Monday, April 4, 2011

FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

I had no intention on ever setting foot in Macedonia. In fact, until I started researching for this fellowship (I'll be honest even though it's embarrassing) I don't think could have pointed Macedonia out on a map. Shameful I know. Now that I'm here I can't leave. 

There's Macedonia! Right smack-dab in the middle of it all. It was a part of Yugoslavia until it gained independence in 1991. I was confused about the name so I asked someone why the full name is FYROM? Like most Balkan countries there is some border ambiguity. What I mean by that is northern Greece has ethnically Macedonian people and back in the day the southern portion of Macedonia actually belonged to Greece. Therefore Greece had an issue with Macedonia being called Macedonia since there is a region in Greece also called Macedonia. Therefore Macedonia's name is actually the Republic of Macedonia or The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (That is an extremely simplified version).

Looking for unexploded things
Now, who wants to learn a bit about Lake Ohrid? Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest lakes in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because the of the unique ecosystem. I am not a scientist but apparently there are some really cool "Flora and the Fauna." Any way it is important for science because it's old. 

Another fun fact: There are unexploded something-or-others (probably bombs) still in the water from World War I. Currently, there are diving teams working to retrieve these unexploded-whatevers. So much history!

The other day I went on a bit of a wander and ended up getting lost. I walked down from the fortresses meaning to get to the Basilica and apparently took a wrong turn somewhere. I don't know how that happened look at how helpful their signs are! So helpful. I ended up just following a bunch of dirt paths that zig-zagged back and forth over the hillside. I followed one path down, down, down until I found an empty beach. I perched myself on a rock and watched the birds dive towards some poor unsuspecting fish as the afternoon breeze skimmed the surface of the water.

I'll wrap up this post but since I'm still here I'm sure there will be more to come.

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