Today was Orthodox Easter Monday. We agreed to make coffee and Silvana brought a traditional Easter cake and colored eggs
for fighting. So we had our Easter breakfast. Silvana’s egg beat mine easily and Heinz cracked David’s, but then Silvana’s cracked Heinz’s. So we three ate our eggs and Silvana was left with only cake. Apparently, in the following week that same egg cracked all the opponents from Austrian’s Skopje and Sofia offices. So I don’t feel too bad about being the first victim. Then we went around Skopje with H&S seeing the places one is supposed to have seen. Though I truly doubt that anyone in the U.S. will ask us about them.
First we went to the Church of St. Pantelaimon that overlooks the city. It is surrounded by a plaza with a restaurant where we tried pastelmare, an oval pizza, sort of, but filled with egg and sausage and coffee of course. There was a sense of absolute peace despite the number of people who had come to celebrate the Easter holiday. Lovely church and an even better view of the city.
We couldn’t quite see our house because it was hidden by one of the mountains, but we could see the Stone Bridge and the center of the city.
Then, energized by the rest and coffee, we headed for Matka gorge. It’s a narrow, river-filled area with a canoe raceway, a
hydroelectric dam, several restaurants, and six churches. And there’s a stone-paved walkway up next to the river. Lovely place and we walked quite a while up the path, but didn’t cross the river to go to the church that is on top of a mountain on the far side. We recognized that it was THE place to see, but . . .
We did visit St. Andrea’s church right near the path. We have probably seen as many churches in Macedonia as we have in the past 10 years in other countries. And at one point we were coming down this beautiful stone-paved path at the usual crawl, so I started walking briskly along, disconcerting the rest of the party. But I really felt the need for some exercise walking–still didn’t get any aerobic credit, but it felt good.
Got up pretty late and David and I went to Dal Met Fu on the main square for lunch. On the walking street, we saw a couple of things that you should share: an elegant bike rack and a bull statue with a local rider.
Then we walked to the Green Bazaar which David hadn’t seen and got some fruit. But we didn’t find the blueberry seller so I guess that was just a one-off. Then we checked out the location of the Broz Cafe where I have to show up on Wednesday morning. Good thing we did, although it’s easy to find once you know where it is. And then to the American Corner for David’s talk on Iran. For the record, 11,580 steps.
I left the house early to join the foreign women for coffee in Broz Cafe. It gave me a chance to say goodbye to some of the people I had met before and to meet new people. It’s a very nice group because there are lots of private organizations here as well as Embassy people and private citizens of various countries who work (usually teach) here. And it seems to me every one has an interesting story to share. David was at UACS teaching negotiation techniques to the professors. After the coffee, I started to walk home. Naturally, since I went in a different direction from the way I had come, I was completely lost. But I soon saw St. Clement Ohridski church, so then I knew my way. I happened in my wanderings to pass the MAT (Macedonian Airlines) office so I went in and confirmed that the flight was going on Saturday morning. The very helpful woman there took my phone number so she could let me know if anything changed. (The world is full of rumors that (1) MAT is going broke; (2) MAT has been saved by the owner who has sold everything to keep flying; (3) nobody knows about MAT. Very exciting. I don’t think I’d like to be left in Macedonia forever, but a couple of extra days wouldn’t be too bad.
David didn’t have anything in the morning, so we took off for the old market across the Vardar River. Just for a change, we took a different route and ended up not at the Stone Bridge but at the car bridge up the river. So that gave us a chance to walk up the path that goes along the river.
The first thing we saw when we crossed the Stone Bridge was the Daut Pasha Bath, which is now a museum, so we stopped in to admire the art and, especially, the beautiful brickwork domes inside the building. Then we walked up the shop-lined streets
looking at jewelry, mostly. But we saw many stores with fantastic gowns in gold-embroidered silk and this store that sold traditional dress for children. David commented that he had expected more of a bazaar feel. So I said that the real bazaar was at the end of the streets–and we were off. We wandered through the many stalls for a while and then it got to be around lunchtime. We decided that we wanted to eat a meal at the place Emily had taken us for coffee when we first arrived (how long ago that seems!) There was a map with places of interest andwe knew we were looking for a caravanserai (“an” in Macedonian). We figured which one we wanted (good thing David has a memory for locations) and asked for Kapan An from several English speakers. Either they didn’t know it, or they knew it under the restaurant name because we were sent hither and yon. After much walking, we found it at last. The courtyard had been completely transformed. Where, previously, there had been a cold, rainy, empty courtyard in front of a small restaurant, now there was a flower-bedecked seating area with canopies over it.
Total transformation for Spring. And again, the food was special. I was a little tired of meat, so looked for a veg dish.
Our very capable waitress said they made a melange of cooked vegetables in olive oil. Very good, she assured me–and she was right. Sort of like ratatouille, but with more in the pepper (not too hot) line. There is nothing like sitting outside in the sunshine eating an excellent meal. After coffee, we strolled back to the Bridge.
On the way there was a coppersmith who made and sold stills for making raki (Macedonian high alcohol brandy). Here’s David with the largest size, but we didn’t buy any. Then David got his taxi to work and I walked home. A totally lovely day.
We heard from Heinz at last and will be going to Ohrid over the weekend. Good news. We totally relaxed on Friday–lunch at the new Macedonian restaurant in Ramstore. I noted that the second ice cream store has been replaced by a good coffee shop. Food shopping and home to laundry.
Well, sometimes you need a break.
And I’m going to stop here because this last weekend of ours definitely needs a full section.