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March 2007

Flag Macedonia Bus ride from Skopje to Ohrid Flag Macedonia

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Bus ride from Skopje to Ohrid I wanted to go directly to Ohrid from Thessaloniki but there were no buses.

So I took a train to Skopje, slept there one night, and took a bus to Ohrid the morning after.

The train ride was OK. In 2004 I had taken a train between Bulgaria and Greece and it was completely run down, even with broken windows.
This time the ride was shorter and the train was better.
On the road in Macedonia As soon as I got off the train in Skopje’s station, I was approached by people offering me hotels, hostels, taxi, transport and anything a traveller might need.
I don’t know if their services were reliable, because I had already booked a hostel near the station, but in any case they weren’t annoying.
A simply “no thank you” was OK for them and they didn’t insist longer.
Mountains in Macedonia, picture from the bus In some countries like Thailand or Egypt, this kind of guys will follow you and insist, even if you don’t need anything from them.

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Stop at the town of Gostivar, Macedonia
After a night at the very comfortable Skopje Youth Hostel, I went to the bus station to check the bus timetable to Ohrid.

Lucky enough, I can read the Cyrillic alphabet, and a bus with a sign “Охрид" (Ohrid) was just leaving.
It stopped for me, I paid directly to the driver, and there I was on the road again.
The town of Gostivar, Macedonia There are two routes to go from Skpje to Ohrid: one via Bitola, which is longer, and the other via Kičevo.

The bus took the Kičevo route, passing some breathtaking landscapes.

The pictures on the left side and up are from the town of Gostivar, where the bus stopped.
A town and a mosque in Macedonia, picture from the bus After leaving Skopje the bus passes a few villages with colourful houses where the highest building was a big grey Ottoman-style mosque.

This is when you realize that this part of Europe is different from the rest.
Most of Europe has been influenced by Germany, Italy, Greece and France.
Here the Turkish influences are evident and it’s very exciting to discover this different side of Europe.
Arrival to Ohrid, Macedonia These are first houses around Ohrid, when arriving to the town.
The new bus station is large enough to accomodate some 30 buses, but it's qite far from town.

As Ohrid is a tourist town, taxis wait for the buses to take people to the center for about five times the normal fare.

As I had time, I decided to walk the 20 to 30 minutos from the station to the lake.
Seriously... Is that a name for a restaurant?  
The Big Grill, where I had my first lunch in Ohrid  
Yes, even in Ohrid you have a metal record shop. here they're advertising the Sepultura concert in Skopje  
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