Local Time: 5:37 PM
Time Zone: Central European Time
How far did we travel this week? 22 miles
How did we get around this week? by foot, bicycle, taxi, and car
What was the most interesting place we visited this week?
The ruins of the ancient Roman city Bargala.
This Week’s Travel News:
Early Sunday morning I went to my friend Ana’s. We had planned all week to ride our bikes to the ruins of an ancient Roman city called Bargala. When I got to Ana’s apartment, though, she had bad news. Ana’s husband had warned her that there are lots and lots of snakes along the road to Bargala, and he thought it would be better if we took the family car instead. I, however, can be very stubborn and insisted that we ride our bikes. Ana, being a good friend, didn’t want to disappoint me, and so she reluctantly agreed to go by bike.
I was excited, for about the first ten minutes. I loved the feel of the wind flying through my hair as we road passed town and out into the open countryside. Unfortunately, the downhill cruising didn’t last long, and I soon remembered that my back tire was flat. Not only that but my bike seat wouldn’t sit still. It tilted up and down making for a very uncomfortable ride. After the first mile I asked Ana again how far Bargala was from Štip. She answered, “20 kilometers one-way”. That’s about the same as 12 miles. At that moment I made one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. Ana and I turned around and rode back to her apartment and got the car. We drove to Bargala and had a fantastic time.
The ruins of Bargala are nestled in the foothills of the Plačkovica Mountains and sit a little distance away from the main road leading from Štip. Once we arrived, we parked the car near the main road and walked the rest of the way to the city. Getting closer we saw a large arched entrance. There were lots of treasures to discover in the ancient city. We saw a large brick oven, gigantic clay pots, and the remains of a public bath. There was also a huge pool for collecting water connected to a fountain. I took lots and lots of photos because everything I saw was really interesting. This is an adventure I will not soon forget.
What is the air temperature right now? 85 degrees Fahrenheit
How was the weather this week?
Štip had a lot of gorgeous, sunny days this week with just a little bit of rain on Thursday. Usually on Thursdays I walk with several of my students from our campus to the center of town. After our walk we have a conversation hour at the American Corner in the university library. Walking from campus to the library is a three-mile walk and provides great time for students to practice their English. Because of the rain this week, though, we took a taxi to the American Corner instead of walking. During the extra time we played Monopoly.
What animals did we see this week?
I saw a lizard this week! While exploring the ancient ruins of Bargala, Ana and I caught a glimpse of a lizard scurrying away into the grass. We were both very relieved, because there are also a lot of snakes in Macedonia. Neither of us wanted to see one of those!
What was the coolest thing we saw in nature this week?
Red poppies, there are red poppies everywhere! Over the last several weeks travelling through the countryside, on my way to my college campus, and just when I’m out for a walk around town, these beautiful red flowers add a dash of color to the already gorgeous landscape. Red poppies grow wildly almost everywhere in Macedonia, but they add a dramatic contrast to the green of the surrounding fields and mountains.
What music did we listen to this week?
Only Teardrops by Emmelie de Forest
Check out This Week’s News for more details!
What activity was the most fun this week?
Exploring the ancient Roman city of Bargala!
What did I read this week?
Over the past week or so I’ve been trying to read Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewelll to Arms. Hemingway writes beautifully, but the book highlights the reality of war. Because of this, it’s very difficult to read at times.
We played Monopoly at the American Corner on Thursday. As a kid I loved playing Monopoly. I still love board games, and my friends tease me because every time we get together I always suggest that we play games like Monopoly, LIFE, Taboo, or Cranium. Board games are a great way to learn English too, so I often play them with my students.
This Week’s News:
This was a very special week for Europe. Musicians and songwriters from 39 different countries have been competing in Malmö, Sweden for the 2013 Eurovision song contest. The theme for this year was We Are One. The logo of the contest is a beautiful butterfly made up of many different colors, symbolizing the different countries represented in Europe.
It moved me deeply to see peace in Europe promoted through the Eurovision song contest. Denmark won this year with Emmelie de Forest’s Only Teardrops. Listening to the traditional Danish pipes and drums carries me away to an ancient land of mystery, a land of fire breathing dragons and fiercely protected castles. It’s a very beautiful song with a very powerful message. You should check it out!