Monday, 3 October 2016

Macedonia


 I finally got to Macedonia! When we were driving through here back in 2014 we had to miss off both Macedonia and Kosovo as we would have had to pay 100€ total to drive through. So we decided to miss out both countries and drive down through Albania - which required a 50€ insurance fee anyway. I had a week off work so had a quick look online to find a return flight for 40£ I thought it would be rude not to.

Arriving at my hostel I met fellow travelers; Stefan a guy from Belgium who had rode here all the way on an electric pedal start bike. Rba who had been traveling for the past two years via hitchhiking, couch surfing and wild camping. We were soon joined by a Colombian called Hernando who was having a few months off to travel the Balkans.



 After wandering around the town center where statues are everywhere we headed to the little fortress which sat within walking distance. It is also known as Kale Fortress and was built in the 6th century using limestone. We found a discrete way in and also found someones backpack which I'm guessing they didn't want to lug around all day. After going in the wrong way we realised that you didn't have to pay anyway - or at least when we walked out the exit no one was sitting in the security booth.



 


Dinner is served

The next day we decided to get the bus to Matka canyon which was stunning! It didn't take long and the weather was perfect. We walked along the right hand side of the lake as far as the walkway let us. We didn't know what to expect but kept on walking anyway. We slipped over the barrier but the path eventually became unwalkable.




So much rubbish...
So so cold...


Realising that there were only two buses back to Skopje, one leaving in 10 minutes and another in 2 hours we began to run. I haven't sprinted like that in since an urbex gone wrong. People move out our way and watched as we dashed by. I'm red faced by the time we reach the bus stop and the bus has already left. We wanted a drink so went in search of a bar but ended up at a chilling spot for local kayakers. It also happened to be the home of a musician of a band called Karamela who was also an artist. We drank and listened to their music and were rode home with a police man friend of the musician. He spoke of his brief trip to the UK to understand how we do things and also what he saw whilst in Greece and the incoming of refugees. It was refreshing to hear his point of view.



Our last meal together was hot dogs and fried vegetables. Tomorrow we'd be going on our separate ways; Stefan back home - he was going to leave his bike here, Rba was hitching to Sofia, Hernando was continuing his tour of the Balkans and I was going to get the bus to Pristina.