Blogs from Macedonia, Europe - page 3

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Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid August 25th 2016

I've often been able to gauge the general mood of a nation's people when travelling, just through observation. Here in Macedonia, it seems that they're not exactly super-happy with their lot. Though when reading about the wasteful urban regeneration programme in Skopje, you tend to understand why. Driving through rural Macedonia and through the outskirts of the bigger towns, it definitely appears to be a poorer country - more so than Albania for sure, although both countries have many an unfinished building lying around. And I don't know if its just the way they express themselves, but Macedonians always seem to be a bit annoyed with you when you're talking to them. It was also interesting seeing the amount of Albanian flags that were flying in Western Macedonia. Albanians and Macedonians haven't really got on with ... read more
Inviting Waters
Classical Amphitheatre
Sunset Over Lake Ohrid

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje August 23rd 2016

Politics. There's a bit of it between Greece and Macedonia and it is probably why it was such a mission to get from Kalambaka, Greece to Lake Ohrid, Macedonia. Local Greeks I had talked to disliked the fact that Macedonia has called itself Macedonia, when it is also the name of Greece's northernmost province and this dislike extends to international level where Greece has blocked Macedonian attempts to join the EU unless it changes its name. The same locals didn't think much of my plan to visit Lake Ohrid either. It seems like an obvious journey for a tourist to want to make; from the stunning scenery of Meteora to the gorgeous lake of Ohrid, just 283km away. But there was no direct bus and not even one to the border. I would have to take ... read more
Streets Of Carsija
Mustafa Pasa Mosque
Philip II Square

Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid June 14th 2016

Dinsdag 14/06/2016 – Pogradec Busexcursie naar Ohrid, Struga en klooster van Sveti Naum in Macedonië met MR-bus (Macedonia Republica) en gids. Alles langs het prachtige meer van Ohrid. Een uur om de 2 grensposten te passeren. Nochthans we zijn de enigen die er staan. ID's worden grondig gecontroleerd. Macedoniê is volgens de gids het armste land van Europa, maar het lijkt ons heel wat netter dan Albanië. Minder Moslims en dus overwegend Orthodox. Aan kerken en kloosters geen gebrek. Mooie winkelstraatjes en overvloed aan standjes met zilver en paarlen juwelen. Ook straatventers, schoenpoetsers. Eten krijg je hier ook weeral niet op. 6€ volledige menu wijn inbegrepen in een chique hotel. De beste capuccino ooit gedronken. Overal snelle bediening.... read more
Ohrid - Klooster
Ohrid
Ohrid - oud Grieks theater

Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid May 21st 2016

Woolly says – with the rain sheeting down it was a relief to see our coach arrive, finding our seats at least allowed us to drip quietly for the duration of the trip! As Jo and I admired the incredibly lush green hillocks and comment on the neat little fields that had two metre widths of crops instead of the British idea of every inch with the same crop, Zoe took up her usual prone position with headphones in and eyes closed. The miles passed and as dusk settled around us we drove up to the border post and the opportunity to cross into yet another country if only for a couple of days. Having based ourselves in Durres for a couple of weeks we were determined to make the most of visiting the neighbouring countries ... read more
Loving the flag
The Church of St Clement
The story of Ghana

Europe » Macedonia » Ohrid May 16th 2016

Our journey from Serbia to Macedonia saw us travelling through several small towns, and across the border to Skopje, Macedonia's capital city. Border crossings have been managed with confidence by Rozle, and documents have been stamped and approved without difficulty. We enjoyed a lunch stop in the capital, Skopje, and had time to wander the streets and gaze in awe at the gigantic monuments which adorn this capital, rebuilding after an earthquake in 1963 caused significant damage. It is also determined to make its mark, as the city of super-hero monuments, much to the disgust of many residents, who constantly splatter them with paint, as silent protest for irresponsible government spending. Some of the monuments are grotesque, to say the least, but others, such as that celebrating the stages of a woman's life were touchingly beautiful. ... read more
Rozle...tour leader extraordinaire.
Two Kiwis..... A very long way from home.
Health & Safety on board!

Europe » Macedonia September 9th 2015

With today being American Thanksgiving (26th November 2015) I’ve been challenged about what I’m thankful for. I am thankful my children are not living in a war zone. That may sound odd but when you look through Murray’s work photos you’ll understand why. While our children are aware of atrocities in the country in which we call home and around the world, it is not their reality. Refugee stories are flying around at the moment, and there is fear when we talk about it. Regardless of how you feel about the state of the world, when you are actually in contact first hand with refugees it is a different story. This is Murray’s reality. In Kenya we are having a day off as the Pope is visiting. School is closed due to road closures across the ... read more
Border bridge
People arriving
Flow of people

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje September 2nd 2015

Our flight home was in the late afternoon, so after a leisurely breakfast and packing our stuff for the journey home, we walked a short distance from our hotel to the museum of the Macedonian struggle. The Macedonian take on various historical events was really interesting, and the exhibits well explained by an English-speaking guide (who took just ourselves around) - there are numerous paintings and eerily lifelike wax figures that have really taken a lot of work to produce. After the museum, we took a quick walk to Sv Spas church to see the elaborate wood carvings - they were explained with good humour, which made the trip up the steps in the midday sun worthwhile (like most other things in Skopje, it'd been closed on Monday)! We ate lunch by the river, before catching ... read more

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje August 31st 2015

After spending the last couple of evenings in Skopje, we opted to spend the whole day here today rather than heading to Pristina, as had been our original plan. We walked around the old bazaar area, including the Bit Pazar, a large market where you could buy almost anything you wanted. Having avoided buying anything (although nobody was pushy), we walked up to the Mustafa Pasha mosque and had a look inside. From there, we went to the Kale fortress - it had looked permanently closed the other night, but part of it was open, and we walked along a section of the walls for good views over the city centre. After eating spinach and cheese burek for lunch, we caught a bus (#19) to Suto Orizari, a predominantly Roma area of the city recommended by ... read more
Skopje centre seen from Kale fortress
One of the many new statues and fountains
Macedonia square

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje August 30th 2015

Today we went on a long walk... We left the hotel fairly early to set off for the bottom of the gondola at Mt Vodno, just outside Skopje. Having seen taxis everywhere yesterday, we thought it'd be easy to find one this morning, but it was a little harder than we thought. We found one in the end, but arrived to find that the gondola didn't open until 10am, and it was only just after 9. Not to be defeated, we decided to walk up to the summit instead. It turned out that this wasn't the greatest idea ever, as it was already quite warm and the path was relentlessly uphill... But we made it! At the top is a massive gold cross, with a swanky looking restaurant complex below it. Unfortunately, aside from a little ... read more
Vodno cross
View back to Vodno from part way along the path to Matka
Waiting for the boat

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje August 29th 2015

After a short walk along the river in Dihovo, we got a taxi to the station in Bitola. We bought our 314MKD (~£4) tickets to Skopje, with the train waiting in the platform an hour early. There are a lot of train tracks, some heading in the direction of Greece before disappearing into grass... The railways here have clearly seen better days, but the train had comfortable seats, and windows that opened. After shopping for some snacks in a little shop by the station, we got on. We thought it might be quiet, but it filled up a lot before we left, on time. It was the only train from Bitola at a sensible time, with just 4 trains per day to Skopje (there are a lot more buses, but we thought the train would be ... read more
Inside the train
Bitola station
The tracks that once went to Greece




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