Macedonia
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Camp and day’s information: Wednesday, 8th  June 2005

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Otesevo
Lake Prespa Bushcamp

 N40°59.420'
 E20°55.688'

 121821

 417

 105246

Warm, but overcast morning. Cold evening at 849m

Ham & cheese omelette. Bread & olives / brie & jam. Potato salad & ham

Country number 48 - the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which we will just refer to as Macedonia.

We only got up just after 08h00.  I went for my last run along the Bay of Thermaikos.  It was windy and the sea was roughest I have seen yet.  The last section where I run is along a concrete breaker and the waves were splashing over the top every now and again, although I managed not to get wet.  Back at camp we did the last bits of tidying up.  I had a hot wash and then made a big ham and cheese omelette for brunch.  We fed the kittens one last time and I wrapped them up in their sweatshirt blanket and before we got to the campground gates, they were both fast asleep.  No more sleeping and chewing on our shoes.

Getting out was easier than we anticipated as the lock simply opened when Michael gave it a hard jerk.  We were exceptionally lucky that we had a free place to stay for such a long time - it was perfect.  We are also very thankful to the manager of the campsite (whom we never met, but we know he told two other sets of campers to leave) who must have seen us and knew we were there, but left us to our own devices.

We made one last stop at the internet cafe and then at Carrefour.  The drive out of Greece was pleasant and the town of Edessa was lovely, perched on the cliffs overlooking the fertile valleys.  There were loads of fruit stalls alongside the road and we bought some delicious cherries when we stopped to fill up our jerry cans with sweet spring water.  Interestingly, in a few of the towns closer to the border we saw quite a few storks with their young nesting on what looked like custom built platforms on the top of telephone poles.

  

Exiting Greece was no problem.  We handed in our form to customs to show we were exporting our nine new tyres and of course our passports were just scanned.  Entering Macedonia was equally easy, except we had to pay €50 for Green Card Insurance which lasts for 15 days, but we will only be here for two!  Nevertheless, we had no option.  The officials were quite friendly and we have learnt the word for thank you (fala).

Macedonia appears to be lush and fertile and the villages have a simple, uncomplicated air about them.  The building quality is often as bad as we saw in Bulgaria or Turkey, but so far we haven't seen any concrete monstrosities.  There are loads of very old cars about (mostly small ones, including the tiny bubble ones which I call sewing machine cars) and the majority have a minimum of two passengers and often three, four or more.  We found a terrific campsite on the shores of Lake Prespa at the foothills of some mountains, which still show patches of snow.  There is a distinct chill in the air and at 13°C it is the coldest we've experienced for a while!