My trip to Ohrid

On the eleventh day in Macedonia I took a trip from Prilep to Ohrid. The reason for this was that on Saturday there was an event called International Folk Festival in Ohrid, and they had participants from the dance ensemble called Junii Tarnavei, from my hometown Tarnaveni in Romania.

I knew this before coming to Macedonia, so I asked the dance teacher to bring me some winter clothes because they didn’t fit in the bag I took with me when I was coming to Macedonia.

So, on Friday I searched for a place where to sleep in Ohrid, and I easily found one on Airbnb, for 10 Euros, situated 3 minutes from the center of the square. I booked it, then I called the owner to confirm.

The next day I took the bus from Prilep at 10:15, made an 2.5 hour trip and arrived to Ohrid. I checked in at the apartment, then I had about 5 hours to explore the city, because I was supposed to meet with the dance group at 19:00.

I got a few recommendations from my colleagues, from YCP and went on to search the objectives. First I stopped at St.Sophia church, but I couldn’t get in because there was a choir singing inside. On the other hand, there was a guide with a group outside right at that moment, so I heard some interesting information about the church, for example that it was build during the first Bulgarian empire. Also I found out that the lake Ohrid is the 3rd oldest lake in the world, and also very deep, about 350 meters.

 Then I visited St John of Kaneo church, which is situated on the cliff over Kaneo beach, and it has a great view over the entire lake. After I got out of the church I saw a really interesting thing. The sun was right above the lake in front of me, and as I was looking down at the water from the cliff, the light from the sun hit the waves and it made a really beautiful effect, like a thousand camera lights going on one after another in a symphony.

After that I found a restaurant where I tried a traditional Macedonian dish, some beans with soft bread. It is similar to the Romanian one, except that it has pepper, which makes it spicier.

Then, I went on a walk and got to the meeting point with the group. After that I went with them to see them at the parade.

The parade was really nice, all the countries sang traditional songs as they were walking through the center while people were admiring and taking pictures of them.

All the dancers got to a small square where they started to get ready to present their traditional dances.

The first one was Macedonia. They were older people singing some songs, and also the men had a sort of a slow dance together.

After Macedonia came Turkey. They had a single dance on high paced music, where they had to revolve around a flag in the center.

Poland was presented by group from Warsaw and they were dancing a slow wals in pairs and they also sang some traditional songs. After that, a dancer came to the microphone, sang in a faster pace and the boys were dancing with 2 girls at once. It had some similarities with the Romanian dance when they danced in group, but also when they danced in pairs, for example we have a dance called Brasoveanca, and the music was the same with ours. They had 3 different groups and each had a different type of dance.

After this, the Romanian instructor called for my help, because he needed someone to hold the Romanian flag, so I got to participate to the festival too! It was really unexpected, but I was happy to help. We went in the back stage, and waited while the second group from Turkey performed. I only saw parts of their dance from there, and they had some kind of dance where they hold hands and go round the dance floor. We call it “hora” in Romania. They danced on some oriental type of music.

Then it was Romania’s turn, where I entered the stage first to go to the center of the scene to hold the flag. It was pretty exciting to see the group perform from the stage. They had multiple dances, like Invartita, Codru. It was mostly fast paced dances in pairs, where the girls would spin around under the boys’ arms, also they had some special moves where the two girls would hold one boy and he would sit with his legs upside down.

After this came another group from Turkey, where five men did a very fast paced dance, and it got the crowd really pumped up.

The last dance was Bulgaria, where some boys danced solo, but also in pairs with the girls. The girls were shouting, and after that they had some older people singing.

All in all,  it was a really good show, where the tourist visiting Ohrid  had the chance to see a bit of the culture and traditions of other countries.

The next day I wanted to do a tour of Ohrid on the bike, so I saw that the owner of the apartment had three of them, so I asked his sister who was there in the morning. I rented it for 5 Euros, and took off  to explore area. I went by the lake and enjoyed the hot weather and the view of the lake. I had about 2 hours of  biking next to the lake and through the center, then went to eat a soup at the restaurant close to the lake.

After that I returned to the apartment to get ready to return to Prilep. I went to the bus station and had the luck to meet a private driver who had another three people waiting to go to Prilep. He asked me if I went to Prilep or Bitola, I said yes – to Prilep, and that’s how I got two hours earlier at home. Next time when I am going to visit Ohrid will be the 4th of August for the Ohrid Calling Festival, so I hope I will catch a good weather as it was for this trip.

Catalin