Kochani and Berovo

Last night we camped in a field behind a public picnic area close to the Lesnovo Monastery. Lada had another night with very little sleep – as she not very used to camping in the wild – but still she’s very happy when we pack our tent. With good reason, as today we are visiting the superb aqua park in Probishtip! The aqua park only opens at 10 am and not more than a 20 minutes drive from our camping spot. So we took our time to explore the surroundings of the monastery a little more. Maybe there is even a better view from the other side on the monastery.

Lesnovo village with Lesnovo Monastery.
Scouting for the best location to photograph the Lesnovo Monastery and the surroundings of the monastery.

We concluded the best views are inside the monastery walls. As we wake up with the sun when wild camping, we still had plenty of time left before the aqua park opens. We decided to make a small morning hike to some abandoned mine entrances in the hills nearby. A local told us about these mines the evening before. The mines were practically along the road just outside Lesnovo.

Hiking in Macedonia.
A path leading to some abandoned mines near Lesnovo and Dreveno in the hill on the left side of this photograph.

We found a parking spot along the road and took a path down into the gorge. A fragile wooden bridge – that probably won’t exist much longer – gave acces to the other side of the small gorge where multiple entrances into the rocky hill could be found.

Abandoned mine entrance in Macedonia.
Abandoned mine entrance.

From the mine entrances we could still see our red Skoda Fabia waiting.

Can you spot our red Skoda Fabia waiting for our return?
Can you spot our red Skoda Fabia waiting for our return?

Unfortunately, no photos exist of our next stop. The aqua park of Probishtip. They have the craziest water slides you could think of. We tried – after serious reconsideration – all of them. In between we had yet another ice coffee in the bar of the aqua park. Finally, I had enough of the cold water. Although it was again over 30 degrees, the water will never be warm enough for me. We had lunch in the restaurant of the aqua park but a restaurant in Probishtip would probably have been a better choice.

After the lunch we continue our trip to Berovo. The road goes through Kocani. Here they produce all the rice for Macedonia. Paddy fields are stretched on both sides of the road.

Path through paddy fields near Kocani in Republic of Macedonia.
A track through paddy fields near Kocani in Republic of Macedonia.

Lada couldn’t really understand why I stopped the car so often to make photos of these paddy fields but when I finally fell down in one of the small water canals while making a photo she suddenly enjoyed these vibrant green fields even more than I did.

A paddy field near Kocani in Macedonia.
A paddy field near Kocani.

The next part of the route to Berovo goes over a pass. Mainly foresty, still with lovely views. You’ll also notice the colorful bee hives in the fields along the roads and occasionally you’ll have the opportunity to buy the fresh honey and get stung by a bee.

Truck loaded with bee hives in Republic of Macedonia.
Truck loaded with bee hives in Republic of Macedonia.

Eventually, the best view along the road for me was the village Budinarci. The village is build next to the river and still has plenty of old authentic village houses.

 

The picturesque village of Budinarci in Macedonia.
Traditional village of Budinarci.

I can be happy as a kid in a candy store when I get a view like this one.

It got late and we still had no accomodation fixed for the night. So our next stop had to be Berovo were we would make plans for the night.

The pedestrian area in Berovo, Macedonia.
The pedestrian area in Berovo.

Berovo has a vibrant pedestrian area with plenty of bars. We entered one bar with WIFI where we had another ice coffee while searching for accomodation. Unfortunately, we found nothing interesting. So we changed our plans and decided we would start hiking towards Berovo lake and camp along the trail.

With these plans in mind we asked people at the table next to ours for advice on a restaurant in Berovo. They pointed us to Ristovo Meanche 2. The old hunters lodge that was not so recommended by our Bradt travel guide book but turned out to be quite nice. It has been recently renovated. The trees in the garden prevent the (once) good view on the mountains but offer great shade on hot summer days.

An old house and the church of Berovo in the background.
An old house and the church of Berovo in the background.
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Our marmot twilight 2p tent.

We decided to drive a little bit closer towards Berovo lake. Not so easy to find the correct road out of Berovo but we finally parked here and continued on a marked trail to Berovo lake on foot. We really liked the trail and just before dark we found a good camping spot.

Tomorrow we can continue hiking to Berovo Lake. What will we  do when we ‘ve reached Berovo lake? That’s something we can think about tomorrow. Good night!