My trip to Skopje, the capital of Republic of Macedonia was split into two days of riding. In total just under 230 kilometres. On the first day I climbed the hills, pedalled in the rain, fought the headwinds and reached another milestone – 10,000 KM mark. It is really hard to believe considering I have never bike toured before. Perhaps, the bragging about is not a good idea in case some hardcore cyclists may read this😎. Anyway, if I can do it, anyone can…
It took one patient hour of waiting to meet with an owner and get a green light to pitch my tent behind his thriving truck stop business. It was 5 PM and I was only 8.5 KM away from the border with Macedonia. In my appreciation I ‘invested’ my leftover 2.10 Lev (€1.70) and ordered a meatball soup with a bread in the restaurant.
Following day… “Dobredojdovte vo Makedonija” or if you are really into the languages… “Добредојдовте во Македонија.” To omit any border crossing paperwork or possible fees I travel with my Polish ID card on me rather than using my Canadian passport. Having said that, I should carry with me a Polish passport as well, but I left it in Gdańsk. Luckily enough, neither Serbian or Macedonian border authorities brought this up with me yet.
My second day of riding was long, but overall manageable, in total 123 KM. Sure there were few bumps on the road, but at least dry along the way. I arrived to Skopje shortly after 3 PM. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. My first impression from the 20th capital could be summarized in one of the Will Rogers quotes;
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”
I was really pleased with the centre of the city. Generally clean, fairly modern and packed with the endless gigantic bronze statues of the famous Macedonians. They are everywhere, you cannot miss it! On a fairly new bridge known as “The Bridge of Art” completed with 35 bronze statues I was stopped by a gentleman in my age. I bet my fully loaded two wheels caught his attention. It turned out, that Ljupcho Tanurovski is a general manager of the local hockey team known as the Vardar Skopje Hockey Club. After a friendly ‘hockey chat’ we exchanged our business cards and walked in opposite directions. An hour later I checked in to the Urban Hostel & Apartments. Pretty fancy two nights stop for… €14.
DID YOU KNOW, that Mother Teresa was born in present Skopje
Alexander the Great
The Statue Divers under the Stone Bridge
The Civilization Bridge
The Skopje Fortress, commonly referred to as Kale
The Mothers of Macedonia
King Phillip II of Macedon
The dogs of Macedonia
Memorial House of Mother Teresa who was born in Skopje
Statues dedicated to unknown Macedonian heroes