Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Macedonia and a Four Day Weekend

We had a lovely four day weekend. I'm actually ready to return to the five-year-olds tomorrow (Wednesday)! The good news is, I was able to go to and return from Macedonia legally, without spending anytime in jail. It ended up being a really quick trip to Macedonia (Saturday-Sunday) because the driver had to be back by Monday. Here are a few highlights from the Lake Orhid region!
Tracey and Sarah pointing to Albania. Entela told us that the Albanian side of the lake is polluted and there is trash everywhere. So sad!!
We took a walk up to three beautiful churches that border the lake in Macedonia. Here we are on the steps of one of the churches. I don't quite remember the names of the churches, but I do know that they are old! Fifteenth of sixteenth century, I think. It really was a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.
Here we are along the park area with all the sail boats and fishing boats. I'm sort of regretting that we didn't take a water taxi out to the churches because it would have been such fun to have been on the water. Unfortunately, our common sense kicked in and we didn't do it. It was tooooo cold. I think I'll come back in the summer.
We were trying to figure out how much we all owed for the driver, hotel and dinner. It shouldn't have been that complicated except we were dealing with four different currencies.
Ahh, the last roses of summer. Macedonia is so clean compared to Albania. It has a certain charm about it too.
Just a cute shot of my friends. Albania (or Macedonia) wouldn't be as fun without them!
We went into a paper making place. It made me think of the Creative Juices (see Michelle's blog). They would have been inspired there.
This was one of the paths to a church. I think that if I was an ancient Macedonian, I would have a super hard time concentrating on a service in a setting like this.
We also went to an old monastery farther along the lake. This was the lagoon that had me at "hello." I think this was about the moment that I began thinking ahead two years. There is a QSI school in Macedonia. I think I could suffer the change.
See the bridge? It says Anne and Gilbert all over it doesn't it, April? Sigh. Anyhow, Fabian, our German friend, has been like a younger cousin and leaves on Wednesday to go back to school. The man behind Fabian is Hasan, the best driver in all of Albania. He navigated the twisty mountain passes...in the rain...and we all lived to tell the tale. He said we were the best group ever (I think he wants our business) and is ready to take us to Montenegro the next 4 day weekend.

We were home late on Sunday night and have had two full days here in Tirana. Yesterday, we went to a shopping mall and stocked up on sale items. I got a killer pair of jeans on sale for around $18. Yay! We also had dance class. My dance buddy from the first night was back. We discovered that we're colleagues. He teaches Roma children in Tirana. No wonder he has the patience of a saint when it comes to dancing. We met some friends at Artist for dessert. I love, love, love their chocolate cake. Last night it gave me an instant headache, so maybe I'll just get the crepes next time. Annd! I'm very happy to report that after a long a desperate search, I finally got a comforter at the Chinese/Turkish market for 24 bucks!!! It seems to already be falling apart, but it will keep me warm for now. By the way, I HATE the Chinese/Turkish market. It's way too crowed and confusing.

All you travelers out there, just tell me when you're coming and I'll be ready for you! I miss you all and wouldn't mind an e-mail :).


Philip said...

Great pictures! What an amazing opportunity! Thanks for posting them.

Dolores said...

What a great place! When Dad and I visit we want to go to Macedonia you know how Dad feels about cleanliness!!

Melinda said...

Holly-just take Dad everywhere, it's a good experience! Seriously, what a cool trip you had and I don't even exactly know where Macedonia is! It's just about an inch from Albania, right? Don't worry about the comforter, Christmas is coming!

Michelle (aka mybelle101) said...

So cool!! I'd of course love the paper place, but considering my background, I'd LOVE walking around all that amazing old architecture and history, too! :) Fantastic pictures! And, I'll make sure your mom knows exactly where the craft bazaar is, though I'd be happy to do a commissioned necklace for you ;)

Matt said...

very beautiful.

Chris said...

Glad to hear you made it in and out without incident! Keep racking up those experiences.