzantine chrches are less to be seen.
Many countries have their own Riviera by a lake or the sea, where countrymen and tourists go for relaxation, sun and bath. The Macedonians have Lake Ohrid and forme it was a pleasant surprise compared to several other Rivieras. In April only about one tenth of the tourist venues are open compared to high season, but that does not matter as long as you get your sleep, relaxation and food. You can stroll in pine forests without meeting anyone for hours. You can sit among cliffs and wild spring flowers, tasting wild chives, listening to squalls and getting your tan like in high season. And watching snow-capped mountains surrounding the gorgeous lake.
Half of the lake belongs to Albania, and visiting that country gives you a taste of more poverty and less well-kept houses than in their neighbouring country. Still they. Would originally have had the same opportunities for success. Macedonians are friendly and eager to provide tourist services especially during low season like in April. You might indeed need their help, because all written information seems to be in Cyrillic letters. Most tourists seem to be from eastern European countries. The center of Skopje is under heavy construction (April 2014) and interesting results can already be seen at the foot of their huge fortress. Brand new office buildings and countless shiny statues give a grand, national touch. And the biggest and grandest statue of them all is of course dedicated to Alexander the Great, who might not have been from this present Macedonian republic territory at all. They have also sites dedicated to Mother Teresa, although she considered herself Albanian.
Macedonian food does not stand out from other Balkan cuisine. You get deep-fried dough, pizza, pasta, salad, grilled meat and minced meat dishes like anywhere else in the region. But do try their catch of the day by Lake Ohrid – the fish is usually excellent and well prepared.