A Travellerspoint blog

From the Mountains to the Black sea coast

In the middle of all the development we find an untouched Paradise!

Friday 25th June

Headed for a short walk around the hamlet, seemed a great place to live overlooking the hills in every direction. We then headed back to the main road and set off towards the sea, although we decided to take the smaller roads as much as we could to get there.

Rhodopi_hills.jpg

Cow_on_the_road.jpg

We again drove through miles of great-untouched countryside and woods, occasionally passing through small villages. After a few wrong turns later in the day we came out into the Industrial city of Burgas, on the coast. We continued south along the coast towards the old coastal port town of Sozopol. When we arrived though it seemed like a bad Welsh seaside town, so we continued on hoping to find an untouched beach to park on. What we instead found was mile upon mile of finished and unfinished development, it wasn’t in the slightest a pretty sight. We carried on travelling down almost to the Turkish border, again finding nothing but development and tourist resorts. Our hopes for an untouched coastline were crushed and we decided to head back up along the coast, to a spot we had seen another motorhome parked at. It was going dark when we arrived at the spot overlooking a stretch of coast between two developments. This little stretch of beach hadn’t been built on, as apart from the road it was marshland.

Parked_up_..ulgaria.jpg


Saturday 26th June

We had heard and read there were still beaches untouched in Bulgaria, where people camped all summer, sometimes to stop the developers moving in. We had a couple of names of the beaches and a vague idea where they were, so the search was not as yet over. We decided though to continue north in our search rather than going back south. We headed off on the coastal road back through Burgas and up towards Varna. Passing by the horrible beach resort of Sunny beach and massive hotel complexes on the way. Bulgaria had certainly undergone big development along the coast, destroying what would have probably of been beautiful coast line. Still I suppose people need to make money, but obviously they had lacked and probably still do any regulations. Also any type of balance between becoming like south Spain and still having untouched areas of beauty.

After passing Nesebar and sunny beach the road led away from the coast up the hills into the woods. It was on a bend on this road we spotted a sign for one of the beaches we had listed called Irakli. We immediately turned off down an old pot holed road, after a while we came to an area with a few parked cars and some small beach bars. Where the beach bars were there were deckchairs on the beach, but further away down the long stretch of beach, it was untouched. By the looks of things developers were trying to get in here too, as there was the foundations for a so-called eco village just set back behind the bars. Also there were small signs for plots of land for sale, but apart from the stretch of coast and the land behind was untouched by buildings. We parked up and took a walk down the beach, when we got to the start of the deserted beach we noticed lots of tents in the woods up the small incline, so we went and had a look. Up in the tree’s lots of people had set up their tents, they had got access via their cars down a dirt track. We followed the track to see if it was possible we could get the motorhome down it, it would be a struggle and there were some big holes to try and avoid. If it rained though we would be well and truly stuck, also the track more suited 4x4’s or lighter cars than a heavy vehicle like ours. We decided to stop down where we had parked for tonight and decide tomorrow whether we would attempt the track.

Arriving back at the motorhome, we had two options for parking either in a paid car park by the bar or in a small piece of scrap land by another beach bar. A big burly Bulgarian had said it would be no problem to park in this bit of scrap land, where by the looks they were building something. As this was nearer the beach with a view to the sea we opted for it. After parking up the guy came back down and we thought to try and sort out now rather than later whether we could park here for free or whether we needed to pay a small amount. He sort of asked for some money for parking, but when I asked how much he made a telephone call and then said in very broken English (as he only knew a few words) that it was no problem to park here for the night. I double-checked that we didn’t need to pay and he repeated no problem. Something about them seemed dodgy mind and we had heard lots of places along the coast were mafia run! But he seemed fine on us parking here and it wasn’t costing anything, so we stayed put.

Sunday 27th June

Decided we didn’t want to overstay our welcome where we were parked. So we would head back up the road and park there, before investigating further along the beach for parking spots in the trees. As we were leaving though the big bloke and a mate stopped us and demanded 20 levs (about £10) for camping! He kept asking for 10 euros for the camping, we protested as he said it was no problem and Lorna called him dishonest! He didn’t budge mind and still kept demanding the money, hiding the notes we gathered the change that amounted to only 8 levs and informed him this was all we had. He still demanded 20 levs, but we kept saying all we had was 8. He didn’t look too pleased, but we didn’t want to pay a silly price for something he told us was no problem! Eventually I think too disgusted by the small amount we offered him he waved us away without us paying anything to him! We still though weren’t too happy it had all happened and as he was an ever presence around the beach bars, we decided not to stay any longer around this beach and continue on to find one of the others. We continued our journey towards the town of Byala to try and find a beach called Karadere.

In the meantime we had only one gas bottle that we were using, the one we managed to get filled in Croatia. The other Repsol bottle had a strange fitting we had been told they couldn’t refill. I had noticed though on the journey so far in Bulgaria, their gas bottle’s had the same fittings. After asking at a few places yesterday whether they could refill our bottle and being told no, as you usually are when you ask. Today we hit some luck just outside of a town called Obzor at the brilliantly entitled gas station of KGB! So we now had the spare gas bottle full again, (well about 80% full as when in the bottle the gas expands, so you wouldn’t want the bottle filled fully!) for a cost of around £8.

We arrived at Byala and knew the beach in question was around here, but the town looked pretty developed, so we carried on and turned off just after the town. We had constantly seen big areas of the coast untouched by development but there were always no roads going to them, apart from the odd tracks. To be able to investigate them we would need a 4x4 or scrambler rather than a 3.5tonne motorhome. This time though I decided on just pulling down a dirt track, with the thought that if you are going to have an untouched beach it would be down a dirt track rather than a road! We came to a fork in the track early on, but we could see in the distance the sea. The track was at the start to some vineyards and we didn’t really know if it was a private track or not.

Track_to_beach.jpg

There was a van just further down with someone checking the vines, so after a quick look in the phrasebook I went with the map to ask him where the beach was. The answer I got back of course I couldn’t actually understand! But I devised we were on the track to the beach which was in the distance, although we shouldn’t go down this track as it was too bumpy and we should take a wider circle around. Happy with the answer I jumped back in the motorhome and off we went down the other track, we of course came to various forks and other smaller tracks off, but stuck to the larger ones in the general direction of the sea. The track though was very bumpy and our large vehicle probably looked a right sight slowly making our way down it between the vineyards. We then got to another fork, but this time the main track dipped roughly and heavily down. This at a struggle we could get down, but 3.5 tonnes and no 4-wheel drive would make coming back up a steep dirt bumpy track impossible! We stopped where we were while I took a walk down the other track to see where it went. After a while I came to a clearing where a small VW camper was parked, it was overlooking a small beach with no buildings around in sight. When I got back to the motorhome we immediately headed down the smaller track and parked up overlooking the sea and this lovely oasis of unspoilt coast and beach. We found out later that this beach is actually one continued stretch of sand, we were in a small beach sort of cove and Karadere was further along. Although we couldn’t drive to it we could walk to it. There seemed to be a lot of people camped up at Karadere we could see and only a couple of people camped up here. We settled for the rest of the day happy we had found such a great spot.

Beach_near_Byala.jpg

Problem was as there was nothing here, we wouldn’t be able to see the all important England v Germany world cup game! I had seen on the net a few days ago the kick off was at 4pm, which meant 6pm in Bulgaria. So about 5pm we got on our bikes and headed back into Byala up the track, as we didn’t really want to drive back and forth in the motorhome. The track was pretty tough and long and all the way uphill!

Going_to_w..e_match.jpg

Still would mean it would be better to come back down later! After a cycle round the hilly slopes of Byala we found a bar and settled down with a drink to watch the game. It was at this point we realised the kick of time we had was wrong and the second half had actually just kicked off and we were already 2-1 down! Still we ordered a pizza each and a bowl of chips and began to cheer them on, hoping we could get back and win the game. Well as you all probably know we sat watching as more German goals went in and the time went down and the realisation we had now exited the world cup! Those players have got a lot to answer for, maybe one day England will play as a team who know what to do with the ball when they attack. We paid a stupidly small price of £5 for two pizzas, a bowl of chips and 3 beers and headed demoralised back up the hill. On passing the main square of the town we found a traditional folk dance in full flow.

Traditiona..ulgaria.jpg

Folkdance__Bulgaria.jpg

So we stood for a while watching them in their traditional costumes sing and dance around, all good stuff. Then headed with ease back down the track to the motorhome.

Monday 28th June – Wednesday 1st July

Spent a few days saving money by being parked for free in one spot! We relaxed, enjoyed the weather, the beach and the sea. It is a beautiful location and free from any development, for the moment at least, surrounded by vineyards and open countryside. We took a walk down the beach to the main part, where everybody camps. There are a good mix of people from young student looking types, to families and nudists. A lot of people are always coming and going as many people from all over Bulgaria come to camp here on the beach and in the woods, even the locals come at the weekend. It is wonderful to have a stunning location like this that people can camp out and enjoy their own country. The developments taking place and destroying the rest of this coastline certainly are not for the benefit of the average Bulgarian, as they couldn’t afford it. Apparently even here there is talk of a so-called eco village containing a helicopter pad! I really hope they don’t manage to develop here, as is it just perfect the way it is. The problem is most of the land, I believe including the vineyards, are owned by local people. They need the money, as the average salary here is extremely low, so normally take up offers to sell. What someone needs to do is buy up the land and protect it, I wonder how much that would cost? Saying that I would love a vineyard on the coast and maybe one small house further up the hill. I suppose though if one gets built the rest will follow and then it is beautiful no more….

Thursday 2nd July

We needed to leave our beautiful beach location, the reason bluntly was our toilet is full! Also we could do with a shopping trip for food, so we set off to Varna and then to find one of the other beach locations we have listed. We said goodbye to the beach and also Angel, he is a local who takes groups quad biking about 4 times a day, over the last few days we have been chatting every time he comes by. We don’t amazingly want to leave, but needs must, so we slowly head back down the small bumpy dirt track and back to the road.

In Varna we find that unlike all the other towns we have driven through that seem to have great clear signs to the supermarket, here they are nonexistent. So we ended up driving around the city rather lost a few times trying different directions, till we stumbled across it. We then headed back south along the coast to find the other beaches, we found another beach near the town of Shkorpiovtsi. This didn’t have any major developments but had many small beach shack type bars. There was a track going further into the woods by the stretch of coast, where a lot of people were camping but this track was very bumpy and not even worth considering taking the motorhome down, so we turned back away. Also the coast just wasn’t as beautiful as Karadere and we didn’t really want to stay there. Driving along the coast there is a lot of the coast that you can see at a distance from the road is all countryside, these areas may hold more lovely unspoilt areas. The only way to see though would be down the many small tracks that you see. We would need a quad bike or scrambler to really have a good investigation, something I would love to come back and do. We tried another road towards the coast to try and find Kamchia sands, all we found though was a collection of holiday bungalows and restaurants. We decided right then that we would head back to Karadere beach, tonight though we would find a campsite to empty the tanks and fill up with water etc.

We headed back towards Byala, as according to our Bulgarian tourist map there were a couple of campsites on the road heading south towards Obzor. What we found though were big hotels where the campsites should have been! Even though at one point there was a brand new sign on the road saying “Campsite”, but we just reached a hotel with the security officer telling us there was no campsite! We carried on further south and passed a campsite/bar sign, so headed down a small road into the woods. We reached a barrier that was held open and drove through, we then got to some old abandoned buildings that looked like they were once a holiday complex of some sorts. We thought then that we would probably never find a campsite! We decided though to continue a bit more down the small road and came to another new barrier by a small holiday bungalow. This was indeed a campsite and it was only £6, which was a bonus, so we headed off and found a spot in the wooded area for the night. It was very basic and mostly for tents or as they seem to love in Bulgaria small holiday chalet things, but suited us just fine.

Friday 3rd July – Monday 6th

Freeparkin..r_Byala.jpg

Headed back to Byala and back down the dirt track to our lovely beach location, to set back up camp. We again took time to enjoy the sun, beach and sea with the locals. We even saw a couple of Dolphins, well Lorna spotted them and we just saw them arch up in the distance, still it was our first dolphin sighting!

Posted by marklorna 04:58 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (1)

From Melnik to the Rhodopi Mountains via Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Cheap living!

Sunday 20th June

Woke up with a slight hangover to a car park with a coach load of tourists and some stalls set up. We decided to head off back into the village of Melnik to take a look around. It was a lovely place with old Bulgarian buildings and a backdrop of sand hills.

Lovely_hou..ulgaria.jpg

Melnik.jpg

The place is renowned for it’s wine, so we headed up the hill to a wine tasting cellar that was 250 years old and was a manmade cave for storing wine. We arrived and were poured two large glasses of white! So it seems it was more like a bar than a tasting. The bloke wasn’t amazingly helpful and said as we didn’t speak Bulgarian he wasn’t speaking to us! So he stood watching over us leaning against the barrels, I’m sure he was drunk. After a few tries I eventually got him speaking and we found out it is the red and not white wine that the place is famous for and is supposed to be the non hangover stuff of legend. We bought a bottle of white and headed back down the hill into the village.

wine_cave__Melnick.jpg

View_over_Melnik.jpg

The village is full of shops selling red and white wine in plastic bottles of varying sizes, so before we left we bought 1.5l of red for about £3. Later we discovered we should of bought a lot more red as it was lovely, light, potent and seemed indeed to be hangover free. We continued our journey to the Rila mountains and to Rila Monastery where there was a campsite. There are not many proper campsites in Bulgaria, as most like this are a small patch of land behind small wooden bungalows. Still there was a great view up to the peaks of the mountains and we settled for the rest of the day in the rain, with the aim of heading to the monastery tomorrow. Seems like ever since we bought this fan/tiny air conditioner it’s been raining!

Rila_Mounatain.jpg

Monday 21st June

Headed off and to the Monastery, a Unesco world heritage site, this was a lovely place and free to go around. It is an Orthodox place and is still a place of residents to many monks. It is very colourful and well worth the look round.

Rila_Mones..ulgaria.jpg

Inside_the..y_walls.jpg

Painted_ar..of_Rila.jpg

Stairs_of_..nestary.jpg

We also bumped into the Dutch motorhomer that was also staying at the campsite last night. After we then headed further up the mountain to have a short walk in the woods.

The_woods_..ulgaria.jpg

In_the_for..of_Rila.jpg

Cows_in_the_trees.jpg

We then continued our journey and headed for the ski resort of Borovets to find somewhere to free park for the night. It seemed to be a very busy small ski resort with plenty of hotels bars and restaurants. No doubt packed full in the winter, now though it was very empty. The road up the small mountain was laden with many potholes, we had found already that driving in Bulgaria is never fast as there are constant potholes to avoid! We found ourselves a spot and settled for the evening. A few times we had the local police drive up and slow down and take a look at us, but they never even got out of their cars let alone spoke to us, so we assumed we were fine where we were.

Freeparkin..ulgaria.jpg

Tuesday 22nd June

Decided to head to Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city that has an old roman amphitheatre. Driving into the city wasn’t the best fun as we there are no signs pointing to anything and if there were any they were in Cyrillic anyway! We eventually found a small car park, but then didn’t really know where in relation we were to the old town! After a walk about we stumbled into a huge main square that happened to have a tourist information office. Where we bumped into our fellow Dutch traveller we had seen in Rila, we would bump into him several more times during the course of the day. With a city map in hand we headed off to the old quarter and the amphitheatre. Now Bulgarian countryside is lovely but we were finding the larger towns and now the city weren’t very pleasant on the eye. They had in-between newer concrete buildings, some old buildings that no one probably could afford or be bothered to keep up repairs, but mainly it was a lot of concrete. No doubt from the communist times, although this too obviously never had any repairs done. So the overall impression of places was a bit grim, but hey this is Bulgaria. Trying to find the amphitheatre, we were absconded by what seemed a friendly guy who said he would show us. Well we walked straight into that, he took us down some streets pointing out obvious historical buildings (I say obvious as they all had plaques telling us just that!) before leading us where we wanted to go. All the time we didn’t really need him and said, but at the end he pulled out a letter with a sob story and asked for some money. We gave him very little and off he went to try his luck on some other unsuspecting people.

Old_town_of_Plovdiv.jpg

Plovdiv_Am..ulgaria.jpg

After a quick look at the theatre and old town we headed back to the motorhome and off towards a campsite near the Greek and Turkish borders.

The campsite was called Sakar hills and we headed there in the hope of watching the next England game the following day! Also we needed to get some washing done and some internet research for what we were to do next, as we didn’t know whether to cross over to Turkey and Istanbul. The family and son running the campsite were lovely and very friendly, although not football fans. Also we met a Dutch couple that were travelling around in their role as certified campsite inspectors for ACSI. They had been to Turkey a few times and said we should go. Also the family running the campsite said Istanbul is a must and Turkey. To top it all a young English couple also staying at the campsite had just come from Istanbul and told us too we should go. It all sounded great and it would be similar to Morocco, we had wanted to head into Turkey anyway. We needed to think about it though, as our finances would dictate whether it would be possible or not. In the end we decided no, as it would cost in fuel and staying there, as well as the visa’s costing €15 each. We would come back to do Turkey another time, as in the back of our mind we were thinking of our next adventure being in a 4x4 maybe across Asia! As the visas were for 3 months there didn’t seem a point of paying out that much for a few days in Istanbul. Besides there were still plenty more countries left to see in Europe, problem was we were so tantalisingly close to Turkey!

Wednesday 23rd June

Got on top of the washing and a lot of internet use! As well as managing just about to see our first England game of the world cup. I say just as we had to try and find a live stream of the game on the internet, which we finally managed to do a bit before half time and then most of the time the stream kept failing! Still we got to watch a bit, although were having about as much luck with the games as England themselves!

The family here had been talking about the ups and downs of living in Bulgaria, as the countryside was beautiful and the houses amazingly cheap! I was beginning to think maybe I could live here, especially after looking at some property sites on the net! I could get an old house that needed work with some land for less or around £10,000 and then living here was very cheap. All seemed a good idea brewing in my mind! Still needed to check out a lot more of the country and see what the coast was like. Also I’ve always fancied a place by itself, but most Bulgarian houses are in villages or Hamlets. Apparently it goes back to the communist times, that way everyone could always be kept an eye on! Still just an idea and no harm in looking.

Thursday 24th June[b]

Decided to head back on ourselves and off to the Rhodopi mountains as it was supposed to be nice. We set off and drove through some lovely countryside. In the flatter areas there was more agricultural including many fields of sunflowers, staring at the sun.

Sunflowers.jpg

We then took a few wrong turns as a lot of the road signs are in Cyrillic! So ended up taking a very long way around the mountain region. All very nice but we weren’t really finding many places to park up. On the way back round after a day of driving, I decided it would be better to take the even smaller roads and see more of the countryside and hopefully it would be easier to find somewhere to park. As soon as we did we hit some beautiful tree covered rolling mountains. We found a spot to park just outside a town called Gradishte, over looking the mountains.

Freeparkin..untains.jpg

Posted by marklorna 04:50 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)

From Greece to Melnik, Bulgaria

A great introduction to the country!

Saturday 19th June

Woke up to Glorious sunshine and no trace of the storm last night, apart from our wet items that we stuck out to dry. In no time though the items had dried. Although the beach location was free and great, we got itchy feet and decided to head up into Bulgaria. Stopping en route at a motorhome shop to buy a fan, a fly screen (as Lorna was constantly being bitten) and some essential toilet liquid! We ended up though getting a small cool air fan, that worked off 12 volt and you added water to it to cool the air slightly. This with these hot nights though was needed.

After a few conversations with people, especially the guy in the motorhome shop. We found out to what degree Greece’s corruption was! Recently it seemed that on the Government getting a great deal of money for the EU, many government jobs were set up for people who didn’t exist and a great deal of salaries paid to a few people! By the sounds of what was said, the Greek government and people need to be totally re-educated on future thinking and not just what they can get in their pocket now. Then again the whole world is really like this, just on different scales, but corruption is everywhere and rife in different forms. From the British government doing dodgy deals with say the British arms trade to supply weapons to dodgy dictatorships and everyone government and companies getting bulgier wallets from it. To complete in your face corruption in poorer countries, where the rich government officials are getting wealthier when the country is getting poorer. It’s all connected anyway, as most times it is western governments who allow certain regimes to flourish, as they can get certain advantages themselves or companies they have close interests with can. It is the great Globalisation or so-called free market, which allows colonialism to continue but under a different name. Anyway corruption is rife in many different forms and in many different societies, even though we are all led to believe the west is the best!

Anyway, I wont go on. With the items bought we headed north to the Bulgarian border and to a country I had been looking forward to venturing around. We passed through the border with pretty much ease, although as we came to a stop by the border officials Lorna decided she would jump straight out to drop some Greek postcards in the last post box on the border! After a quick look inside we were waved on, that is up until another small office where we had to pay 5 euros to get a weeks road pass, called a Vignette. We were then free to set forth and investigate the country. We headed towards the wine town of Melnik, where it is said that they grow and make some hangover free wine! The countryside around is wonderful, rolling hills mountains and forests. The Cyrillic signs are a little difficult to understand, but most have English too.

Bulgarian_Statue.jpg

On driving nearer to Melnik down a potholed road, we enter a landscape of sand type pyramid natural hills and beautiful old Bulgarian houses. We pass through the town, as there is no sign of a supposed campsite and continue along the road to the monastery. On arriving at a few houses and couple of old style taverns by a small car park, we are in the process of turning around when a local shouts to us and makes signs to say that sleeping here in the motorhome would be no problem. As the light is fading we think why not, so park up. After a walk up the hill to the monastery and back we decide to pop over to the tavern. Which we find the friendly bloke runs and we order some of the local wine. Instead of a glass we opt for a jug! With an olive and onion salad. The jug has some sliced lemon in it and the wine tastes very fortified, but very drinkable. A few glasses later we begin to feel the effects, of this seemingly potent stuff. Then a huge storm erupts and the rain and hail come down, but it is still warm. In the middle of it the power goes in the village and all the lights go out, which enables us to see all the fireflies glowing in the hedgerow. People though continue to eat and drink in the dark, so we assume this must happen quite often. The power is returned in time for a coach load of local people and a two man local band to arrive. Seems like this is the party tavern! The music kicks off and we continue with our jug of wine, now the effect in full flow! Later now very drunk we pay a stupidly small amount of money for the wine and salad and head back over to the motorhome to get some food in us. This seems a great start to our Bulgarian journey!

Posted by marklorna 04:47 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)

From Macedonia to Greece and the Chalkidiki peninsular.

Better than we had thought it would be!

Wednesday 16th June

The sun was out so we headed off walking up the mountain. It was a gorgeous walk through the wooded mountainside, looking over the valleys.

View_from_..cedonia.jpg

Although we didn’t go all the way up to the top where there are some lakes, which would have been nice to see.

We originally intended on going into Bulgaria straight from Macedonia, but as we were so close to Greece and we’d both neither been to the mainland we thought why not. We had also found on the internet some areas to free park on the peninsula of Chalkidiki below the city of Thessaloniki. So off we headed for the long drive there, not forgetting to put our clocks another hour forward! When we reached the border though, the Macedonian official didn’t seem to like us and took a while with our passport and papers. He asked us how long we had been here and where we had been, then informed us we should have registered with the local police. This is the same case in a lot of the Eastern European countries, although hotels and campsites etc do this for you when they take your passport details. We explained that we thought the campsite did this, to which we were told no! We should have. After a while longer and a good look inside the motorhome, we were told next time we should inform the Police, then he let us out of the country! It would help a great deal maybe upon entering the country, you are told what you are supposed to do.

Anyway, the Greek border we passed through with ease and drove on through the hot plains of Greece towards Thessaloniki. Stopping on the way for a quick supermarket shop and realisation of how expensive Greece was. Also the heat was very very hot and humid and after coming out of the air-conditioned supermarket it hit us like a rock. We managed with the Greek signs to get around the city and finally onto Chalkidiki and headed for a smaller peninsular of Sithonia, one of three sticking out at the bottom. As the day was getting late though and we needed to fill and empty our tanks, so we stopped at a campsite on the coast near the town of Gerakini.

Thursday 17th June – Friday 18th June

Continued our journey down onto Sithonia and were both pleasantly surprised how nice it was. There seemed no huge developments just small towns on the coast followed by untouched area’s dotted with a few houses and some lovely sandy coves and bays. We found a great free parking spot with some other motorhomes right by Toroni. On entering the small area right on the beach and seeing another motorhome that had just arrived stuck in the sand, we decided to park up slightly further off on some harder ground. We then settled down in some serious and nice hot sun to enjoy the sea. Also for the first time on the trip Lorna managed to get fully into the sea for a swim, without a wet suit! She had complained before of the sea everywhere we had been of being too cold! So never got in past her legs. Here though the sea was like warm bath water! Lovely to swim in. Also with a new snorkel mask, I spent a great deal of time snorkelling around the rocks looking at the fish. It’s lovely to snorkel and be able to view part of the underwater world. During the night mind we found there was a local dog that seemed to bark at the moon! The next day was also spent sunning, snorkelling and generally enjoying the weather. The weather was very hot mind and the nights too hot to sleep almost, we decided that we needed to find a better fan to at least get a little relief.

Freeparkin.._Toroni.jpg

Tonight we decided we would eat out, as on a hot day cooking inside the motorhome just increased the temperature. Also England had their second game of the world cup, we aimed to be in a bar to watch it and there were plenty of bars a walk further along the coast. Later that evening we set off ready to execute our simple plan of food and football. We found to our dismay the food prices a bit ridicules and also there weren’t any great vegetarian options anywhere, it also looked like it was going to rain! We found a nice place that did a pizza so sat down, just as we did all hell broke lose in the sky and a major storm suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The rain came very heavy and very fast and the winds rose up, as we sat in what looked like a big tropical storm. When we came to order our food, they didn’t have any pizza left and as this was the only veggie thing for Lorna we departed the restaurant disappointed! The storm was in full effect and we darted across the road that was now a river! Into a small kebab shop to get some chips at least, although I partook in a Greek kebab too (which was 10 times better than any English one, as it was actually enjoyable and tasty to eat!). The rain was ridicules and heavy, we then realised that as the weather when we left the motorhome was hot, we had left the roof vents open! This in a normal light shower wouldn’t have been a problem, but the rain was heavy and coming down fast and hard. So the game was abandoned as we made our way back through the storm and the roads that were now ankle deep rivers! By the time we made it back to the motorhome we were past being soaked through, we were just stupidly wet. On opening the motorhome door mind we found that the motorhome too was wet! The bed sheets, duvet and top foam were soaked, as well as the floor drenched and some back seats wet. So with storm in full throw still outside we set about mopping up and putting all the wet things in a bag. Hopefully the weather would be sunny tomorrow so we could at least dry some items. With a bottle of wine opened we sat watching the lightening across the bay, wondering if we would actually get to watch an England game!

Posted by marklorna 04:45 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

From Lake Ohrid to Pelister National park, Macedonia

Relaxing by the lake!

Friday 11th June

Got up and left the campsite to find something else around the lake. Before that we headed back into Ohrid to get some shopping, mainly booze and BBQ items for my birthday tomorrow! We also headed around the old town, which was much nicer.

Old_town__..cedonia.jpg

Ohrid_old_..by_lake.jpg

We ended up wandering into an archaeological site that was having some presentation going on. We found out that the man who was speaking was the actual Prime Minister of Macedonia and he was awarding special rings for the top university students for that year!

The_Prime_..he_ings.jpg

We then carried on around the lake towards Ljubanista and found a cheap campsite right on the lake. As soon as we drove in we came across a big 4x4 truck that we recognised. This turned out to be the Jones, a family who we had met in Morocco! Goes to show what a small world we live in. After a good chat finding out where each other had travelled, we found a great spot overlooking the lake and set up camp.

Gradiste_C..e_Ohrid.jpg

Saturday 12th June

Woke up to great sunshine and heat, after breakfast opened up some birthday cards I had received and Lorna’s present of a hammock.

Birthday_B..t_view_.jpg

This turned out to be a great present, as soon as it was set up I lay back in it. It’s amazing how much you slow down when lying back in a hammock!

Joys_of_the_hammock_.jpg

This rest of the day was spent doing very little in the sun, apart from having a lovely bbq. That evening though was England’s first game in the world cup and a first to have one on my birthday! Only problem was there were no bars near the campground, so nowhere to watch the game. What made it worse was that all around the campsite all the locals in their static caravans were watching the game! I headed round a few times to try and see the score, but as the commentary was in Macedonian and the tellies were small I wasn’t able to see. I did ask a few people the score though.

Sunday 13th June – Monday 14th June

Spent the days doing very little in the hot sun, with the exception of a kayaking trip to the shops. We headed off across the lake to the local village, tied up our canoes and bought some goods. Stuffed them in the back of the kayak and paddled back slightly weighed down! It was rather a unique way of going shopping. Kayaking in the lake we also were shocked to find little creatures heads sticking out. As we got closer we found they were snakes swimming and it sort of put us off going for any more dips in the lake!

Kayaking_the_lake.jpg

Floating_musuem.jpg

Also we found an old footpath around the edge of the lake, this took people around to some old lakeside clubs.

Walkway_ro..he_lake.jpg

Lakeside_bar.jpg

These were apparently open in the summer, with one of them doing work ready to open. Also we found a small chapel in a cave, with painted ceiling and walls.

Old_chapelcave.jpg

It was a very nice place to while away a few days. The nights though were very hot and hard to sleep through and our tiny 12volt fan was pointless! I can see why people have air conditioning.

Tuesday 15th June

Decided to head away from the campsite over the hills and to another lake. We said our goodbyes to the Jones family, although we may well bump into them again as our routes seem quite similar and headed for the hills. It was a lovely drive across some beautiful scenery, occasionally having to avoid road-crossing tortoises!

Countrysid..cedonia.jpg

Butterflies.jpg

When we arrived at the lake though we were disappointed in finding it had a collection of lakeside bars and horrible mobile home type campsites and decided to continue our journey. The lake wasn’t as beautiful as Ohrid, but it did seem to have a large flock of Pelicans on it, they looked huge even from afar!

We continued on to Pelister national park, right on the border with Greece. This has in it Pelister Mountain, which has a small ski resort. We thought as it was summer this would be a good place to wild camp, as they would have plenty of parking around the mountain. After a drive up a small road through a little village, waiting a while for some cows to cross and the farmer giving us a comical shrug, we started climbing up the road. At the top was a hotel, so slightly further down we found a spot to park up for the night.

Posted by marklorna 04:36 Archived in Macedonia Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 88) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »