A storm in Struga
Struga Travel Blog› entry 15 of 24 › view all entries
July 22nd, 2008 – by: cneoridium
We ended up there because it's also where the larger bus station is, with more international buses. There only seemed to be buses to Skopje, Turkey, and Greece from Ohrid.
We messed around in Kraimorie, taking one last trip to the beach, attempting to formulate plots to stay another week and still make it back to Zagreb 5 days from now, when it was 5 days away... By the time we negotiated a ride there, we managed to miss the only bus of the day.
We headed down to the lake, but as we took our pre-swim nap, ominous black clouds started rolling over the mountains to the south from Albania. As thunder rolled, people kept swimming, so we kept napping. Within half an hour big waves started hitting the beach and a wall of rain was bearing down on us. Beach umbrellas started folding up and boats were deployed to haul in all the rented paddle boats and rafts that were still paddling along the shore... We bee-lined to a building that looked like it might have a cafe, and ducked into the place just as the first huge drops started splashing onto the street.
Soon the rain was roaring down and we were sipping tiny Turkish coffees.
In the evening, when the storm began to clear, we ventured out onto the clean, wet streets. After I traded Zvonka a quick stop to explore a Muslim cemetery for some window shopping in town. The graves were plain and undecorated, it's traditional not to maintain the graves after the funeral, a contrast from the maticulously maintained and decorated graves of the Christian cemeteries we'd visited.
Downtown Struga is divided by a river flowing out of the lake. The enormous lake drains through a wide, wooden structure under a bridge, and flows through a stone lined canal through downtown. The canal is lined with walking paths, cafes and shops, and crossed by a lot of nice little bridges. A really nice place to walk around. With several more hours to kill, we looked for a cafe to eat at, having now become soft after sipping expensive coffee all afternoon (well, relative to our usual rations, it was like 2 dollars for 4 cups : ) ). We finally settled on a little place that sold "Macedonian style pizza, mushrooms, and bread" (see review).
We had been lucky. For some reason, everyone in the eastern European transportation industry speaks only their native language, and has a bad attitude, while the rest of their countrymen speak several languages and are friendly and helpful.
A woman with a backpack wandered by after a while and looked at the closed ticketing room. The watchman let her know that she could maybe "pay the driver directly..." without a ticket if the bus wasn't full, and let her into our dark shelter.
Finally, around midnight, watchman waved packed us into his tiny guardshack to wait, and we hustled to jump on the bus as it roared into town. Fortunately there were seats (not always the case, even with "reservations" and a ticket), and even Dutch woman was able to get on. Off we headed into the night into what we'd been waiting for all this time - Albania!
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