Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ohrid with Mama!

I guess you are noticing a theme with the post titles...What can I say, not feeling that inventive!
We woke up early to go to Ohrid. I called a cab, but they had no cabs, so we had to walk to the next taxi stand near-by and get a cab. There were only 2 cabs there, and my first woman taxi driver! She was nice and got us there on time. We bought a return ticket to come home that night as well. The bus left Skopje in a way that I had never seen before, it came back the same way. It was difficult to figure it out. We went through Tetovo, Gostivar, and Kichevo before arriving in Ohrid. We slept most of the way there.

When we got there, we changed our “return any time with in 30 days” to the “5:45 bus home to Skopje.” Then we caught a cab to the center. We then wandered around the down town up to the top of the mountain. We stopped into the Paper Making shop and museum on our way up.

We also stopped off at the old Roman Amphitheater. This guy started talking for us for like 10 minutes. Offering to be our guide. No matter how many times we told them that we didn’t need a guide, we still had to chat for a bit. This was just the first in a long line of people who felt the need to tell us that we needed a guide for the city.

Next we went up to the Old Gate and this really old church. There was this nice lady who gave us a personalized tour of the church. She apparently had done her PhD on the church and the frescoes in the church. Apparently she believes that Mary was 14 and Jacob was 80ish and seen more like a father figure. And that Mary was granted a prominent place in this church like she should be in the Christian religion. All in all the paintings were nice and worth paying to go into the church.

We then went up to the fortress, but along the way we met our second annoying person of the day. He was supposedly a professor, and told us about the history of Ohrid. We told him that we couldn’t pay for a guide and didn’t want a guide, but he followed us anyway and said for free! We let him talk and talk and talk and then said that we were going someplace. And he directly asked for money for alcohol from the “Rich Americans.” When he finally left, my mom and I went into the Samuel’s Fortress.

Samuel was a king of Macedonia in the 900s. He was eventually killed by competing forces, but left the foundation for a later Macedonian state. His history is disputed, with the Bulgarians claiming his birthright. (Wikipedia even calls him Samuel of Bulgaria).

There was much infighting while (Macedonia) was under Byzantine control, including the short kingdom of Samuel. King Samuel ruled from Ohrid from roughly 976 to 1014 AD.[1] His kingdom included most of geographic Macedonia.[2] Samuel’s kingdom is one of the historical areas that receives much attention for later nationality struggles: Was Samuel Bulgarian, as he often called himself? Or was he Macedonian, but used Bulgarian for ease? Is his kingdom the beginning of the struggle for international recognition of the ‘down-trodden Macedonian people’?[3] Adding to the confusion, Samuel’s kingdom fell to the Byzantine Empire under Basil II,[4] and afterwards Serbia briefly gained control of the area of Macedonia and established its capital in Skopje. However, the Serbian kingdom also fell to the Byzantine Empire.[5]

[1] Panev, 589
[2] Shea,58; Panev, 590
[3] Panev, 589-590; Cosmopoulos, 57; Shea, 58
[4] Elizabeth Barker, Macedonia: Its Place in Balkan Power Politics (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1950), 14; Cosmopoulos 58; Panev, 590
[5] Barry Turner, “Macedonia” in The Statesman’s Yearbook 2011: the Politics, Cultures, and Economies of the World (New York: Palgrave, 2011), 813.

However, we went up to the top and saw a bunch of really cool views of Ohrid! Have I mentioned that it was cold this day? Like Really REALLY COLD! So cold, that my mom sat up in the wind to get her feet warm.

Then we wandered down to this church. We are guessing that it is St. Ohridski, but Mama just kept calling it “The Church of the Warmth” because it was  heated! One of the few places that was. I say it is St. Ohridski, because I think it was his body in there, and the nice lady earlier had told us his body was moved when a church was built.

After the church we went down to the little church on the edge of the mountain. It is just so beautiful there. Just breath taking-ly beautiful.

We walked past the sign that caused so much trouble with a few people, and I took an ironic picture that I will not be posting do avoid further unwarranted criticism. You can contact me if you want to see it. ;)

Then it was randomly wandering into a celebration. Apparently it was like the Voditi, but with wine. You put like 12 barrels of wine in and one is white- you get lots of wine or something if you find the white one.  And they made (I’m assuming) fish stew in a gigantic pot. But they gave out free (nasty) wine.

Then to lunch at Leonardo’s, since Mama had worked at a Leonardo’s way back when. We had pizza and spaghetti alfredo!

We also wandered a bit through the center before meeting up with Emilija (Vensa’s friend that we meet the first time we went to Ohrid) for coffee. It was great to talk with people! (not that we weren’t talking all day Mama). We had a few drinks and met a new friend. We were also just killing time until our bus left.

When we got into Skopje, we just crashed!

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