Blogs from Macedonia, Europe


Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid May 14th 2019

People like to talk in Macedonia and the how much the recipient understands could well be a secondary consideration. We stayed a few days in Ohrid and encountered a succession of extremely talkative taxi drivers, waiters and other hospitality workers all speaking flawless English. A head spinning quantity of information was delivered. Opinions about food, wine quality, social etiquette, viticulture and travel were all imparted. However, away from the towns the wish to engage with travellers does not seem to be just limited the the tourist sector and takes no account of language barriers. The town of Ohrid is well-appointed. The curve of a mile long promenade along the lake side finishes at the old town which forms pile at the base of a promontory jutting into the Lake. Wooden walkways take you around the edge ... read more
City of Lights - Ohrid by Night
Everyone's fave screensaver
Shepherd Trails

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 » Ohrid September 13th 2018

After breakfast we return to Skopje. We discover the bus station behind the flyover where we were dropped yesterday, on the other side of a complicated one way system the driver obviously couldn’t be bothered to negotiate. I’m not a big fan of bus travel. I can’t yell “stop” whenever we pass anything interesting that may warrant further investigation/photography. Plus, this particular bus looks like the driver stole it from a museum then got it really, really dirty before deciding to see if it could still manage a trip to Skopje. We do, indeed reach Skopje, pick up our hire car and set off for Ohrid. It’s a scenic drive through the mountains but takes longer than expected due to a succession of roadworks and one way systems. Finally we reach Ohrid where a quaint, cobbled ... read more
Dinner by lake Ohrid
Sveti Sofija Cathedral
Lake Ohrid boardwalk

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 July 20th 2018

Friday 20th It was a beautiful morning which goes hand in hand with the car heating up like a tin can so by 7am we were swimming in the lake to cool off. There were some early morning fisherman wading around in the shallows and a few other campers had set some tents up on the beach but apart from that it was a very quiet peaceful morning. We got dressed and walked around the coast and up to the old fortress. From the outside and looking up at its strategic position on the hill it looked pretty impressive but the outside walls were actually all that was left of the building. We walked down through the pine trees past a beautiful monastery and along the waters edge to a cafe. The water was sparking and ... read more

Europe » Macedonia March 15th 2018

YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT, THEN GO BACK TO THE BLOG OR GO THROUGH THE PHOTOS (61 TOTAL - CLICK ON NEXT OR PREVIOUS) IN THAT ENLARGED FORMAT. I PUT LOTS OF INFORMATION IN THE PHOTO CAPTIONS SO YOU CAN SKIP THE NARRATIVE, JUST LOOK AT THE ENLARGED PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS AND YOU'LL STILL GET MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU EVER WANTED. TO RETURN TO THE BLOG ENTRY, JUST CLICK YOUR BACK BUTTON OR ON THE NAME OF THE BLOG, BELOW THE NUMBERS ON THE LEFT. As you have probably figured out, these travel blogs are a way for Bernard and me to keep track of our adventures. I can't tell you how many times we've referred back to one of our over 60 travel blogs looking for various details, maps, dates, etc. ... read more
Skopje, Capital of Macedonia
Center of Skopje
Popova Kula Vineyard & Winery

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

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
Excavation Team

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