Hiking

Hiking and kayaking in Macedonia

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This is my last blog from the amazing journey in Macedonia this summer. The book about our hikes, our stays in cozy villages, and our swims in crystal clear lakes is now hopefully available on all markets, Travel Light in Macedonia - Hiking, cozy villages & crystal clear lakes. The next blog will be about Borneo to where we take off tomorrow.

After hiking to Magaro peak in Galicica National Park we headed to Pestani by Lake Ohrid to swim and relax, but we did not stay more than a day before we took off again. Next stop was to stay in a small monastery in Mavrovo National Park, but they did not have room for us. It is great to travel light when you find beautiful waterfalls on your way, but the six dogs that decided to join us on the hike made it a bit tricky on the narrow path. On the other hand, we had good laughs when they tried to run away with our shoes the second we put them down. What do dogs do with shoes? If we had found a room in the beautiful village Rostusja, we would have stayed and checked out a few of the other waterfalls.

We managed to get a lift to Mavrovo for our last challenging hike. To prepare we had a massage in the spa since we had surprised ourselves by booking a hotel with a lot of facilities. Staying in a ski resort during summer is cheap! The hike in Mavrovo was different in many ways. Parts were extremely steep, but it was open and sunny. The view in all directions from the 1980 meter top was stunning — a place to return to.

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Kayaking in Matka Canyon had been on our bucket list, and it was perfect since we did it on a Monday morning, all alone in the dam. The Vrelo Cave was also better than expected, but it still does not put Matka on top of the list of places to return to even though we had a quite good hike there too. On the other hand, it was fantastic compared to Pristina in Kosovo where we headed next. We will not return there without male company, and we were grateful to return to Skopje for a short stay before returning home to Sweden.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Hiking at its' best!

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Our next destination in Macedonia was St Naum to where we took a boat from Ohrid to see the beautiful Lake Ohrid and the mountains. A bonus was to see Tito’s house, and Bay of Bones. The latter is one of the most visited sights. They have reconstructed old roman housing and military facilities from 700 to 1200 BC. 

In St Naum, you will find a monastery which is the primary goal for most people and also the famous springs, Crn Drim. There are 45 springs, and the water is 98 % clear. It is hard to explain how clear the water is, but I try by saying that you barely see a surface. We took a walk around the springs and visited the small churches. Walk the extra mile when you visit St Naum! We were almost alone while the monastery was crowded. The local priest opened St Anastasia, the church on the hill, for us who were the only visitors. It had beautiful icons and interesting history. We also took a boat around the springs and a swim in the lake before entering the bus to Trpejca in the first bad weather we had encountered during our journey.

We had a blind date with an unknown landlord at the bus stop in the small village. Since we had heard so much about the fantastic hike to Magaro, we took the risk, but everything turned out well. Mishko was a great guy, and Jack of all trades. So, of course, he offered us a lift to Lipova starting point the next morning.

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Mishko had never been to Galicica National Park! The locals seldom go hiking which is good to know when you go hiking in amazing Macedonia. Plan and get yourself a good hiking app with offline maps, and don’t rely on the locals to know. We use Wikiloc, and Mishko wanted to leave us at the wrong place until I showed him the picture of the sign at Lipova starting point. The hike was fantastic! It took 5 hours to walk from 1600 meters to the top Magaro at 2255 meters, and back down. The view at the top is magical. You can see Lake Ohrid, Prespa Lake, Macedonia, Greece, and Albania. The hike is partly steep, but manageable, at least if you pick up walking sticks in the forest at the start of the hike. Except for an Austrian, we were alone on the mountain until we almost back on the parking again. 

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A swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Ohrid and a tasty vegetarian meal, grilled mushrooms with fries, was precisely what we needed after the hike.