This was the second year my Municipality has coordinated and hosted an event called the Off Road Jeep Rally. I suppose making it the ‘First Annual’. Over 100 jeeps, 4-wheel drive cars, motorbikes and 4-wheelers gathered in the town square. For the bargain price of 600 Denari (about $12) you got your car number registered, some cute little Macedonian flags with which to decorate your vehicle, sandwiches for all in your car and bottled water. And off we went. I was lucky that our Peace Corps Director wanted to participate in the event which was a stunningly beautiful jaunt through the Osogovo Mountains. He and his wife arrived in a Rav-4 driven by the skillful driver Amir, and I took the 4th seat. But they weren’t kidding when they said off-road and the trek was pretty adventurous. At times we were headed straight up 60 degree inclines on slick and muddy trails, at times we were peering over the side of a mountain into what seemed like aquick trip to the afterlife. The
event lasted all day, but our bladders did not–so we did a little more ‘communing with nature’. The scenery was stunning, the company was good and the schedule relaxed. Unfortunately it started raining around 2:00 and the mud tracks got even worse, however the fire
fighter’s jeep acted as a ‘chase car’ and was readily equipped to help those who got bogged down or stuck. The rain stopped and at 3:30 we ended up at the monastery where the Municipality served a lunch of bean soup, salad, bread, beer and rakija for all. It was a lovely day, and a great opportunity to see a lot of the mountains where I now reside.
I’m taking this picture of the monastery and church from the restaurant. On top of the hill to the left is where the ‘popes’ stay when they are actually in residence or having a conference. The hotel complex is off to the left. I would love to have visitors over here-it’s very inexpensive once you arrive and I promise to be a good hostess. The spring fruit is starting to appear and the weather has turned warm and sunny.