Travelogue

Travel Diaries

Exploring the surroundings of the Ohrid Lake

Ohrid Lake - view from the Galicica MountainsThe eastern coast of the Ohrid Lake I drove up to Elshani, and from there I came down to Peštani. Further on I went to the museum on water from Gradište. I had lunch at a restaurant on the beach of Trpejca, overlooking the Ohrid Lake. Then I went to the St. Naum Monastery and returned to Peštani. The owner of Villa Ella exaggerated with the money, so I left the place as soon as possible. Further, I headed toward the eastern coast of the Ohrid Lake, toward the border with Albania. Lake Ohrid was among the deepest (300m deep) and oldest Read More...

Exploring the Macedonian old town of Ohrid

Ohrid - view of the old town from SamuelThe first day in Ohrid old town I walked only through the Christian part of the old town of Ohrid. From the Upper Gate (Gorna Porta) of the fortress, I went to the citadel of Tsar Samoil on the hilltop. From there, I descended through a pine forest to the church from Plaosnik. I wandered around tangled streets on my way to St. John's Church from Kaneo. From there I came back to the town walking a suspended walkway over the waters of Lake Ohrid. I went to the cathedral of St. Sofia and then hiked up to the church of Read More...

From Prilep to Ohrid, passing Bitola

Brailovo Village - a herd of cows Monasteries around Prilep A day before going to Bitola, I drove through tiny villages until I reached Zrze monastery. Then, I found a troublesome shortcut to the mountain town of Kruševo. I returned to Prilep and drove steeply up to the Varosh monastery, and then to Treskavek. In the morning, I left Prilep and went to the Zrze monastery. On my way, I passed through scenic villages, with traditional houses made of earth bricks, summer kitchen in the courtyard, and people working the field. When I reached Zrze village, I noticed that it had many stone houses, most of them pretty shabby Read More...

From Skopje to Prilep, passing Kratovo

Kratovo - the town of bridges and towersFrom Skopje to Kratovo I stopped in Staro Nagoričane, at St. George's Church, and after that I made a detour to the megalithic observatory from Kokino. In Kuklica, I went to the Stone Dolls’ Valley and then stayed overnight in Kratovo, the town of towers and bridges. From Skopje, I turned half of the distance towards Bulgaria, passed Kumanovo and stopped in the village of Staro Nagoričane, at the old Byzantine church of St. George. Dabilo, the singer from the church’s choir and the administrator of the church, tried to explain to me the interior frescoes from the church. When I wanted to Read More...

Skopje surroundings and Mavrovo region

Driving through the Bistra Mountains, near MavrovoFrom Skopje to Mavrovo We went with Vasko to a car service. After that, we drove up to Mount Vodno and stopped at the Macedonian Etno Village and Saint Panteleimon Monastery in Gorno Nerezi village. In the evening, we camped on the shore of Mavrovo Lake. In the morning, we went with Vasko to a car-service to fix my car. The breaks of my car worked well. The discs had too much dust though and the mechanic had to clean them in order not to hiss anymore. We left the car in the service and went with Vasko to a cafe. There, he told Read More...

Skopje – Turkish bazaar and mountain scenery

Skopje (old, Turkish Bazaar - Carsija)Skopje – Turkish Bazaar and mountain scenery Skopje. In the summer of 2016, I wanted to go on a two months road trip with my car through Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo. I couldn’t go anymore to these countries, so I only went to a few Greek Islands – Thassos, Samohraki, and Lemnos. In 2017, I decided that come June, I'll be on the road in a foreign country. I stayed overnight in Calafat (at the border of Bulgaria), the following day I crossed Bulgaria (passing Sofia) and entered Macedonia through a mountain pass at Deve Bair. On my way to Skopje, I Read More...

Etno House Shancheva - Kratovo

Etno House Shancheva - with Stevce Donevski in front of his guesthouse from KratovoEtno House Shancheva - Kratovo town Etno House Shancheva. Kratovo was a major mining center in the Macedonian part of the Ottoman Empire. For this reason, Saxon settlers came here during the Middle Ages. Moreover, Kratovo is also known as the town of towers and bridges. The town developed in the crater of a former extinct volcano. Nowadays, it's still interspersed with defense towers and old bridges between steep valleys and different neighborhoods (Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish). Only six of the twelve medieval towers have been preserved whilst the high-arched bridges have retained their original role and are still in use. From Read More...

Samothraki Island - pebbled beaches, goat dishes, and bouzouki music

Hora - the capital of Samothraki Island: typical housesWhen I turned back from Lemnos Island, I reached the port of Kavala late at night. As I wanted to take the morning ferry to Samothraki Island, I decided to drive 120 kilometers on the highway to reach my intermediary destination, the town of Alexandroupolis. I went to the municipal campground of Alexandroupolis where I was charged the price of a camper-van again because I was sleeping in the car. The following day, I paid a bigger price for the same reason when I boarded with my car on the ferry for Samothraki Island. The first day on Samothraki Island Short Description: I Read More...

Lemnos Island - secluded beaches, whitewashed chapels, and fried octopus

Gomati bayAfter I turned back from Thassos Island, I rested in Batix Multiplex Camping site from Kavala for one day. I ate mussels saganaki with tomato sauce and feta cheese. Besides, I had my own pitch surrounded by a green fence, sun beds, clear and warm water, and straw umbrellas at choice. I felt good in that camping site, but I had to move on and go to Lemnos Island, my next destination. The first day on Lemnos Island Short description: I took the morning ferry from Kavala Port to Myrina, on Lemnos Island. I went directly to the unofficial camping site near Read More...

Thassos Island – pristine waters, marble beaches, and authentic villages

Thassos TownGreek Islands - Thassos Island At the beginning of July, I went to some Greek Islands from the northern Aegean Sea for three weeks. For the first day, I stopped overnight at Calafat (at the border between Romania and Bulgaria). The following day, I crossed Bulgaria (passing by Sofia) and entered Greece in Kulata. I went directly to the Camping Batis Multiplex in Kavala. At the camping site, I arranged a bed in the back of my car and asked information about the ferries to Thassos Island. In the evening, I heard small bugs singing in the trees and the mosquito swarms inevitably showed up. The first Read More...

From Pokhara to Kathmandu

Pokhara to Kathmandu - Gorkha: Mahadev TempleFrom Pokhara to Kathmandu After five trekking days in the Annapurna Area, I had to relax and recover in Pokhara for one day. I had no idea where I was going to stay until my departure from Nepal. In this case, I took advantage of the luxury from Pokhara’s Lakeside for the rest of the day. I ate at my favorite Tibetan restaurant, lay on a sun bed among flowers on the lakeshore, and bought a few traditional souvenirs. I had a great victory when I managed to withdraw cash from the only bank machine that accepted my Romanian card. For lunch, Read More...

The Extended Ghorepani Trek, Annapurna Conservation Area (part II)

Ghorepani Trek: going up from Ghorepani to Deurali Pass (the Dhaulagiri Himalayan Range in the background)Ghorepani Trek – Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal This is the continuation of my first diary about trekking in the Annapurna Conservation Area. My first post can be found at the following link The Extended Ghorepani Trek, Annapurna Conservation Area (part I). Ghorepani Trek, the third trekking day Short description: We climbed from Upper Ghorepani to Deurali Pass, and then we descended to Ban Thanti. We abruptly continued the downhill to a tributary stream of the Bhurunngdi Khola Valley, from where we constantly hiked up to Tadapani. Further on, we walked along a contour line to Ghandruk, where we stayed overnight. Long description During the night, Read More...

The Extended Ghorepani Trek, Annapurna Conservation Area (part I)

Ghorepani Trek: the entrance gate to Ghorepani Poon HillGhorepani Trek – Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal Ghorepani Trek is a popular trek in Nepal and includes the ascent on the renowned Poon Hill. As famous as the Annapurna Circuit and the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Ghorepani Trek is, in fact, a loop that stretches between the last two treks, but it’s much shorter. The trek lasts three to five days if an optional visit to the Hot Springs of Chinu is included. The trail passes through Gurung villages where Tibetan refugees live, too. Along the trek, the villages are still very alive due to the flow of tourists, especially in Read More...

From Lumbini to Pokhara passing through Tansen

Pokhara - Going up to Sarangkot: the view of the Annapurna RangeFrom Lumbini to Pokhara The road to Lumbini Before reaching Pokhara. Typical for Nepal, the road from Sauraha to Lumbini took me almost one day. Nevertheless, there were less than 200 kilometers between the two locations. In the morning, the Nepali man from the travel company gave me a ride to the bus stand, located in the middle of the field. He patiently waited next to me. Finally, the bus for Lumbini appeared in the so-called ‘bus station,’ leaving behind a smothery cloud of dust. After a long wait, we finally left Sauraha. The bus gradually filled up with people, luggage, and Read More...

Explore Chitwan Jungle around Sauraha

Chitwan - Sauraha: Cycling through Tharu Villages around SaurahaExplore the Chitwan Jungle around Sauraha How did I decide to head to Chitwan? I had been thinking to go from Patan directly into the mountains, to Pokhara, to enjoy the Himalayas. However, the monsoon season wasn’t over yet, so I had to change my priorities. I decided to go to the jungle first and afterward head toward the mountains. The first day trip to Chitwan Short description: I caught the bus going to Sauraha in the last moment and spent most of the day on the road. In the evening, I analyzed the jungle activities of the travel companies spread along the main street in Read More...

Kathmandu Valley – exploring towns, villages, and local families (part II)

Kathmandu Valley - Bhaktapur - Taumadhi Tole - Nyatapola TempleContinuing around Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley – exploring towns, villages, and local families (part II) is the continuation of my diary about the Kathmandu Valley. My first post can be found at the following link Kathmandu Valley - towns, villages, and local families (part I). The medieval town of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley I left a part of my luggage at Durbar Guesthouse in Patan and planned a one-week trip through the towns and villages situated in the eastern part of Kathmandu. I bargained with a taxi driver to give me a ride to the bus station. There, I asked a few people which bus went to Read More...

Kathmandu Valley - exploring towns, villages, and local families (part I)

Patan - Durbar SquareKathmandu Valley nearby, Patan (Lalitpur) Around Kathmandu Valley. In the morning, I admired a cortege of women who walked in a line along the main street of Patan. They wore red dresses and carried small baskets with offerings. A Nepali attending the procession, Basaldun, saw me when I took photos of the women and insisted on going with them. I listened to my intuition, felt safe, and eventually joined the group. The cortege went to a Buddhist monastery - Itiraz Mahavihar-n, just rebuilt on the ruins of a medieval one. However, the ruins of the old monastery had nothing to do with Read More...

Tamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part II)

Tamang Heritage Trail - Day 6: Briddhim village - a local old woman I met on the roadTamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part II) This is the continuation of my first diary about trekking in the Langtang National Park. My first post can be found at the following link Tamang Heritage Trail (I). Tamang Heritage Trail, the fourth day of the trek We stayed in Nagthali Ghyang. Thick clouds covered the mountains across the valley in front of us, but it was sunny above our heads. I wanted to stay there for another day and hoped to see the view of the Langtang Range. Suddenly, Rishi had another trek planned in two days, and I was supposed to end my trek Read More...

Tamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part I)

Tamang Heritage Trail - Day 3: Brimdang hamlet - local woman cooking nettle sauce for dhal bhatTamang Heritage Trail, Langtang (part I)  Starting the Tamang Heritage Trail. My mountain guide-cum-porter, Rishi, accompanied me from the luxury of the Kopan Monastery to Matribhimi Hotel (his uncle’s hotel). The hotel was a dirty and ugly place but close to the Gongabu Bus Station (on the Kathmandu’s Ring Road). From there, we would leave the following day toward the town of Syabru Besi, situated high in the mountains. We had lunch at an eatery nearby, where I paid, and Rishi was surprised to see my boyfriend’s photo on my phone. In the evening, I sat in the hotel’s dining room and Read More...

Kopan Monastery - Introductory Buddhism Course

Kopan Monastery: puja ceremonyKopan Monastery - Introductory Buddhism Course Some time ago, I read an article on the Internet about the Introductory Buddhism Course from the Kopan Monastery. I immediately searched for details about the course on their website, filled out the application form, and reserved a spot for myself. I was eager to learn about Buddhism within an authentic environment. The Tibetan landscapes with Buddhist monasteries lost in the high, snowy mountains always attracted me. I wanted to experience the lifestyle of a Buddhist monastery. The Kopan Monastery wasn’t located in the mountains with huge rocks and bald eagles, as I would have liked, but Read More...

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