|Lillian and me|
|Inside the cave|
Macedonia is gorgeous in the spring. My storks are back nesting just outside of Gostivar, the weather is warm, mountains are changing from a nubbly brown to a soft variety of greens, and everywhere trees are blooming. It is such a joyous time.
I've been taking advantage of the weather by getting out and seeing things. Last weekend Lillian and I went to Matka canyon just outside of Skopje. It made my heart sing - gorgeous! We took a boat ride up the lake to a cave. Our boat was piloted by a very nice young Albanian man, so I got to practice some of my Albanian with him As you can see by the pictures, the cave was spectacular as well. We sat lakeside at the restaurant in the canyon and had a lovely meal - though not the fish we were hoping for - and headed back down to watch the slalom kayak event that was being held. A most satisfying day.
Thursday and Friday I was down in Ohrid to do a presentation for the Mak-15's. It was fun to hang out a bit with them, and to my surprise my friend Ilmi from Gostivar was also at the hotel for a UN Development Program presentation. We got together with some of the other volunteers in the evening for a relaxed drink and conversation. Friday morning I walked up to a cave church with Kerry. A woman was sitting by the cave and spoke to us in Macedonian, then, hearing my poor attempt at a response, asked if we spoke English. She was a police inspector from Gostivar who was vacationing in Ohrid, and before we left she had invited us to coffee at her house after she returned. She was very sweet, and pointed out the magic eye for making wishes in the roof of the church entrance. Macedonians and Albanians are the most hospitable people I know.
After taking leave of Kerry and Mimi, I continued up the hill. The weather was pristine with no wind, and the view over the lake and over to the mountains in Albania was breathtaking. I've mentioned before that the River Drim starts at one end of Ohrid and continues, unchanged despite its path through the lake, on the other end. As I gazed down on the lake, I swear I could see its path as it wound its way through the lake. A butterfly came and landed on my collar, and brushed my cheek with its wing as it took flight. I hiked to a place that overlooked a village and could see villagers working on their gardens and the ground coming to life in the warmth of spring. Days like this sustain me though the harder days that inevitably are there as well.
I hope all is well with you. It is very odd writing a blog - you never know who is reading it. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is, and then someone will pop up and tell me they've been following it right along. So, dear friends who might be reading, thank you. You all mean a lot to me.