Thursday 14 July, 2011
Lake Ohrid is Macedonia’s premier tourist attraction. There are probably more tourists here than in all the places I have been to since Dubrovnik put together. And most of them have Aussie accents. I am guessing that quite a few of the young Aussie visitors have Macedonian born parents or grandparents.
Today I went for a day trip to Sveti Naum (Saint Naum), a village across the lake with a monastery founded by St Naum in 900AD. The boat left at 10.00am and returned at 5.00pm (a bit over an hour’s journey each way), costing 9 euro, which left plenty of time to explore. I could have had a swim, but I contented myself with a visit to the Monastery on the hill, relaxing in the peacock-strewn Monastery gardens (I wonder how they get up so high – peacocks can’t fly can they?), lunch in a nearby garden restaurant (fish soup and grilled peppers) accompanied by a string quartet and talking to the souvenir stall owners about “Ohrid biser” (Ohrid pearl). The pearls are made by a traditional secret method involving the scales of a fish that is native to Lake Ohrid, but the non-genuine (i.e. less expensive) ones for sale are just “mother of pearl”.