St. Mary Balaklija – Sv. Bogorodica Balaklija – Св. Богородица Балаклија in Berovo (Берово)
This church dedicated to St. Mary Balaklija is located just on the outskirts of Berovo across the Bregalnica River. We had rented a cabin, Čiplakova Koliba, Čiplakovski’s Cottage, (Chiplakova Koliba, Чиплакова Колиба), for five days to enjoy a winter getaway from Skopje.
One day we decided to have a nice walk to the town of Berovo. The cabin itself is located just off of route P524 five kilometers southwest of Berovo. On the way to town we discovered two churches, St. Mary Balaklija and St. Elijah the Propeht, Sv. Prorok Ilija, Св Пророк Илија.
The small town of Berovo is located on the slopes of the Maleševo (Maleshevo) mountains on the Macedonia-Bulgaria border and is completely surrounded by forests full of pine and oak trees. The quality of air with all the trees is wonderful and taking a nice stretch into town is a great way to fill the lungs and the spirit. There is an artificial lake nearby called, Lake Berovo (Berovsko Ezero, Беровско Езеро), that is kept fresh by the inflows of the Bregalnica river.
When we returned to the cabin we tried to start a small fire in the outside grill to barbecue some pork chops. The temperature was so low we were unable to get an actually flame going. We only managed to make embers. Three hours of storytelling later the pork chops were done. The chops were extremely tender and combined with the smoke flavor from the Berovo Sweet Oak (Blag Dab, Благ Даб), they are still the tastiest chops we have ever eaten.
In all we stayed five days with no electronics (no television, no radio, no laptops, and no cell phones) and enjoyed wholesome family fun of sledding, hiking, long walks, putting together puzzles, playing board games and the card game tablanet, tablanette (табланет).
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