Infatuated with Pelister

Legend has it that Pelister was a handsome young guy whom two sisters fell in love with. Their mother, angry with their affair, chased them to the mountains and cursed them – to remain close but still, not to be able to see each other. The sisters wandered through the mountains. Overwhelmed with fatigue and despair partly because of their unrequited love, partly of the cruel mother curse, they threw themselves on the ground and began to cry. Their tears created two beautiful blue lakes – the eyes of the Pelister.

The eye of the mountain

They can be reached through several paths, each more picturesque than the other. There is a mountain lodge beside the Big Lake. Named in honor of Dimitar Ilievski ‐ Murato, our hero who waved the Macedonian flag at the top of the world – Mount Everest, on May 10, 1989. He and the members of the Macedonian expedition were the first to count Macedonia in one of the few countries whose flag flies at the top of the world. May he have eternal glory!

Geographically, Pelister is the highest of the 24 peaks higher than 2,000 meters on Mount Baba. The same name bears the national park that hides in its arms a wealth of plants, fish, and mammals. It is highly possible to meet some brown bears “in person”. (the villagers chase the bears that wander throughout the village gardens by shouting and banging at the pots, trying to avoid the meetings with the “caring mothers”).

The forest is full of tea, spices, strawberries, blueberries, mushrooms, honey … This is how it is on Pelister. People take care of the forest, and she takes care of them. Mild Mediterranean climate, the whole area is bathed in lush greenery, and the Aegean silently spreads the sea breeze over the mountain.

Pelister is a famous Macedonian ski resort and is located 1,420 meters above sea level. Only one hundred meters from the starting point of the two-seater is the hotel “Molika”. It is named after the five-needle pine Molika – discovered by the Austrian botanist August Griesebach in 1839, a species found only here. At the endpoint of the ski resort is the mountain lodge “Kopanki” at 1,610 meters above sea level.

We will spend the night in the villa “Dihovo”, at the foot of Pelister. Just ten minutes drive from Bitola is this small family business which is a real example of a phrase ”a proper way to do it”. It is an old two-story stone house with a small wooden loggia on the upper floor, completely renovated and decorated with handmade wooden furniture. All woodwork is handmade by the owner. Wide beds,  linens made of natural materials, and a view through the window that makes you pinch yourself to make sure you do not dream.

In the yard – summer kitchen where you will be served with homemade pie for breakfast, cream, homemade butter, and mountain tea with honey from the forests of Pelister.

The conceptual creator of this small paradise is Pece – a naturalized citizen of Skopje, whose mother and father are responsible for the functioning of the villa “Dihovo”. He grew up in Dihovo but now lives in Skopje. ”I miss the air, peace, and peaceful nature he says. One born in such a place can not do without outdoor activities. That is why I am so passionate about paragliding and hiking says Pece. Pelister not only attracts me as a business but also as a form of spiritual and physical purification.”

At the entrance, there is a large plum full of orange plums. We pick and eat. The yard is a wast space that one would hardly call a yard, planted with finely cut grass. We go through the garden planted with vegetables in all shades of green, light blue, pink, and red. Green beans, okra, onions, red tomatoes, and eggplants. On the wall in the background hangs zucchini, whose deep yellow flowers say: pick me up and order a pan with stuffed zucchini, tomatoes, and – stuffed zucchini flowers. Everything they cook comes from this garden. They also make homemade brandy, wine, and different types of homemade beer! Pece says: ”here, to toast, we have a dark young beer… “.   Pece’s mother brews it according to an old recipe supplemented with the experiences of beer makers from the country where this family lived for many years. On the other side of the planet earth – Australia!

May my wonderful country have as many such places as possible!