Hello there? Continuing from where I stopped. I left Sofia at about 6 or 7 am (not quite sure at this point) for Skopje, it was about 4 hours, got there at about 9 am, but they were one hour behind so yeah. (Actually maybe we arrived really early/the trip was fast).
Once again, I got a host from Couchsurfing.com, he had apparently hosted my one time roommate Alejandra from Mexico, who also featured in my “Sonia and the Wanderers” Series (need to add some new new to that). So that was comforting.
I went to a coffee shop after changing money and buying my ticket back to Belgrade (my bus was for midnight, so didn’t actually sleepover). My ticket back cost about 20 euros (one way). I bought some tea and got their wifi password so I could tell my host that I had arrived earlier than expected.
He was meant to be available to me all day but plans changed because at the last minute he had to organize some catering somewhere (he owns a restaurant, well it’s a family business). So I basically was stuck roaming around the city myself for a couple of hours, which wasn’t bad at all.
I asked for directions to the center and just kept walking, taking everything in. They have those red double-decker buses like the ones in London. The place is really pretty, with a lot of monuments, pretty buildings, and pretty bridges. I took a lot of pictures and videos (You can watch on youtube here) of the whole place.
Now Macedonian and Serbian are basically the same, like no difference (in speaking) so I felt at home somewhat, and heard when people were talking about me on the streets (all good stuff, my head was swelling). I chilled at the center for a while, drank some more tea after looking around, sat there charging my phone and using their wifi (they have some free wifi in the center too). Took pictures with a couple of strangers (they stared much more here than in Sofia), but they were really friendly and the weather was great, nice and warm.
Finally I heard from my host Oliver and he told me to get in a cab to his restaurant called “Dva Elena” (meaning “two deers”) you can also check it out on trip advisor (I left a review). It’s a very quaint, chill place, with a very nice atmosphere, wooden, like a country side/cabin kinda feel (even though it’s in the city). He had told the staff I was coming, so I ordered some food (I ordered what I knew I could afford), which was a club sandwich. Now this club sandwich is not at all what I was used to, but it tasted really good. Had it with some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Oliver finally came to meet me there and insisted I had some traditional Macedonian food, which was yummy (I didn’t end up paying for any of the meals). We sat there for a while getting to know each other, I told him all the places I wanted to go see and well he took me to most of them.
We drove first to Canyon Matka which my gosh was like the most beautiful place I had been in a while. It was so breathtaking. Oliver was so kind as to take a few videos of me there and pictures of course, part of which I used in my opening montage of my YouTube videos. We walked as far as we could, I didn’t wanna go too far in, was lowkey scared I may slip and fall into the water. There’s this restaurant there, that also has rooms, one can stay in. I think it would be awesome for a nice weekend getaway.
Then we drove to Vodna Mountain. Drove up as far as we could to like a nice pretty park area and then took a cable car up to the very top of the mountain, where a big ass cross stood. The Cross stands for 2,000 years of Christianity in Macedonia. We chilled there for a bit too, took lots of pictures and made more videos, which I used in the closing montage of my YouTube videos.
We drove back to the restaurant to change cars and then went to the catering venue to pick up his waiter and the stuff they used. I slept a little on our way there and back, was really tired. Then after we dropped them off at the restaurant, we went to Olivers’ place, he showered and changed. I took a nap and charged my phone, we talked a bit more, and then we headed back to the restaurant for dinner.
Back at the restaurant, there was a live band, the place was full now, dimly lit, very romantic atmosphere, and we were treated like VIP’s (well I was with the owner so). The crowd seemed like an exclusive one. Oliver was pointing out some famous people and all that. Some people came to our table to join us. Oliver bought me a rose, we had some wine and a very delicious dinner. I tried out a couple of things. Much later in the night, Oliver had to drive me to his to get his friend and then take us both to the bus station. His friend was also traveling to Belgrade, he hadn’t bought his ticket though but was able to get one on the same bus as me. So I had a travel partner. I got to Belgrade early in the morning on the 15th, I think about 7 am? Believe it or not I was off to Nigeria the very next morning.
It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to stay longer, but I still keep in touch with Oliver and I have plans of going back, maybe even work at his restaurant for a while (who knows). He was literally the best host. So kind and generous and very very interesting with swag (hehe).
Some info for ya?
In 1963 there was an earthquake in Skopje, 90% of Macedonia was destroyed and they had to rebuild everything with help from countries all over the world.
Skopje is the most economically functional city.
He did complain that the government was using a lot of the money making the place more beautiful and building monuments that most people found useless, instead of actually trying to develop the country. He also said that part of Greece was in Macedonia before (I think Thessaloniki, also saw something of the sort in the bible recently) until the Greeks came and took it over, they were apparently rather oppressive to Macedonians.
He suggested that I visit Ohrid next time I’m around, it has the best lake and 365 churches for each day of the year.
Things to note:
They seemed like very friendly people (always wanting to take pictures with you). Their food isn’t spicy. The place seemed pretty safe, and wasn’t rampant with pick pockets (but maybe because I didn’t use any buses or anything). Like Sofia, there didn’t seem to be a lot of overweight people so that says a lot about their diet/way of life I reckon? Oh and they seem like very liberal people (but I reckon most of Europe is).
Hope you all find the time to go there. Remember drop a comment if you enjoyed this post please, if there’s more info you want or more info you could give. Would be really nice to hear from y’all.
PS: When I posted some pictures on Instagram, I had a comment from someone who said she may have seen me when I was around. (That made me smile).