Saturday, 24 August 2013

it's still Ohrid

So we tell Vic we would probably stay a couple of nights and then it becomes a few days and then before you know it a week has passed and we're having a kind of 'beach' holiday.  What I mean is that we spend our mornings reading and listening to music, doing crosswords and watching the world go by down at the lakeshore in Ohrid.  For the first time since we left Ivana and Antonio's we are trying to enjoy the sunshine.  No more lurking in the shade, no more pausing under trees for water stops, no more evasion.  This is proper sun-bathing.  The lakeshore is peaceful, clean and pleasant - a promenade with benches, a nice bit of grass and a few trees offering shade.  No beach but when Gayle wants a swin she can just jump straight in.  Mind you, we can't stick it all day and take our now regular siesta back in the room.

"Three down, five letters, third letter 'e': Gas unlikely to react"
We thought the town would be overrun with holidaymakers but it really seems quiet to us.  Vic is happy though - he has been full, he tells us, all summer.  Each morning he goes 'fishing' i.e. looking for punters. Normally he has one or two rooms to fill and normally he catches his fish.  Each morning we walk down to the lake and find our bench.  For some reason it's always the same one.  But we are not alone in this madness.  Around us we start to recognise other regulars: Old Gobber, a septugenarian who wanders around in his trunks and his ten gallon straw hat, spitting now and again.  Then there's Cool Kid - a young blond boy with brown skin (all young kids here are brown - they have spent the whole summer outdoors) who looks cool - who has all the accessories a kid needs to look cool: the fishing rod and stool, the canoe, the bike, the walnut tree, the Che Guevara t-shirt.  Most folk here are definitely Balkan or Eastern European - there's an unpretentiousness that fights constantly with the preposterous.  While all the oldies sit around with it all hanging out, (and there's plenty of it to hang out), the youngsters are all looking a bit skinny and self-conscious.  Plenty of naff t-shirt slogans and one good one, worn by a stout middle-aged (our age??) woman, saying: I Only Have Until Dawn

"Five across, six letters, 's' something 'a': Electrical discharge"

Ostensibly we are seeing out some more of the high summer and planning our route through Greece and across Turkey, but the truth is we also have a good value room, the place is peaceful and relaxed, there's a great local market full of seasonal fruit and veg, and, best of all, chicken on the spit just behind the market.  What more could we want??? Of course, it's a great chance to clean and polish the bikes, sift through our stuff and shed some unwanted grammes, darn socks, mend underwear, fix that flappy bit on my left sandal.  But why spoil a good time?

"Nine down, eight letters, fourth letter 'o' and ending in 'ing' I think: Intransigent"

At some point during the second week the delight and joy of taking a shower morphs into a quotidian chore.  We notice how quickly the soap disappears.  Although one day the pharmacy neon sign tells us the temperature is 40C, there is a distinct shift in the weather.  The sunsets are sooner.  There's cloud in the dawn sky.  Could summer be fading?  Vic is kept busy looking for punters but for a couple of days their four rooms are all taken and he can relax.  From the back garden his wife has gathered up all the red peppers to hang them out to dry.  The tomatoes are plucked, skinned and tossed into a huge vat placed on top of a wood-burning stove at the front of the house and slow-cooked for half the day.  A few local women gather round and take turns to stir the sauce, chatting non-stop.  The sauce is eventually bottled up after dark.

"Okay, how about this one - 12 across, five letters, second letter 'l' : a cardinal sin"

We really should be moving on, shouldn't we?


  1. Well - i got 'static' and then got very excited with 'sloth' and adore your approach to travel. Are you going to tell me the other answers?

  2. Aha - spot the trend? The others are inert and unmoving......