Villa DihovoAugust 1, 2017 in Macedonia
Instead of heading straight to Lake Ohrid as everyone else was from my hostel, I made a detour for a night to Bitola to stay at a place I'd read about during the planning for this trip. Villa Dihovo was listed as number 7 in the Lonely Planets top 50 European secret spots in 2016, and is one of the few places I'd booked before I came over for fear of it being booked out.
Villa Dihovo is a tiny guest house in a tiny village outside Bitola run by an ex professional football player and his parents. Members of the slow food movement, they grow and make everything they provide guests, including the beer, wine and Rakija. Based on the Lonely planet listing it has, of course, become extremely popular and they are in the midst of expanding, but for now it's only got 4 rooms, a wine cellar and a beautiful garden in which to sit, relax and eat meals, and that's it. As a result I didn't actually do much in my time there other than nap, read, a walk and swim in a freezing, but refreshing waterfall a short hike from the Villa, which was just what the doctor ordered in the 40 degree heat, and eat shared meals with the other guests at the communal table in the garden. Before dinner we were taken down to the wine cellar to select what bottles we wanted, which were matched with a huge spread of food produced from the family plot and cooked with a great deal of love and skill. It was definitely a step up in terms of accomodation and clientele from what I've grown accustomed too, but was a great way to unwind for 24 hours, recharge and relax with great food and in beautiful surroundings.
Intending to head to Lake Ohrid today, I had a sleep in and figured I'd be able to catch one of the frequent buses at my leisure. What I hadn't counted on was today being Macedonia's national holiday, which meant the frequent buses are not so frequent, which meant I had 3 hours to kill before the next bus, so headed into Bitola for a quick look around. Bitola is Macedonia's second biggest cities, but at only 100 000 people, it's still very small, and besides a charming little bazaar district, largely unremarkable. Unfortunately I still managed to lose track of time and managed to miss my bus, which means I'm now hanging out at the bus station for another 1.5 hours. If there's a developing theme for my solo portion of this trip, it has definitely been an inability to reliably use public transport.Read more