The story about this awesome trip starts almost a decade before I packed the bags and put them on my motorbike.
Mom, dad… I wanna buy a motorcycle
When I was young there was this passion about motorbikes that woke up in me. If I recall correctly, it happened after watching Long Way Round. The documentary follows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. After that I really wanted a motorbike and go for an adventure, but since I was young and could not afford it myself, I asked my parents… And of course, the answer was “No”. After some time and failed attempts to earn money for a driving licence, I forgot the idea.
Rediscovering my passion in South-East Asia
When I started earning some money I went on a trip through Southeast Asia and while staying in Bali I rented a 125cc scooter which was more than enough for me. I visited almost all of Bali on that little piece of machinery.
I visited almost all of Bali on that little piece of machinery.
Eight months later I came back home telling my parents how cool it had been and what I had visited. A few days later my late father said: “You will buy a motorbike, won’t you”? He had a really bad dementia at the time and I have no idea how he remembered it. He sounded like he just continued the talk from 10 years before, like there was no time in between. He planted the seed back into my head which has been growing ever since. Well, my answer was “Yes”.. But did I have money for one? Almost…
My first bike
First I went for a licence training and in the process I got myself a Kawasaki KLR 650 in a really bad condition. After a full motorbike overhaul it was ready to hit the road. My travels consisted of travelling around Serbia. Few times my KLR failed me leaving me 300km from my hometown and once in a pouring rain with no shelter to seek.
Few times my KLR failed me leaving me 300km from my hometown
So for this big trip I decided that I would need something more reliable, something that wasn’t already worn out. After a few weeks of checking used bikes, I found Yamaha XT660R 2007. It had everything I needed – side bags, a helmet case, crash bars and it was in really good condition. And there it was, my new steel horse to ride on.
Getting ready for my adventure
I didn’t tell many people about my plans because when you talk about it people usually have negative comments about it and the usual ones are – ‘it’s dangerous’, ‘aren’t you afraid’, ‘you will get robbed’, ‘people will hurt you’, and so on. And it was all the opposite – it was safe, I was not afraid, I was not robbed and people helped me (not in every country, but more about that later).
After acquiring all the stuff I needed I was ready to hit the road. Was I excited, scared, worried when I was leaving my hometown? The truth is- no… I was too busy thinking if I had forgotten something… and you guessed, I did… Since I’m a passionate photographer I wanted to get some cool landscape photos and for that you need s tripod and it was 1000 kilometers behind me… It could have been worse, I will survive.
First stop – city of light
I was travelling along the well known roads through Serbia to a border with Macedonia. After passing the border, that’s when reality hit me. I was excited, my eyes were just glancing everywhere and that was it. The road trip officially started after the border crossing.
I was passing Skopje, it has really beautiful mountains surrounding it but with all of the temptations I had to stick to the plan. The plans was to arrive to Ohrid during the day. My plan failed…
Arriving at night, my idea to camp somewhere failed, so I searched for a room. That was a big challenge since it was a peak season.
After finding a room I started exploring Ohrid at night. Far away I could hear some metal, hard core or whatever music and since I did not find anything better to do, I went there. Shortly after, I met many new Macedonian friends and we partied, drink rakija. When you have fun, time passes quickly. I told them I was leaving the next day, but Ohrid had other plans…
The morning was hard, a little bit of a hangover and lots of dilemmas. Should I stay or should I go? I decided to stay one more night but I had to find another place to stay since it was reserved for that day… Well, I thought, there goes another 3 hours for searching for another place… Some lady helped me find a place, smelly but OK… I mean the place, not the lady.
So, what does Ohrid has to offer?
The lake is amazing, it almost looks like the sea. I would choose Ohrid rather than some Mediterranean sea location that’s for sure. Ohrid lake is also a natural border between Macedonia and Albania and it’s the deepest lake on Balkan going deep to staggering 288 meters!
Ohrid was called ” the city of light” by the Greeks and maybe that resonates best in the evening when the lakeside is bathed in street lights and lights coming from cafes. That is the time when Ohrid becomes really alive, it becomes packed with tourists and you start wondering where all those people were during the day? If you stroll around Ohrid you will find out that the old town is really beautiful, that the monasteries are even more than 5 centuries old and that the museums are everything but ordinary. Make sure you check out Bay of Bones Museum. Why? Because I didn’t, and everybody told me I made a huge mistake and they were right. So that’s why during the day Ohrid doesn’t seem as packed as at night, because there is stuff to see, there is something for everyone.
Ohrid is the deepest lake on Balkan going to staggering 288 meters!
In the evening I had one last “Skopsko” beer and went on my way in the morning.
It’s morning and I finally managed to pack and head on my way, first to Albania to see if it’s OK to travel to and after that to Greece. What happened in Albania and what’s it like there and what problems I did or did not have? Read in the next post.