Hitchhiking in Macedonia with a former Albanian jailer
A road trip with Albanians to Macedonia and a glass of wine by the Ohrid Lake
Long time no see! This how it is when you are a backpacker and can’t take a laptop with you. However, I tried to do my best and kept you updated on my FB page. The Balkan trip was so intense, long and full of new friends that I stopped counting the days, hours and people who helped us.
So let the story begin!
Straightly from Odessa, we got to Bucharest and at 6 am fully happy to start the adventure we wrote our next destination on the carton. We had more luck than logical thinking and were crossing the Romanian-Bulgarian border at 8 am. Three drivers didn’t forget to mention us how dangerous and unfriendly Bulgaria is. This words would follow us to the end of our trip.
Danube river divides two countries. That’s why we took a ferry boat to get to Bulgary and I finally got a stamp with a ferry in my passport. I quickly asked all the people on the ferry about their future way and luck was with us again. Two Albanians were coming back home passing Ohrid lake where our Couchsurfing friend was waiting for us.
No words can describe how happy I was to have confidence that we would get to Macedonia safely. Our road mates where stopping every two hours to buy fruits for us or lunch, or snack, or soda, or just to chill out. The funny fact was that there are a lot of fruit stucks on the road selling all homegrown goods. We stopped by one of them. I wondered about coca-cola plastic bottles full of orange liquid. I thought it was apple juice. “Try it. It is good!” – said the woman. It was one of the strongest rakias I have ever tried. So, alcohol on the road. Just like that.
Once we got to Macedonian border, one of the Albanians informed us that a couple of years ago he got imprisoned for transporting cocaine in Balkans. He spent one year in jail and he would have been checked at the border due to his past history. I was kind of shocked. You don’t get a chance every day to be in one car with a past drug dealer. Good experience anyway.
8 pm and were chilling out next to the Macedonian flag by the lakeside in Ohrid.
Ten minutes later Jet arrived. He was our new host and a person who would save our lives the next day. However, at that time we didn’t know that. The day ended with a glass of wine in the company of good friends and with a view of the lake, mountains and night lights.
The next day was spent in Ohrid exploring old castles, monasteries, drinking coffee with a view that deserves my tears. Jet and his cousin showed us the hidden places that are not visible for tourist’s eyes. Just before our departure to Albania we spontaneously decided to rent a paddle boat in order to get to the clean water far away from the coast of the lake and enjoy last summer rays. The water was transparent and refreshing.