Zerky in Macedonia

Macedonia Map image

September 25, 1967.

Dear Zerky, on our way to Lake Ohrid we drove through a region tucked in between southern Montenegro and western Macedonia, Kosovo, the poorest place we have yet seen on our trip. The Yugoslavian government is currently pouring large sums of money into Kosovo, building roads, dams and communications in an attempt to bring the standard of living up to par with the rest of Yugoslavia. It still has far to go, however. This whole section of Yugoslavia seems to us to be an isolated pocket that somehow got bypassed by the rest of Europe. I doubt life has changed much here since the days of Alexander the Great.

Zerky at Lake Ohrid

Zerky at Lake Ohrid

While driving through a small town about thirty miles north of Lake Ohrid, we had another close-up view of poverty, this time in an Albanian village in the Yugoslavian province of Macedonia, which is part of neither Albania nor Bulgaria. However, there are nearly as many Albanians living in Yugoslavia as there are in Albania. This village was composed exclusively of mud. In a couple of days we will be heading for Greece.

Although our destination is Bucharest, we are so close to Greece that we can’t resist its attractive forces. Going there now will allow us to spend more time in Romania later on. In Athens, we should be able to stock up on disposable diapers and on the other necessities of life. But we’ve got to hurry; it will soon be turning cold in the Transylvanian Alps and we want to get you to Transylvania before Count Dracula flies south for the winter with the birds.

—Excerpted from Letters to Zerky

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