Macedonia Timeless

Many things which are the biggest/the best/the most in its kind are in Macedonia. Starting from Ohrid Lake – one of the biggest and oldest (estimated 4 million years old) in Europe.

I have spent a month and a half in this beautiful country with dazzling landscapes, hospitable people, juicy fruits and a paradise for grilled meat lovers. It takes time to get used to the way of life the Macedonians live – very relaxed Balkan style – but once you start to follow it, everything becomes timeless, as the slogan states.

My first impression: the local delicacies are Bake Rolls and 7Days, which you can buy in every corner (so as the baked corn), and they are easier to find than water, and believe me, in 40’C heat the only thing you are looking for, apart from the shade and air conditioning, is WATER, but you get Bake Rolls instead.

As I have mentioned before Macedonia is a place to be for meat-eaters. Most of the meat is grilled, served with French fries and Shopska Salad (tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese), which can be eaten every day. Popular in all former Yugoslavian countries is Burek. The most common is with cheese and meat, of course with Ayran aside (cold yoghurt beverage). It only leaves you with the sense of being full for a few hours but every bite adds some grams to your weight. What else – Fish – the tastiest trout in Europe, straight out of Ohrid Lake – delicious! Popular in Spain, France and Italy Macedonian salad (mixed diced fruits) has its origins in the diversified ethnicity of the country, however, you can’t buy it there.

Many things which are the biggest/the best/the most of their kind are in Macedonia. Starting from Ohrid Lake – one of the biggest and oldest (estimated 4 million years old) in Europe. When water reflects the sun (which shines almost all year long there, like in Ponta do Sol) you can observe the pure beauty of nature and wonderful colours. In Ohrid you can also visit charming churches, planning to step inside one of them a day, be prepared to stay all year long, because there are 365 churches.

Let’s stick to the topic: the biggest cross in the world is nowhere else but in Skopje. The 66 meter-high cross is on the top of Vodno Mountain, from where you can admire the exquisite panorama of the city. Another interesting feature about Macedonia is the number of mountains and mountain peaks. Of course, it’s the highest number in the World. More than 30 peaks are above 2000 meters unfortunately most of them have never been visited by people. Yet it’s more possible to meet a foreigner in the mountains than the locals. As they say: Macedonians don’t go hiking. And that’s a big mistake because the views from the tops are breathtaking and you can always share your amazement with crazy Czech hikers.

People dream of travelling to Paris, London, Prague, Tokyo or Istanbul but they can just go to Skopje and it will fulfil their needs: Arch of Triumph, Pirate ships, Stone Bridge, Mosques, huge statues (you can spot more than 300 statues in the capital of Macedonia), soon maybe also “London Eye”. When you asked locals: What is it (pointing at some interesting building)? They reply: I don’t know. It wasn’t here yesterday!

Bogumila Smolarek

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