Theme: West Balkan & Turkey War Tour Country: Republic of Macedonia Language: Macedonian Unit of Currency: Macedonian denar Location: Matka & Skopje Year: 2013 Bucket list: Signature jumpin’ photograph in a lake cave
DO: SAIL TO THE CAVE ON THE LAKE
- Visiting a cave on the lake only by a boat
DO: TAKE A STROLL AROUND THE CITY
- Walking around a populated city, encountering a small taste of Turkey’s culture, and exploring the city’s creativity
The Best of Republic of Macedonia:
First impressions of Skopje at night: After the 4 hour bus ride from Pristina, Kosovo I was relieved to arrive in the early evening. Once set on exploring the city’s nightlife, I quickly checked-in to Urban Hostel. My quest for the night was to view the silhouette of Fortress Kale. To my surprise, the shape of the fortress stood out against the light-shaded moon and background. It was definitely a beautiful, and unexpected sight!
There were a lot of great highlights during my time in Republic of Macedonia, but these top three are the ones that stood out the most:
1) It really is a small world – Consequently, I met up some girls in Pristina, Kosovo who were living in Macedonia for quite some time. Since Skopje was on my list, it was only natural to take the opportunity and visit with them during my travels. Once I was introduced to their international friends, I had my first Macedonian dinner. And that started the tale of how I lost my favorite purple-collared shirt!
2) The cave hidden in the mountains – Since I love caving, it was penciled in my itinerary to journey to Matka (roughly 45 km outside of Skopje). During this time, I was the only tourist located on the mountain, but my tour guide definitely made it worth my while when we went by boat to enter the cave. In the end, I even took a signature jumpin’ photograph and managed to not disturb the bats lurking in the cave!
3) High energy of the Old Bazaar protesters – The trek across Stone Bridge with the whispered warning of protesters in the area made it an interesting experience in this unique location. Not only did this place help create the “Turkey” experience that I longed for, but on this particular day, I had also gotten a taste of the hate within the Macedonian and Albanian groups – fortunately, many civilians came together and wrote positive messages on balloons expressing their love and devotion on ending war between the two parties.
Next stop: Tirana, Albania!