Blogs from Skopje, Macedonia, Europe

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Europe » Macedonia » Skopje October 3rd 2018

It’s our final day, so after a shower (shower gel of the day is rosemary and thyme – I smell like I’ve been marinated) we set off on one last motorway trip and one last border crossing (with 4 sets of tolls) to complete our Balkan circuit. We stop on the way out of Nis at Bubanj Hill, site of the retaliatory slaughter of thousands of Yugoslavs by the Nazis. There is a memorial park there now with 3 giant fist sculptures sitting on the hillside. The thing I dislike most about Serbia is the rubbish. When something is finished with, it is immediately discarded in the street, out of the car window etc. There are an empty Fanta can and a crisp packet dumped in the middle of the war memorial. We continue our journey. ... read more
Resistance Memorial Bubanj Park
Resistance Memorial Bubanj Park
War memorial with litter

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje September 11th 2018

Time for another trip. This time it’s a jaunt round the Balkans. First stop – Skopje, capital of Macedonia. We’re off to a good start with an uneventful flight and shuttle bus into town. We had booked into the Alexandar Square Hotel but were telephoned yesterday to say they were overbooked so could we go to the new Alexandar II instead. This is a longer walk from the bus stop. It’s also 10 degrees warmer than not-so-sunny Bournemouth, so we haul our overdressed selves and our luggage to Alexandar II to be told we have a room at Alexandar the original after all. So it’s back the way we came, somewhat sweaty and unimpressed. But it’s a nice, boutique hotel right on the main square and after a freshen up, we set forth to discover Skopje, ... read more
Mother Teresa memorial chapel
Mother Teresa chapel stained glass
God’s crane

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje December 30th 2017

Fog in Dubai delayed our flight by more than an hour so we didn't land in Skopje till 1pm, after that all ran smoothly we picked up our Skoda and followed our hostess through the city which contained an extraordinary number of statues to a restaurant located in an old monastery in the Matka Canyon. Matka means "womb" in Macedonian, the canyon is located west of central Skopje, and covers roughly 5,000 hectares, it is home to several medieval monasteries. The Matka Lake within the Matka Canyon is the oldest artificial lake in the country. The food was really good, the Macedonians has some fantastic cuisine and good beers. It started to drizzle as we followed the path down to the car park and getting quite dark by 430pm. We followed our hosts for the next ... read more
City life
Porta Macedonia
One of Macedonia's distinctive churches

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 16th 2017

On our last work day, everyone has mixed feelings. We are excited to arrive at the site to move the work forward and yet sad that the week has flown by so quickly. Several wish flights could be changed so that we could stay another week! Each morning, our team participated in devotions and reflections to help set the tone for the day as reminders to us that we are ambassadors here in Macedonia. We not only quickly bonded as a team, but we also formed life-long friendships and welcomed new family members, not only within our team but with local residents as well. Perhaps the best description is this poem by Maya Angelou: Human Family By Maya Angelou I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on ... read more
The security fence is done!
Hannah working her biceps.
Tom joins Hannah moving blocks.

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 15th 2017

Our team is determined, as usual, to make good progress today. As soon as we arrived at the site, we scattered like ants already comfortable in our work environments. In fact, we have already learned that we are ahead of Kosta's schedule, which is always motivating to hear! Team members have been adding comments to Julene's journal throughout the week, and several are shown below to give you an idea of what we are experiencing: “I am never failed to be amazed at what can be accomplished by a caring, concerted group of Habitat people.” ~Julene "Rocks, rocks, and more rocks." ~Chantel "I am pleasantly surprised how beautiful the town and the homes we are building are." ~Hannah "I got a blister! Worth it!" ~Julie "Rocks are way more fun than wire." ~Claire "I love tying ... read more
Plastering with Mike!
Rockin' Diggers: Pete, Claire and Julie
Karlee

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 14th 2017

Wednesday dawned warm, and our team was prepared for a half-day of work in the abundant sunshine. Several folks switched up their tasks to experience other parts of our assignment and added new skills to their resumes. These tasks included fence building, relocating storage shed components for reassembly, landscaping with gravel by wheelbarrow, more excavation and continuation of tying rebar. After lunch, in the heat of the day, we returned to the hotel to freshen up for a cultural activity. We traveled to the ruins of the ancient city of Stobi, which lies at the confluence of the Crna and Vardar rivers. It was an important urban, military, administrative, trade, and religious center of the Roman and Byzantine empires, thought to have been originally inhabited in the 6th Century B.C. The site of ruins is an ... read more
Duct Tape Glove Repair
Inspector
Excavation Team

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 11th 2017

Sunday morning in Skopje dawned wet and drizzly and, after a hearty breakfast, we met our guide, Kristina, at our hotel for a three-hour walking tour of Skopje's city center. On our way to Mother Teresa's Memorial House, we saw several statues of prominent Macedonian figures throughout their long history. The memorial to Mother Teresa was most moving and demonstrated her life of sacrifice and service, primarily to the poor citizens of Calcutta. Since she was born here, the people of Skopje hold her in very high regard. Our guide showed us many fountains, museums and new buildings that have been constructed since the devastating earthquake of 1963. We made our way through the huge Turkish bazaar where you can buy anything from wedding dresses to ball bearings and everything in between. Fresh produce, meats, grains ... read more
Mother Teresa's Memorial House
Friendly Strays
Team at Kale Fortress

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 10th 2017

Zdravo! Hello! Welcome to our 2017 Thrivent Builds Worldwide team blog! Everyone has arrived safely in beautiful Skopje, Macedonia, and we are happy to be here! Over 300 people are sharing in our Macedonian adventures this week. We appreciate your prayers for good health, good weather, good camaraderie, good food, good travels and good work! After checking into our rooms, we held our first team meeting in Hotel Ibis Skopje City Center. With introductions and some logistics behind us, we received a warm welcome from Rilind (Lindi) Jegeni, our host coordinator with Habitat for Humanity Macedonia, along with a presentation of the current situation by Kalina Sejfula, PR and Donor Relations Specialist. We now have a greater understanding of how our service this week will directly affect 12 families. Afterwards, we walked a short distance to ... read more
Vardar River
From Atop Millennial Cross Mountain
Vibrant City Center

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 5th 2017

Rano zbalenie batohu, nechanie rozpadnutych botasiek pred dverami hostela, uz klasicky zastavka na burek. Bus na letisko mi ide 9/40 zpred hotela Holiday Inn. V parciku v klude zjedenie ranojok a pomaly presun na miesto odjazdu. Na parkovisku som zbadal kancelariu vardar expres , overujem si este odchod busu, listok sa kupuje u vodica. Po opusteny kanclu, za mnou este dobieha jeden chalan ci s nim nechcem sharenut taxi na letisko, no veru nie, mam este dost casu a bus je lacnejsi. Taxi stoji 15€/auto. Posedavanie pri rieke a sledovanie ludi. 15.min pred odchodom presun pred holiday inn. Tu sa uz zacali zgrupovat ludia. Bus prichadza nacas, sadam do zadnej casti. Prichadza vodic, kasiruje ma a smer letisko s este zastavkou na bus stanici a pri jednom nakupnom stredisku, kde nastupuje fesna policajtka. V zadu ... read more

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje June 4th 2017

Rano menim plany, povodne som chcel ist na bus 10/50 ale kedze som vcera skoro zalomil a dnes aj skoro vstal idem na 9/30. Majitel ma uz caka. Vcera mal problemy s francuzskou rodinou, stratili kluce od izby, tak sa hral na zamocnika. K telefonu mi dava este synatora, podakovanie, poprianie vsetkeho dobreho atd. Rychlo krokom smerujem na bus stanicu. V okienku, ktore sluzi zaroven aj ako vstup k nastupistiam kupujem listok do skopje, na tabuli je vypisany odchod 9/30, bus ide nakoniec 9/50. S jednou pauzou prichadzame do skopje. Ubytko som tentoraz zvolil inde, co bola chyba. url=https://www.tripadvisor.sk/Hotel_Review-g295110-d7087552-Reviews-The_Comfy_Hostel-Skopje_Skopje_Region.htmlThe Comfy Hostel sa nachadza dalej od mesta, vo vacsom kopci. Tieto veci by az tak nevadili ale po prijati mensi sok, kupelka spinava, na 6.dorme mega teplo, lo... read more




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