Day 25 - Ohrid to Debar: Unnecessarily up - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

February 9, 2015

Day 25 - Ohrid to Debar: Unnecessarily up

A slightly creepy man recommended I go to Skopje via Debar and Mavrovo, and so far it has turned out to be a great suggestion.

I spent too long lazing around Ohrid, reluctant to get back on the bike, as I usually am after a day off. I have the same reluctance to get out of bed in the morning--I'm on vacation, after all.

Naturally, it was a bit late when I was ready to load up the bike. So I wasn't too happy when I went to put some air in the rear tire and the valve came apart. Changing a tube is hard with gloves on, and even harder without. I'm not sure what the temperature was, but it was snowing a bit and my 1.5L water was half frozen after an hour of riding. First time since August that I've had ice in my drink.

The first part of the ride was dull (aside from seeing one language spray-painted over on the Macedonian-Albanian bilingual road signs--I guess that's ethnic tension), but after the first cluster of villages past Struga, the scenery became impressive. If there was no snow, I'd likely call it drab, but it's very pretty now. Muted turquoise water, first dark, then light, half river, half lake. Treed slopes, villages nestled in the hills, eventually giving way to more dramatic rocky outcrops high above me.

There were plenty of armed police patrolling the road--oh that's right, I'm near a sensitive border--and I had a nice chat with an older cop although I didn't understand a word. I think he was telling me he was involved with triathlons.

Past Struga, traffic was light, the road was smooth, and there were no trucks. It doesn't get much better than that.

The downside? When the mountains closed in, the road climbed. The road that, on the map, followed the river and then hugged the lake actually did no such thing: it went up. Steeply up. Great views, if you're in a car or a horse-drawn carriage or anything that does not require me to fight Gravity, who has held a grudge against me ever since I sided with Momentum. And of course Gusty Headwind, ever loyal to Gravity, showed up when the hills started.

The only hotel I passed in Debar was too expensive:
"How much is a room?"
Finally got the price.
"That's too expensive for me."
"Do you know where there's a cheaper hotel?"
*puzzled look*

I continued a short distance past Debar and camped a bit too close to the road, setting up my tent with a nice sunset view over the mountains.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
My favourite view of the day
Heart 1 Comment 0
There are even better views of this artificial lake after this spot.
Heart 0 Comment 0
One of many places where I got stared at
Heart 1 Comment 0

Today's ride: 69 km (43 miles)
Total: 1,150 km (714 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0