Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Pilgrimage from Ohrid to Galioica National Park 26/04/08 26

“Douff, Douff, Douff”

I’m stirred out of my sleep about midnight by a dance party starting up somewhere down the road.

“Shit, I should have gone out” I thought to myself, quickly followed by “How close is this place?” I could feel the beat through the ground; it wasn’t looking like I was going to get much sleep…

At some stage during the early hours it did finally stop and by the time my alarm went off at 6:45 I felt like another 6 or 7 hours sleep would have done nicely. But camping so close to a walkway, that was a luxury I didn’t have. It was time to get moving.

Fifty meters down the road the offending nightclub came into sight. How did we manage to stop 50m before a great night out???

Making good time we soon make our first landmark, the Metropolitan Hotel. Time for breakfast :) After living in Australia Sabine was having raw meat withdrawals, so after spotting Beef tartar on the menu she was the happiest pilgrim alive.

Then came the bad news…

There was no road across the mountains where we had been told we would find one! The only road around would add an extra 50kms to our journey. It wasn’t much of a decision, we had to go back to Ohrid :(

Normally I will try to walk my way out of a problem, but after only walking 20kms so far on this leg, to walk 8kms backwards seems a bit stupid. The taxi wins over and back to Ohrid we go.

There is some good new though, the post office is actually open today, soon all our excess crap receives the boot. This cheers us up immensely :)

Sabine managed to acquire a map from the hotel and we notice there is an alternate route to the main road after all. A couple of false starts later we finally make it into the mountains. All the stuffing around is worth it though, within fifteen minutes we get treated to some amazing views. Today is going to be a great walk!

The road we were following was marked on the map as being tar sealed and things soon started to look awry. The road turns to dirt, then into a track, a fence-line, a riverbed, then finally nothing…!

We struggle with every step over the loose stones. It is bloody steep! Slowly, slowly we inch our way up the mountain. Finally, with a sigh of relief we reach the top…

Here we are, 1600m up, freezing cold and not having a clue where to go. I drop my pack and climb a little peak to get my bearings, but to no avail. There is just rolling, rocky hills as far as the eye can see. Then just to make us feel great a light snow starts to fall! We appear to be screwed!

Luckily Sabine is well prepared and has a compass (something I have been meaning to buy for the last 10 months :) ). We start heading east and come across a little track heading north/south. Studying the map furiously we decide even if this road doesn’t lead to our destination, if it keeps going South it will still meet up with another road which will do us fine. So off we trudge, and trudge, and trudge. The snow only lasts a few minutes and the mountains are beautiful. There is not a soul around, not even a cow or goat…we are completely alone.

Before long the suns starts creeping below the horizon. We make camp, eat some nuts and after a couple of games of backgammon it’s time for bed…

Let’s hope our luck changes tomorrow!

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