LA Times: Explore caves. Scale 6th century fortress walls. Savor fresh-caught fish. The pleasures of barely discovered Macedonia.
Macedonia, a landlocked Balkan country squeezed between Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Albania and Kosovo, is one of Europe’s best surprises. Part of the former Yugoslavia until its independence in 1991, it is an exotic melting pot of civilizations at the crossroads of East and West. Wildly mountainous with spectacular rivers, peaks and national parks, it is […]
At 3:30am, on the fifth day of an expedition along Macedonia’s mountainous western edge, we traded our trekking poles for reins and mounted horses in search of yet another peak. Headlamps spotlighted the steam from our breath mixed with the fidgety smoke of rolled cigarettes. We left Galičnik, a village tucked into the folds of […]
…Tomorrow we would follow that trail and slip virtually unnoticed into Albania. That would have been among the stupidest things you could do had it been the 1980s, when Albania was the North Korea of Europe. From World War II until his death in 1985, the Communist leader Enver Hoxha hammered Albania into an oppressive […]
I’m laden with juicy fat cherries, freshly plucked from the tree. The sun shines and we’re picnicking among spangles of wild flowers and long grasses. A track steers back to the wood-beamed house where we are staying, past mud-and-timber houses tilting back into the earth. It’s peaceful and bucolic, and far from the cheap-and-cheerful skiing or […]