Sunday was our last day in North Macedonia. We had booked the excursion to St. Naum, a monestary at the South end of Lake Ohrid, close to the border with Albania. This tour is TUI’s “flagship” excursion.
Since we had to check out of the hotel in the morning, we put our stuff at reception, and the hotel owner ensured us everything would be looked after. We then walked to the port and embarked, without anyone asking for a voucher. Later on, when we’d left the port and were on our way, we heard our name called by the (Dutch speaking) tour guide. He was looking for us and our voucher, which we gave him.
The boat trip to St. Naum took approx. 1.5 hours. On the left, we looked at the Macedonian Hills, and on the right we saw Albania. Some 30 minutes in, we briefly stopped at another hotel to pick up a few more tourists.
After arriving at St. Naum, the tour guide took us to the little church in the monastery in a rather chaotic fashion. This was typical for him, we later learned. He told us a little bit about the history of St. Naum, and showed us the icons that were painted on the church’s inside walls. After the church visit, he brought us to the rowing boats that would take us on a little tour of the lake’s source. That was kind of nice, but really didn’t add that much.
After these two planned items, we had some 2 hours to ourselves. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing to do at St. Naum other than eat and look at souvenirs. So we had lunch, walked around a bit, had an ice cream, and then waited for the boat to arrive that would take us back to Ohrid. Not a great way to spend the day when it’s hot and humid.
After arriving back in Ohrid, we had a light meal and got back to the hotel. We changed into our airplane clothes, and made our way to the main street to be picked up by the shuttle transfer.
It took us at least 30 minutes to get checked in, and when we found a place to sit outside, we learned that our flight would be delayed by some 40 minutes. Ugh. Fortunately, they managed to get the plane in the air at 10pm, which was only 25 minutes late. We arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport with a 5 minute delay. Not too bad!
Overall, we spent a great week in North Macedonia. We had great food, which was very cheap, the people were friendly, the nature is absolutely stunning, and we enjoyed some nice excursions. The next time, we’d look for excursions that only have a limited number of participants (say up to 12), and stay away from the ones with big groups. We suspect it’s better not to do this trip during peak holiday season.