Wednesday, 17 August 2016

17th August, morning: Lake Matka, the discovery of another Macedonian treasure

We took the early bus from the Coach station, to take us into the nature resort outside Skopje around the river Treska. The lake is artificially created by damming the river, however, apart from the huge man-made dam, the whole area is a paradise of mountains, forests and water. En route there were a few old monasteries, which we intended to visit.

When we arrived all was still very quiet and deprived of tourists. We got off the bus at the canyon before the actual lake and went up the hill to see our first monastery, St Andrea. A lovely, very old church surrounded by some equally old and pretty functional buildings and lovely gardens.

Back at the canyon, we decided to take the trekking path through the mountains, which would lead us to the lake via the St Nicola’s Monastery high up in the hills. 

We had a beautiful walk, luckily most was in the forest, in some cooler shade, as the sun was burning down by then. We had a picnic up at the monastery, before continuing the path downwards towards the lake.

When arriving down at the lake we were stunned by the beautiful view, but also by seemingly having ended in a cul-de-sac, with water and trees around us, but no path to get anywhere around. 

All ‘civilisation’ including roads, restaurants and the way back to the bus was unreachable on the other side of the lake. We climbed around for a bit, looking for that hidden path, when we realised that a boat was approaching from the other side. It had come to pick us up – what a lovely service…

After having an over-priced under-quality lunch in the restaurant, we tried to find a ‘beach’, or rather some patch by the water, which was blessed by sunshine and accessibility to the water. Walking along the lake we were shocked by the amount of rubbish everywhere. It seems the usual thing here is to have a picnic or party, and leave all the rubbish behind.

In the end we returned to the canyon for some sunbathing and swimming. The big disappointment of the day happened when we were entering into the water and it was soooooooooo cold, that it positively hurt. Maybe we were overly tired, but it never has happened to me that I could not enter a water due to cold, not when swimming in March in the Atlantic ocean, neither in the ice-cold mountain ponds in 2000 meter altitude of the Bavarian alps.

Anyway, is was time to go back to prepare for the rehearsal with the Romani musicians this evening.... 

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