The following is a guest post by Erick Redcloud of Pathless Travel. All photos the property of Erick Redcloud.
Lake Ohrid is probably the most popular destination in Macedonia with locals and tourists alike. The city of Ohrid is notable for once having had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, and has been referred to as a “Jerusalem (of the Balkans)”. Today there are still many old churches such as St John at Kaneo, built sometime in the 13th century and perched on a ledge overlooking the lake.
One of the great things about island life is seafood fresh off the boat.
While staying at a small resort on Bantayan Island Philippines I was on the beach next to where the fishing boats come in. Having watched this daily ritual for a couple of days I ask the girl at the front desk of the place I am staying if they will cook some fish for dinner if I buy it. Once agreed I am off the next day to do some shopping.
Every morning between 7 and 8am the boats arrive with their catch of the day. The fishermen beach their boats and begin stacking the catch into a bag or small net that they can bring onto the beach and have the women sort and weigh them.
Occasionally you might see someone walking into the surf to negotiate directly with one of the boats or perhaps they had a special order that was filled. Pesos and fish exchange hands and another hard day at work is culminated in enough to feed the family for a while.
Meanwhile the women at the fishing shack are busy stuffing different types of fish into bags weighing one kilogram each. From here they either sell directly to those that come buy, send over to the market in town, or walk around to the various resorts and restaurants in the area selling them out of a basket to anyone interested.
After picking out three fish weighing a total of one kilogram I hand over payment equal to $3.20 USD. Now I am sure I got the foreigner rate but still not a bad price.
I stop by the front desk and drop off my bag of fish and she tells me they will grill it around 6 pm that evening.
Bantayan is a great island to explore or just relax on the beach but all day I keep thinking about fresh fish. I even stop by the market and pick up some fruit and a few items to go with dinner.
Arriving back at my room I am greeted by the sight of the grill being brought out and the fish getting prepared. Now I am more of a fish filet kind of guy. Here on the island the fish is cleaned, scales, head and fins left on and stuffed with onions, garlic and native limes then grilled.
After what seems like three hours of me watching the fish being grilled, which in reality is about twenty minutes, the girl begins to plate the goodies. Knowing I can’t eat three fish I tell her one is for her and the other staff to add to their dinner.
Soon fresh grilled fish straight off the boat arrives on the table along with slices of chilled fresh pineapple and mangoes. Too bad we don’t have smell-a-vision at this point because it smells good.
Cracking open the fish the garlic, onions and lime come drifting out and even though it was grilled on a makeshift grill and served at a bamboo table on the sand it might as well be in a fancy restaurant with white tablecloths. The sweet pineapple and mangoes are the perfect side dish along with ice cold San Miguel Pilsner beer.
There is nothing better than eating fish straight off the boat.
Oh and as a side note I decided to stay on the island a few more days and moved to a different resort with a better beach. I am writing this now while sitting on the beach having a fresh pineapple shake and shrimp tempura.
Island life sucks doesn’t it?
While Turkey’s internal protests ebb and flow in Istanbul, feet-on-the-street reports from the nation’s capital and surrounding areas indicate that the political unrest does not have to keep you from visiting this fantastic country.
It’s the same colourful, hospitable, history-rich place as ever. Stay away from the isolated conflict areas, but don’t hesitate to explore the rest of Turkey’s diverse cities and countryside. With a dose of common sense about your health and safety, you can still indulge the senses and see the sights in a place steeped in antiquity and uniquely positioned where East meets West. Just do your research before you book your holiday, starting here with a sampling of recent travel advice.
As of today (June 18, 2013), here’s a basic list of where not to go:
* Taksim Square in Istanbul. In fact, just check before you head to any city squares when you’re in Turkey’s largest cities.
* Any ruling “Justice and Development Party” headquarters.
* The Syrian border.
* Demonstrations. (Common sense, right?)
The rest of this abundant country is yours to explore.
In fact, there are plenty of cheap holiday travel options in Turkey, along with a multitude of ways to explore the country, from riding horses on backcountry trails, to cycling scenic highways, to hiking in the hills, to taking trains, busses, boats or rented vehicles. Regardless of your chosen mode of transport, remember to always leave room for on-the-spot inspirations!
Among Turkey’s must-see highlights:
* Turkish Baths – They’re famous!
* Rock Tombs – 2500 years ago the Lycians dug them out, believing that their lofty heights would help kings’ souls be carried up by winged sirens. Check them out, catch some spirit.
* Mosques – Especially the Blue and the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi. There are around 20 of these ornate wonders to choose from!
* Citadels – Ruins in Tlos include the bonus of spectacular views.
* Markets and shops – You’ve heard of Istanbul’s Grand Covered Bazaar? Well that’s just the tip (more like a hunk) of the iceberg. Spice bazaars, flea markets, fish markets, smaller bazaars that still feel grand. And of course, backstreet shops everywhere
* Sagalassos – Drive the adventurous hundred kilometers from Anyalya; this mesmerizing Ottoman-period city is as neat as any of the coastal sites, and far less crowded.
* Termessos – Tackle the steep climb to this ruined Pisidian city and you’ll not only get an ancient amphitheater fix with views across the Taurus Mountains, sometimes you’ll even have the place to yourself.
There’s more to see and do: Cappadocia, the Aegean coast, beaches, mud baths and hot springs…better plan on staying for more than a week.
So check accurate news sources for up-to-date quarters of unrest, pack your medications, watch your wallet, and enjoy Turkey’s bounty.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”