Trespassing around town

Ohrid Travel Blog

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I wake up really early in the morning way before 7 - wondering how come I feel this rested. But then again it was 4 and a bit hours of quality sleep I got here in my little rooftop home with the low ceiling. I can’t really decide whether to give up on more sleep or not. After a bit I give up on sleep it seems not to be happening this morning and I am here to explore the city anyways. I go out and figure I should try to find some breakfast somewhere in town - but nothing is open this early in the morning. I walk down the main street trying to find one of the main attractions in the city an old plane tree. I can’t find it - it seems like this stupid old tree has disappeared from the face of the earth - it might have evaporated during the night after all it is something like 900 years old and just how old can a plane tree get?


I walk around and finally realize I have passed the tree long ago and I need to turn back.

I try to find the tree but still got trouble - but then I finally find it - or actually I realize I have seen the tree at least twice today when I walked past it without taking any notice of it. Maybe I should have gone for an extra hour or two of sleep. But in my defense I actually walk right past the tree yesterday as well without noticing it. To be honest I think this plane tree is a bit of an overrated tourist attraction - if tree is worth to be appointed a tourist attraction it should as a bare minimum catch the eye of people passing by the tree.


After wasting some time in search of trees I start walking up to the fortress on the hill top of the city. I figure this will be a lot more interesting. I want to walk up to the fortress from the new town because I sort of walked up there from the old town yesterday. I get to the fortress but I am a bit early it won’t open until 9. I hang around outside waiting for the place to open. I wait for a while and nobody seems to be showing up - but there is a construction worker who opens the gate to get in and do something inside the place.

I sneak in a bit before nine expecting the official opening in a little while and then I can formally buy my ticket on my way out of the fortress.


I go up on the walls of the fortress looking out over the city and the lake. Unfortunately the weather is not very good today so the view from up here is nowhere close to what it must be on a clear day. But it is still a nice little spot to go and look around. It is a bit funny with the construction workers they seem to be more or less rebuilding the place from scratch and they are not even trying to make it look old. It seems to be the general style of reconstruction ancient sights in this part of the world - just slap some bricks together and it will be fine - doesn’t matter if it looks original or not.


After a bit I guess I have seen enough and I want to get out. Hence I walk down from the wall towards the ticket booth - which is not open.

It turns out the place is open every day of the week - except Monday - and guess what day of the week it is today. Actually when I want to leave the gate is closed and it is impossible to get out of the fortress. But fortunately one of the construction workers is heading out at the same time as me - and he got a key for the lock and I can follow him out.


I walk a bit down the hill from the fortress through a bit of forest and I get to a little area with another big construction going on. The construction is taking place at the sight of the remains of the oldest cathedral of Ohrid making the whole thing more accessible for the public. Of course for the moment this means it is less accessible to tourist and I am not sure if you are actually allowed in while the construction is taking place. But there are no signs telling people to stay out - hence I figure tourist are welcome and hey I am a tourist so it should be ok.

I walk in past a couple of construction workers and nobody tells me to get out. So it must be ok for me walking around here.


The mains sight is the old church there is not a lot remaining of the walls but there are a lot of mosaics to go in and look at. This is actually a part of the construction it seems like they are trying to build a roof over the mosaics to protect them against the weather. I walk around for a bit looking at them and some of them are in pretty good condition.


I walk out of the construction site the entrance is now more or less block by a huge truck taking away some excess dirt and rubbles. But I manage to squeeze by and get out. Then I head for another part of this area which is also currently more or less a construction site. Down there is a big church - probably the biggest in town. I would like to get in but unfortunately it is closed for the Monday.

It might be Easter Monday but that is only in the rest of Europe - this is orthodox Europe where Easter is not this week but later. So today is just an ordinary Monday.


Right next to the church is another little spot. There used to be a little church here back in the fourth century but today not much remains. There is only a bit of the walls and the floor which is a mosaic. Some of the symbols are very familiar - but today they are not known for good things - it is several swastikas on the mosaic. The old symbol used to an old sun and fertility symbol but the use of it during the 30ties and 40ties in Germany changed the perception of this symbol for eternity and giving it a sense of darkness. Hence it is a bit seeing it here on a mosaic which used to be an old church - as a symbol of good.


I head down the street from the big church and try to get out to a small church furthest away from the rest of town.

At the time it seems like a brilliant idea - but this is before the rain starts. While walking out on this one way street with nowhere to hide it starts to rain. But now I am at the point of no return and I can only hope the rain will not be too heavy. Fortunately the rain is only moderate and I get out the distant saint Jovan church. It is nicely situated on a little spot at the end of the road sticking out in the water on sort of a minuscule peninsula. Once again it is not possible to get in but I have a look around the place.


By now I start getting hungry and I joined up with Martin - it seems to be a small town - hence you meet the other tourist here. He is getting a bit hungry as well because for some strange reason no places seem to open for breakfast before 10. We walk back towards the centre to find a breakfast joint and we manage to find a nice little burger place - I guess a nice little hamburger will do just fine for breakfast. Unfortunately they don’t do coffee they do something else which is impossible to identify with any certainty but it does seem to contain some Nescafe.


By now it is time for me to head towards Skopje and Martin is trying to get back to Albania - hence we need to get to the bus station. Unfortunately the map we are using is somewhat out of date and the bus station has been moved to a completely different location from where it is on our map. After a couple of attempts asking different people in the street we figure out the right general direction towards the bus station and make it there. I get a ticket and here we also meet the people from yesterday who are also heading to Skopje - I guess this is a really tiny town and you are bound to bump into everybody as you walk along. I get my bus ticket and once again I seem to be broke - no more Macedonian money - but how bad can it be I cannot spend any money on the bus anyway given they do not serve anything.

sylviandavid says:
great blog.....I love your ability to see closed sites.....
Posted on: May 30, 2009
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photo by: delsol67