I woke up around 09:00, showered, dressed, and then inquired about buses to and from Bitola; the hostel manager told me a bus left at 10:00 (which I was currently missing) and another would not be available until 12:00; the hostel manager did not know the return times (I found 15:00 as being the latest according to an internet search; I did not know it at the time, but this was not true – 19:00 was the last bus from Bitola to Ohrid); since I wanted to spend a full day in Bitola, I decided to travel there the following day (on a bus that departed Ohrid at 08:15). Now with nothing planned and open to suggestions, the hostel manager told me I could take an 11:30 bus to St. Naum Monastery, located on the southeast shore of Lake Ohrid, near the Albanian border. This sounded like a grand plan to me, so I decided to relax and wait until 11:15 before walking outside to catch the bus. As I was lying in my bed, the Spanish man took off and we said our goodbyes and he wished me well on my travels (the Californian had left much earlier, before 06:30). Then, at 11:15, I walked out of the hostel and to the bus stop in the city center. At 11:30, the bus came, I entered inside, bought my ticket, and sat down. The bus then drove south, near the edge of Lake Ohrid, through Galičica National Park, and to St. Naum (“Sveti Naum”) Monastery (which is located within the National Park). Upon reaching the outer perimeter of the monastery grounds (around 12:30), I exited the bus, walked through an arched gate, and walked past many vendors selling souvenirs and several restaurants and people trying to sell boat rides in the natural spring waters. I then reached the St. Naum Hotel Complex (honestly, this monastery is more like a resort than a place for hermit monks to pray and reflect in solitude) next to the port (where passenger ships from Ohrid arrive and depart). I then followed the road up to the actual monastery, which was established in the Bulgarian Empire in 905 AD by St. Naum of Ohrid himself, and came across gardens and peacocks . . . many peacocks (this seems to be a haven for those birds). I entered inside the monastic grounds and walked around the church in the center, where there were more peacocks. There was also a restaurant (which was attached to the hotel) and a chapel, as well as the usual living quarters for the monks. I first walked in to the small chapel, viewed the recently painted frescoes inside, and then entered inside the monastery’s church (after buying an entrance ticket). I explored the inside of the church, viewed the tomb of St. Naum, and looked at all the old frescoes. Next, I exited the church, looked around the monastic complex some more, and then exited the monastery. I then walked by the Church of St. Petka before making my way back to the vendors and to a small market, where I bought some chocolate/marshmallow cookies, water, and an iced cappuccino for calories. Then, since I had time to kill before the bus would arrive (at 14:15) to take me back to Ohrid, I decided to go for a little hike around the springs. I set out, past the Church of St. Petka, and entered in to some woods and later some open spaces with great views of the Galičica Mountains. Following the trail, I soon came up to the Church of the Mother of God (a small structure with a pool of fresh spring water in the center). It was now 14:05 and I decided I had better turn back and catch the bus – this sense of urgency that I was overcome with was due a thunderstorm rolling over the mountains and I figured it wouldn’t be long before the rain poured down; otherwise, I was having fun hiking and wished to stay outdoors longer. Anyway, I was hurrying back before I stopped, looked at the time (14:10), and figured I would not make it back in time (I’m sure I was wrong, since later the bus showed up almost ten minutes after it was scheduled to). I was then resolved to continue with the hike, come what may. I then took another trail that led up to the road, which I hiked on for a while, before returning to the woods via another trail. I then walked past some more springs before coming to the Church of St. Athanasius, which was a nice church with an enclosing wall, monastic quarters, grape vines, and various other plants, as well as orchard trees outside of its walls. I visited the inside of this church and then continued on the trail for a short while before I saw the entrance to the monastic grounds and car park (where the bus stops); I had no desire to walk there just yet, so I turned around and followed the trail back to the monastery, passing by the Church of the Mother of God again (this time I ventured inside since I was no longer short on time). Eventually, I made it back to the monastery, and I hung out by the port and near the lakeside beach. I then returned to the small market, bought an energy drink, and read some while waiting for the time to be 16:15. At 16:10, I walked out to the parking lot, explored the nearby vicinity, and then waited until about 16:25 for the bus to show up . . . oh yeah, it never did rain, so the storm was all bark and no bite. When the bus finally did show up, I paid my fare and found a seat. The bus then continued on its route, right up to the Albanian border crossing, and then turned back and headed north to Ohrid, passing by a reconstruction of Bronze Age stilt houses along the way.
I reached Ohrid at 17:20, exited the bus, and walked to the old part of town. I then wandered the streets of the old town, to the Small St. Clement Church, which was closed, it being after 17:00. I then passed by the St. Nikola Bolnički and St. Bogorodica Bolnička Churches, before coming across the Church of St. Sophia. I then decided to eat something, so I found a nice pizzeria and had fried mushrooms, a large pizza (with mushrooms, sausage slices, and prosciutto pieces), and a beer. After dinner, I walked to the local supermarket and bought some juice, a fruit-flavored yogurt drink, iced cappuccino drinks, and beer. I then returned to the hostel, where, instead of working on past and much neglected journal entries, I laid in my bed, relaxed, and bullshitted. Eventually, past 21:00, I got out of bed, drank the two beers I bought, and talked with the man from Virginia, who is staying at the hostel. We talked for a couple of hours on the balcony before I decided it was time for me to sleep (around 23:00) in the now empty dorm room. I eventually faded to sleep.