April 19, 2008

Monastery Mexican Madness

Last weekend, following the high school debates, Jillian and I played host to a group of volunteers from around Macedonia for a couple of days of hiking and tortilla rolling. Even though our much-vaunted local monastery is only a mere 1.5 miles from the center of town, we optioned for a roundabout, eight-mile hike during which we climbed far above the monastery and approached from behind.

The temperature was in the 70s and the sun was shining as we made our way out of town and into the foothills. After a couple hours of climbing the winding trail, we made a hard left turn and descended the ridge towards our destination.

We hadn't actually attempted this hike before and as the monastery came into view in the distance we found ourselves bedeviled by a common theme in Macedonian hiking: unmarked trails. Sure, we can see where we want to go, but how the heck do we get there, we asked ourselves as we stood at a wooded intersection. After some indecisive backtracking and an ill-advised attempt to forget the trail altogether and make a beeline through the woods, we finally guessed the correct route and found our way down. Our guests must have been seriously impressed. Luckily for us the monastery sells beer.

After the monastery came the mexican food: tortillas rolled, vegetables diced, and chicken grilled, we devoured our self-styled smorgasbord of taco delight.

Along the trail towards the monastery

At the monastery on a beautiful day

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