Mongolia Rally Diary – Macedonia. Markets in Struga and small village camping

Day 15 and 16, Macedonia is known for spectacular mountains, lakes and rivers. When we arrived the country in the evening, we headed straight for a small town by Lake Orchid to spend the night. This is one of the Europe´s oldest and deepest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species that is of worldwide importance. Finding a hotel after dark can be very time consuming, but this time we found one very fast. It was full though, but one of the guests had a friend where we could rent a room – and short time after we met a smiling man greeting us with “Hei, hvordan har do det”. He had a brother in Norway, and was very excited to host three Norwegians for the night – and for 5 dollars each we had a big room with bathroom and two balconies.

Walking in the market the next morning was just great. From a sleepy town at night it had changed to a buzzing and lively place. We had a few hours walking around, I would love to do some shopping at the market – but in a car with 50 degrees nothing survives for long…..The veggies and cheeses looked delicious, and they had heaps of spices. The only thing we bought was a water boiler handy for a quick cup of coffee in the car, and we enjoyed some great salads and eggs at a local café.

We continued the journey through the country, keeping south and heading for Greece. In the afternoon we entered the small village of Demir Kapija to visit the Popova Kula winery to have a taste of the Macedonian wine. The winery is situated on top of a hill with a view over the wine ranks and the valley, and as they offered both a restaurant and wine tasting we decided to stay in the village for the night and go for a full evening of food and wine. The village was too small to have a hotel though, so we camped in the public park by the river, and then had a taxi to the winery.

Wine tasting showed out to be wine drinking with very big glasses – and with some cheeses, bakes beans and bread we had a great evening on top of the hill on a windy balcony. Even though it had not been too hard to find good vegetarian food up to this point, a form of baked beans was so delicious – and one of the cheeses they served are one of the best I´ve ever tasted.

Photo: Gro Helene Andersen

I woke up in the tent from the heat of the sun and some weird creaking noises outside. The farmers passes us with donkey and trolley on the way to the market, and they looked very surprised to see three tents in the park – maybe even more surprised from the ambulance parked besides the tents!


About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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