Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Berovo, Macedonia

 This past weekend the weather was absolutely gorgeous outside, so I went to visit one of the other PCVs, Anna who lives in Berovo, a tourist town in Eastern Macedonia. We both wanted to spend some time enjoying the weather and hiking seemed like the perfect option.

In the Center of Berovo
We started our adventure Saturday morning: the two of us, and two of Anna’s students, Tamara and Julija.
Leaving Berovo on the way to Berovo Lake
The road leading to Berovo Lake
The weather was warm, in the 60s and sunny, but despite that, we still encountered some snow as we walked up to Berovo Lake.
The path leading down to the lake
Berovo Lake
Short sleeves!
Looking out over the snow covered lake
We hiked for about 6 hours, going up to the lake, enjoying a coffee drink with some of Skopje’s elite models (you know, what every PCV does on the weekend), and then back down. I had decided I needed to share my mistake of a pineapple, so I brought it with and it was a wonderful post hike snack.

That night we had an amazing late dinner of mixed salad, hot wine, and pastramalija. Anna swears Berovo’s pastramalija is the best, however she is biased as Berovo’s pastramalija has cheese (a true Wisconsin girl). But even without cheese, it was delicious!

Forgot to take a picture before we devoured it, but mixed salad
Hot wine
Anna's favourite pastramalija with cheese
My delicious pastramalija- bez cheese
Sunday morning we continued our hiking and hiked around Berovo. We wandered up to the Roma community, an abandoned summer camp, and through the monastery.

View from the Roma community
The Monastery
Where the nuns live
The entrance to the Monastery
A close-up of the entrance
I am sure this place has an official word, but I don't know it. Its the standing place up high.
The front of the church
The front
Candles lit
Again, probably an official word, but this is a sitting place.
Anna enjoying the sun shining in.
The really old Bibles.
We are pretty sure this one was written in Bulgarian.
The front page of the really old Bulgarian Bible.
Jesus looks pretty much the same here.
The doors leading back to the secret area.
Mini graveyard outside the church.
Cool looking bell
Anna sporting her Packers hat of course!
The reason Berovo is called "Little Switzerland"
Overlooking Berovo
Hiking up the hill to see what is on the other side.
The other side- Abandoned summer cabins.
Of course we explored!
Even if these weren't falling apart, they don't look like much fun to stay in.
The kids have redecorated.
All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. Anna’s apartment was like a resort for me as she has heat, hot water, internet, and cable TV. I was in heaven! Despite our weekend leaving us both a little injured, it was a wonderful time.
Anna's sunburn
My blister. It doubled the size of my pinky toe.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Мојот Пазар (My Pazar)

My town's weekly pazar is a magical place, especially this time of year. There are so many amazing fruits and vegetables, all a little fresher than what I could find in the US. And it is so amazingly cheap. This was the result of my shopping trip this past Friday (and I am pleased to report that 1) I got all of the fruits and vegetables I asked for, nothing different and 2) my onion and potato man gave me a look for a minute than picked up right where we left off by choosing me the best potatoes and onions he had).

1 kilogram of spinach- 20 denari (43¢)

1 kilogram of carrots- 50 denari ($1.07)
1.5 kilograms of potatoes- 20 denari (43¢)
1.5 kilograms of onions- 30 denari (65¢)
1 kilogram of oranges- 30 denari (65¢)
1 kilogram of kiwi- 50 denari ($1.07)
Grand total: 7 kilograms (15.4 lbs) of fruits and vegetables = 200 denari ($4.27)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday, March 14: A Photo Summary

The filters for my water distiller: Left is old, Right is new. Clearly it was time for a change.

Dogs wander randomly here- most are not pets. This one decided to wander into the river to hang out.

No snow! There is still some up on the mountains, but very little on the ground.

Trying to ripen my pineapple in a very chilly house. I was hoping placing it near the fire would help. It hasn't.

I only have wet wood left that was just cut, so in order to have a chance of a fire, I need to heat it up on my stove.

I na gosti-ed the neighbours and was sent home with a bag full of apples.

They were apples that would be thrown away in the US (wrinkly and full of bruises and worm holes) but here, they are pretty much all you can find right now.

I also came home with a pretty sweet tattoo from one of my neighbour girls.

And painted fingernails from another neighbour girl (completely her choice in colour and design).

My lunch and dinner: An American style sandwich. Chicken with lettuce and homemade honey mustard on seed and grain bread (the healthiest bread I have found here!). It was VERY good!