NA DVA TOČKA (ON TWO WHELES): OHRID, STRUGA, POGRADEC
In this show we take you to Ohrid, Struga and Pogradec. We will hang out with bikers from Struga, take part in the Poetry Race in Struga together with marathoners from Vranje, we will sail on Lake Ohrid with Captain Dragan, ride a tour around Lake Ohrid, drink coffee in Albania, sail with Captain Dimitar Trpceski to the spring of the river Black Drim, hang out with tambourine players in the restaurant Ostrovo on Saint Naum, ride through Galičica with a beautiful view of Lake Ohrid. ON TWO WHEELS They often ask me what riding a motorcycle means to me ... ??? I stop for a moment to think about the answer ... I think and try to find the right words ....
I rarely succeed... The answer is only one word... FREEDOM Almost 20 years ago, Tom Stopard gave FREEDOM an interesting definition, I quote: "Freedom means that I can sing in my own shower as loudly as I do not interfere with my neighbor's freedom to sing a different melody in his shower" Under a motorcycle helmet we can sing as loud as we want..., the acoustics are great .... you can try, or we can also try on a viewpoint like this... Freedom on two wheels means that only when we arrive at the crossroads do we decide which way to continue, because just as Henry Miller writes: "Our destination is never a place, but a new way of looking at things."
ON TWO WHEELS Driven by passenger freedom after crossing the border crossing Peševo I decided not to follow the turn for Ohrid, but to continue straight. My wife, a co-driver and a cameraman - the main culprit for the beautiful shots you see, hit me on the back and said I missed the turn. I replied that I had not and that I decided that we should take a detour - through Prilep. Although part of the asphalt from the highway to Prilep, and later to Ohrid, is not of enviable quality, it did not disturb our enjoyment of the landscapes, of the picturesque nature that fed our eyes and soul. The most beautiful shots were made right there.
What follows now is the most beautiful part of the journey. Here at the gas station, we met our brothers from Struga, Resen in Ohrid, they are here with their motorbikes. We agreed to have coffee tomorrow and to get to know each other better, to hang out. You are welcome in Vranje when you come, whatever is needed, we are here.
By the way, bikers are so brought up that when they meet on the road, they always greet each other, respect each other and help wherever they need to. Cheers. Honda motorcycle...
We saw off the bikers, and we stayed for a while at the gas station where fooling around is not allowed. "Please don't fool around on the territory of the gas station." My wife worked in the first shift, so we set out on the journey only around 3 p.m. At some point, the sun began to disappear beyond the horizon. Its last rays scattered in the upper layers of the atmosphere, making the lower ones dimly lit - a phenomenon that photographers call the "Blue Clock".
Far on the horizon, the embrace of the sky and the mountains burned. We followed the romantic ambience of the twilight with special pleasure. Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest in the world, and it was created during the same time as Tanganyika in Africa, Titicaca in South America and Lake Baikal in Siberia. Moreover, Ohrid has the most similar flora and fauna as lake Baikal in Siberia.
Lake Ohrid is located at an altitude of 695m, and is surrounded by mountains Galičica, Jablanica and Valamar, whose peaks reach over 2000m above sea. The lake is supplied by many springs, and the lake basin has about forty rivers. It is interesting that a large part of the water comes from Lake Prespa, which is located at an altitude of 850m, which is 150m more than Ohrid.
These two lakes are located at a distance of 10 km, and are separated by the mountain Galicica. Water from Lake Prespa flows through underground channels through the mountain and creates numerous springs on Lake Ohrid, among which the most famous are the springs of the Black Drim, located next to the monastery of St. Naum. Captain Dimitar took us on a tour of the spring of Black Drim... Good day. Today we are at the springs of St. Naum, on the Black Drim. This tour is 700 meters long. The water temperature is specific because it is from 8 to 10 degrees Celsius throughout the year, meaning that the water temperature does not change whether it is summer or winter. It is specific because this is under the protection of UNESCO, we must not throw anything in the water and we must sail using oars.
Bathing and similar things are forbidden. We have water fern and algae here that change color. When the sun rises, they become yellowish, and upwards we will see another type of fern that changes color and turns red. We'll see that, too.
In addition, we will see two groups of underwater springs coming out under water. The water comes to us from Lake Prespa, which is at a higher altitude than Lake Ohrid. The water sinks below Galicica and appears as underground springs in this place. The greatest depth of this small lake is three and a half meters.
This tree that we see is called "EVLU" and is specific in that it consumes 80 to 120 liters of water per day, and does not bear any fruit. Here, our greatest depth is three and a half meters. At the bottom is a mixture of grass and sand, so we have two shades of water color. Well, this is a water fern that is specific because it is green in winter, and with the arrival of the sun it starts to turn yellow, then red, changes color and in August it turns purple and that is very specific.
What we see from this side is reed, which is the natural filter of this so-called small lake. Dirt collects in the corner. It is our natural filter. Up there, gentlemen, where there is a forest, that is the border with Albania. These are our main springs of the Black Drim. Here we have 36 smaller springs that spring at a depth of a meter and a half. Here springs from 5 to 7 cubic meters of water per second, which means that the whole of Ohrid can be supplied with water only from these springs. Now you can see bubbles. Like a jacuzzi.
In order to prove that the water comes from Prespa Lake, five or six years ago, they dropped blue color into Prespa Lake. After a month and a week, the blue color appeared there, at the springs of Black Drim. It traveled 35-36 days, eighty kilometers is the distance of this lake. The water appeared below Galičica and blue appeared here. Thus, it has been proven that Lake Prespa fills Lake Ohrid with water. This is the church of St. Mother of God. It dates from the 14th century. In World War II, it served the partisans as a weapons warehouse.
The warehouse was demolished, and two years ago the church was rebuilt in its original condition. Archaeologists came and according to old paintings, according to expert opinion, this is what the old church looked like. The Poles, Turks, Hungarians, Serbs, of course, Montenegrins came here, Slovenes also, but not in large numbers, and this is where the circle closes. The Chinese, the Japanese, the Thais also came, but in small numbers, that is, minimal. The Dutch came the most, not youngsters but older people aged 40-50. The Dutch come here to see what it is under the protection of UNESCO.
I'm not sure, but I think that only 64 places in Europe are under UNESCO protection. Thank you and we want you to earn a lot of money this season and to have as many tourists as possible to show, around this year and next and for another hundred years. Thanks a lot, too. I hope that you liked this walk and that people will talk about us and Ohrid in Serbia. The springs of Black Drim, to which Dimitar led us, form a small lake that flows into the Ohrid lake about a hundred meters from the Saint Naum monastery. In that way, Black Drim becomes a part of the lake, but then on the other side of it, near the town of Struga, it flows out of it into the riverbed. In that way, the Black Drim is formed, which then continues its course towards Albania, merging with the White Drim near the town of Kukes, with which it forms the Drim River.
The river Drim then continues towards the Adriatic Sea into which it flows. This represents the natural filtration of Lake Ohrid. On the very small lake of Black Drim, there is the restaurant Ostrovo, where we stayed quite hungry after sailing. I'm not sure there is a restaurant located at a more natural and beautiful environment than this one.
You have the impression that you are a part of nature, not just any part, but one that has been under the protection of UNESCO since 1980. I thought I would pass without brandy, when suddenly the accordion sounded. Having lunch with the sounds of the acoustic band was a real pleasure. Macedonians are famous for their hedonistic vibes, famous for their dancing and singing qualities, this is felt in every stanza of their song, in every beat, every note. And just when we headed towards the exit, the famous Macedonian rhythm began... Chalgia.
The Monastery of St. Naum is an Orthodox monastery built by Naum of Ohrid in 900 AD, and is located 30 km from Ohrid, on the very border with Albania. After the founding of the monastery, Saint Naum gathered a large number of monks and began work on translating holy books, spreading Orthodoxy, especially in the territory of the southern Balkans. Today, Saint Naum is one of the most beautiful and best preserved Macedonian monasteries, and together with the mentioned springs of Black Drim, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Northern Macedonia. It is interesting that in the period from 1912 to 1925, the area of the monastery belonged to Albania, but King Zogu I of Albania, after negotiations, ceded the area of the monastery to Yugoslavia as a gesture of good will. In Struga, we participated in the POETRY RUN together with marathoners from Vranje. The race was organized at 5 and 10 km.
My wife took part in the 10-kilometer race, and I took part in the 5-kilometer race. More precisely, due to the recent Achilles tendon surgery, I did not run but walked. You can guess where I finished the race...LAST..., but it is important to participate. This was one of the first races after the COVID 19 pandemic so the joy of the runners was visible on their faces. Positive energy spread in all directions.
This is where the Black Drim flows out of Lake Ohrid. Here we are at the spring of Black Drim, waiting for the bikers we met at the gas station yesterday to drink coffee with them and get to know each other better. Here, brother biker came to have coffee with us. Greeting. How is it? Well done. Are you OK? Okay, are you okay? The brother from Struga wants to host us, to take us to a restaurant, so here we are following him.
And here we are, in Struga, the bikers we met yesterday at the gas station hosted us today phenomenally. We are sitting here next to the Black Drim, the day is fantastic and we want to greet our brother Cvetko who really, really hosted us phenomenally. He will tell us what life looks like here, in this beautiful city near Lake Ohrid. What can I tell you? It's beautiful.
Let God give you the opportunity to come here, see, check, real beauty. So don't save money, relax and come, we are here to wait for you and show you all the beauties of our city. Here Cvetko is calling you to visit Struga and enjoy as we enjoy today. Big greetings from Cvetko and us from Struga.
The brothers from Struga take us on a tour around Lake Ohrid, a fantastic view, we stopped here to take pictures. The people we met yesterday at the gas station showed us such hospitality that even our closest ones would not prepare for us. On this occasion, I thank them and we are waiting for them to come to us in Vranje so that we can hang out there. So, in the direction of my finger is Albania.
That part over there is all Albania. And this is Galicica downstairs? That is Galicica to your left, and Albania is right in front of us. Pogradec is there. The peninsula that can be seen is on Albanian territory.
That little peninsula is called Lin. Cvetko and Krste suggested that we make a tour around Lake Ohrid, and we adventurers do not need a special reason and motive. We headed for Albania. We decided to drink coffee in Albania and see how people live there.
The modern state of Albania was created in 1912 after the liberation from the Turks in the Balkan wars. It was the most isolated country in the world in the 20th century, when it was ruled by the famous Enver Hoxha. Something like today's North Korea.
Enver Hoxha ruled Albania for forty years, from the end of World War II until his death in 1985. At that time, the state borders were closed, any external influences were excluded, any attempt to express a different opinion was suppressed, vehicles did not exist, movement within the country was strictly controlled and possible only in groups, trials were unfair, and there were spies all over the country. The penalty for theft was three to five years in prison, and for saying that the bread was tasteless, it was fifteen years. Many who opposed the regime and the party or posed any threat ended up in mines from which they did not return. It was a time of dictatorship, a time in which the people lived hard, and the progress of the state stagnated.
In 1967, Albania became the first atheist country in the world. Religions were banned, and many priests were expelled, tortured, killed regardless of religion, the Koran and the Bible were burned, and places of worship were demolished. The famous bunkers of Enver Hoxha.
There is an anecdote that says that Enver Hoxha closed the architect of these bunkers inside the bunker and fired at him from a cannon. All of that to check how strong they are and whether they will be effective for use. When the architect survived, Enver Hoxha allowed the construction of thousands of such bunkers throughout Albania to protect it from a possible invasion of surrounding countries, including Yugoslavia.
Aristotle said "The roots of learning are bitter, but the fruits are sweet", the architects were honey and milk. Millions of tons of cement and iron were used to build these bunkers, while the population lived in misery and destitution. It is estimated that between seven hundred thousand and one million bunkers were built in which about two million soldiers could be accommodated at one time.
The material was exclusively from Albania, and the value was so great that half of the population of Albania could get new homes from it. After the death of Enver Hoxha, communism lasted for another five years until 1990, when democracy was introduced. Since then, the state has been recovering and facing the consequences of a dark period that lasted for almost half a century. Recovery is visible at every step, as evidenced by the infrastructure we encountered on the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid and in the town of Pogradec. The city is more beautiful than we expected.
If you are in Ohrid, take a tour around Lake Ohrid via Struga and come here for coffee. You won’t regret. After Albania, we drove to the GALIČICA NATIONAL PARK, which offers a beautiful view of Lake Ohrid and it can be seen almost completely. Galicica Mountain is 35 kilometers long, and its highest peak Magaro reaches 2,254 meters above sea level. There is a place with a view of both lakes.... Prespa and Ohrid, but you have to walk to it, for which we did not have time. After Galičica, we drove to the archeological complex BAY OF BONES, but unfortunately the museum did not work.
It is located on a wooden platform above Lake Ohrid, which is raised above the water by pillars, and on it the pile dwellings are made of straw and mud, which represent an authentic reconstruction of those from the period from 1200 to 700 BC. The reconstruction was carried out on the basis of archeological sites located at the bottom of the lake, which were investigated by underwater archeology. On that occasion, divers found a large number of remains of wooden poles buried in the bottom of the lake. That was the main confirmation of the existence of the settlement in that place. In addition, they found a large number of animal bones, so it is clear how the bay got its name.
We visited the museum a few years earlier. Ohrid is mentioned in the 3rd century BC, and its ancient name was Lychnidos, which means "city of light" in ancient Greek. At that time, this city was one of the most important on the Via Egnatia route. The new name of the city was created thanks to the geographical position of the old part of Ohrid, which is located on a hill. In the Macedonian language, "hill" is called "rid", and it follows that "on the hill" is said "O rid".
O rid very quickly became "Ohrid". Ohrid is a city with a rich history, a city that was part of the Roman, Bulgarian, Byzantine, Serbian, Ottoman Empire, and after the liberation from the Turks in 1912, it became part of SFR Yugoslavia. The boys humored our souls with this melody, so we wanted to take them with us to the cafe to play to us all night. Captain Dragan, situated not far from the young musical hopes, also enjoyed their sounds and waves.
His Amsterdam cruiser was waiting for new customers to take them on a voyage across the lake. Hello Vranjanci. I will take a nice ride with you, to see the old part of the city, our architecture, to see Samuel's fortress, which is over 1200 years old. The surface of the lake is 285 square kilometers, while the greatest depth is over 312 meters. This lake carries positive energy.
By the way, during the summer, the water temperature reaches around 25 degrees, so it is really beautiful. We used to have the most guests coming from Serbia, now I don't know anymore, since when Yugoslavia broke up, whether the Serbs have fallen financially or are stronger in that field and are going on vacation somewhere farther, I don't know. Here in front of you, you can see the dock.
Up on the hill is the capital of Emperor Samuel, who ruled in the 9th century. The water transparency is sometimes about 22 meters. The average depth of the lake is 156 meters, so it is a very, very deep lake and the largest freshwater basin in Europe after Lake Modena.
This Covid-19 disease has greatly disturbed us, as we live off tourism. I'll drive you all along the coast. Due to the mentioned virus, we had very bad results for two years. But we hope that the vaccines that have been created will solve the problem, so that we will continue to live and see tourists from all over the world.
This on our right is the "bridge of love" where couples in love come and toss coins for eternal love. And if they want to strengthen their love even more securely, then they lock the padlock on the bridge, and captain Dragan drives them to the middle of the lake to throw the key from that padlock. The rock we see is ten meters high and is known for the fact that when a young man wants to get a bride, he must jump from it to lake Ohrid in order to show his courage and get his future wife. Here we are in front of the church of St. John in Ohrid, a place with a beautiful view of Lake Ohrid, here the Serbian bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic sang prayers over the lake. And here we come to Samuel's Fortress, today is Sunday, so the working hours are from 9:00 to 14:00, if you are coming, take this into consideration and make sure that you do not climb up for no reason, as we did today.
Good day. How much are these chains? 15 euros. They're all 15 euros? This one is 10 euros .... "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page," wrote St. Augustine, a Roman philosopher and theologian. With our trip to Ohrid, we read maybe the second or third page, who would know, but the thought of that book arouses awe and curiosity. How many pages does that book have, how many letters, sentences and paper would it take to describe all the earthly beauties, customs, people, beliefs, understandings, ways of life, observations, impressions and many more details? A book that, unfortunately, no one will ever read to the end, but whose pages ennoble the human soul, broaden the horizons, soften hearts, fill the lungs and makes many other blessings for our body and soul, is all around us. It is necessary, as Mark Twain teaches us, to set sail from a safe harbor, to discover, to dream, to explore, because in twenty years we will be more disappointed with things we have not done than with those we have done.
Two weeks later. Dusaneee...Come on, my brother....Welcome...Where are you Dusaneee?...Are you ok? Regards ... Hi welcome ... Hello ... Hi how are you? Are you OK? You OK? The best ... Let's see each other
... Sasho ... I'm Dusan ... Let's say goodbye once again ... ... I'm Ljupče ... Dusan ... Only I didn't greet you. We did ... this is the second time ... Yes the second time ... How did you travel? Great ... Great.
Did you travel through Tetovo and Gostivar? Yes .. Gostivar, Tetovo, Skopje, Kumanovo and here we are ... To take money ... What is it for? Transaction account ... And to my great satisfaction, I have the opportunity to return the hospitality I experienced two weeks earlier in Struga. My friends from Struga and Ohrid came and gave me the opportunity to return the hospitality.
Thank you for everything, it is a great honor and pleasure to host you, I hope you have a good time here with me. Thank you for your hospitality. Otherwise, our friends continue their journey further towards Nis at the moto gathering, we wish them a happy journey and a good time there.
You are welcome whenever you find yourself in this part of Serbia. Thanks. Definitely. There's no way we're going to forget you. You will surely be visited again.
Guaranteed. The same for you to come to us again in Ohrid and Struga. Definitely. Here is a big greeting from us for you.