I go back to sit in the same Bourbon Street Pub that I went to last night, because I like the ambience, the music, the food – and I blog.
Then I walk to Heraclea-Lyncestis, because I’ve been told that the mosaics are unmissable – only I go the long way round and explore the back streets of town: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclea_Lyncestis will tell you the historical stuff. It was supposedly founded by the same Phillip whose statue dominates Bitola town square. When I finally get to the site – only 45minutes before closing time (but thankfully, the people who run it are vague about time) – I get a rapid history lesson from the guy in the small gift shop and where traditional music emanates from. He says that the Macedonians were probably more advanced than the invading Romans – and after they left, Cyrillic/Azbuka became dominant over latin alphabet in the part of the world. It was a matter of pride, to reassert their own culture.
Wondering around, the mosaics are indeed beautiful – but it’s not clear to me how much has been reconstructed (with the aid of a CAD/computer imagery) and how much was there originally. The amphitheatre itself is more than 75% reconstruction. There is also still a lot of excavation to be done – with much of the original city (disrupted by earthquake as well as various sackings byVisigoths, Ostrogoths etc) still waiting to be unearthed. Someone reviewing the place on ‘Trip Adviser’ online said the museum looked like it had been ransacked (by visigoths?). I could see what he meant. It was very empty, with dustmarks where previous exhibits have stood.
I was much quicker to walk back (fraction of the time it took me to get there!) – and I walk past a sports park that is full of joggers, cyclists, families with children playing in the park on the slides etc, volleyball and football teams. I sit and draw one of the grand trees.
Having supper in the Bourbon Street Pub (why go elsewhere?) I meet my dorm room mates- or rather Kasper spots me and hauls me over to join him, Daniel from Australia and Mavi from Netherlands. Kasper is a Polish psychologist on a road trip. Daniel is a farmer from Melbourne whose father is Macedonian/Greek and is trying to get a European passport so he can work in this part of the world. Mavi is an art graduate on holiday from her childminding job, walking the long distance old Roman road from Albania to Istanbul (though she’s probably deviating in Thessaloniki to go to Athens) aka the Via Egnatia (part one). She is able to walk the same distance as I go on the bicycle (but she walks all day – I sometimes don’t start until the afternoon). Kasper likes Mavi, this much is clear. Daniel is in a quandary as to what his future holds – it’s all so complicated. I have a great time with them – we move on to the loud bar next door. I have four beers which is more than enough to give me a hangover as I’m a cheap drunk. Mavi goes back to the hostel early as she is just about comatose after a few strong cocktails.