Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia is a hidden gem - and a source of income for many.
Welcome to our latest video series, Rerouted: The Balkans, which sees social media influencer and YouTuber Eva zu Beck discover the cultures, customs and traditions of Eastern Europe. Eva takes us off-the-beaten-track on a road trip through Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania. We meet the wonderful Balkan people bringing a modern twist to ancient traditions and travel through pristine, untouched landscapes. You might not have planned to visit these countries before but one thing’s for sure - they’re about to become top of your travel bucket list.
In this episode, Eva moves on to her next country - North Macedonia. Formerly part of Yugoslavia, it is a landlocked country. Despite this, Eva’s first stop centres around a body of water, Lake Ohrid.
This isn’t just any lake. It’s so big that it straddles two countries - the southwestern part of North Macedonia and eastern Albania. It’s also one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes and, with 200 endemic species, a hugely important ecosystem.
Like many of Europe’s bodies of water, it is under threat from pollution, urbanisation and growing numbers of people living around its edges. Let’s hope it receives the protection it needs so that it can continue to provide for the many people who depend on it for their livelihoods.
Eva meets one such man, Danco, who casts his nets off the shore of the small village of Radozda.
Lake Ohrid is closely intertwined with Danco’s history, “My family have been working as fishermen for the past 80 years...and now I’ve been a fisherman for 41 years.”
He doesn’t underestimate what the body of water means to them, saying, “Everything we have in this life, we have invested in fishing. The lake is a part of who we are.”
Eva is surprised to discover just how tiring this kind of manual work can be. Despite being a marathon runner, she doesn’t find it easy to haul the nets back onto the small boat.
But she is rewarded with a delicious meal when she takes her catch to a lakeside restaurant. Here she watches as it is made into ‘Saint Nicholas tava’, a traditional way of cooking fish in the oven.
Watch the video above to see Eva catching and cooking fish on Lake Ohrid.
Previous episodes of Rerouted: The Balkans