Last night Azita and I went to the Macedonian Kitchen restaurant to have moussaka before going to the opera. Their moussaka is the best I've every had. We also ordered Greek salad (called South Macedonian salad in many restaurants), garlic bread and two glasses of Macedonian wine. We were chatting and enjoying our Greek salad, garlic bread, and the huge glasses of wine and kind of lost track of the time. The moussaka was served late, and we realized that we were going to be late to the 8:00 performance. We rushed through the moussaka and hurried out to see Tosca at the Macedonian Opera. I'm used to getting to this theater early to see the ballet and watching people arrive to take their seats after the performances have begun. Arriving at the theater at 8:15 we were refused entry. We weren't even allowed to sit inside the lobby. We had to sit outside with the other latecomers until the intermission.
While we were sitting on the steps outside, an older woman (older than me) came up the stairs from the parking lot. She asked us something in Macedonian, and as I don't understand but a few words of Macedonian, I told her I speak English. She switched to English and asked why I'm in Macedonia if we can't speak Macedonian. I was speechless.
Finally, at 9:00 pm, Azita and I were allowed in for the second act of Tosca. It was warm inside and we were tired from the wine and not enough sleep the night before. The opera is in Italian and the subtitles Macedonian. The soprano, Opera Diva Vesna Gjinovska-Ilkova as Tosca, had a beautiful, clear voice, but the men's voices sounded muddy. In this second act, there was an awkward attempted rape and a subsequent murder. When the second intermission arrived, we couldn't think of any reason to stay for the third act so we went home.
This morning we joined the walking/hiking group of women who belong to the International Women's Association (IWA). We drove to the village of Gorno Sonya (Горно Соње) located on the south side of Mount Vodno. There are several villages represented in the photo below, but the near village with the white bell tower is Gorno Sonya.
From Gorno Sonya, we walked up the the Millennium Cross on the top of Mount Vodno. On the way back down, we ran into an intrepid hiker who agreed to show us where a spring was located. He took us to the north slope of Vodno and down the mountain a bit, but indeed there was a spring.
Our impromptu guide, now retired, was an engineer in the Serbian Air Force. He said he came to Macedonia and married a local woman. He didn't say married, he said he was enslaved by her. He walks Vodno everyday and knows every trail possibility. It takes him about 3 months to walk every trail and the total kilometers for all the trails on Vodno total the same height as Mount Everest. He said now that it takes him 40 minutes to walk from middle Vodno (the half-way point); when he was younger it took him 40 minutes to get to the top of the mountain from city center. Truly amazing!
Then he told us which way to go to return to Gorno Sonya on the other side of Vodno and he headed down the north slope toward Skopje's city center.
The weather was warm, and it was a great day for a walk on the mountain.
|Kate, Lyubov, Azita, and me|