Statues, Statues and More Statues...

Trip Start Dec 31, 2010
Trip End May 14, 2011

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Flag of Macedonia  ,
Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19th - After some sleep, a shower and a bizarre breakfast where they knock on the door and leave a tray full of food outside 5 minutes before you have to leave it was time to board the bus and head for the next border crossing, into Macedonia.
After meeting the remaining 2 members of the tour, another John, this time an Australian one, and an Italian gentleman named Luigi, I had the pleasure of being seated next to and talked at by Sonya for a couple of hours, until we reached the Bulgarian border where we stopped for about an hour as the passport formalities took place - I still have no stamp in my new passport, grrrr.  After the border crossing we travelled for another couple of hours until we arrived into Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.
After arriving at the hotel where I will be sharing a room with Kirk, myself, Ben, Cheryl, Lisa, Elisha and Kirk went on a quick tour of the city of Skopje, which, similar to Sofia, appears to be somewhere with lots of building work going on. The most striking thing about the city is that there appears to be a statue on every corner and almost everywhere you look, including one of a diver in the river itself!
As it's a Sunday numerous places in the city were shut but we still managed to see a few of the 'sights' around, including the Mother Teresa statue (she was born in Skopje) and the city museum where the clock is still stuck at 5:17am, the time when an earthquake hit Skopje on July 26th 1963.  After walking past some kind of protest rap we headed over the Stone Bridge (with the diver statue below) and crossed the Vardar River into the Carsija, the Turkish part of the city where the Ottoman past lingers.
Around this time we acquired a new 'friend', some kind of p*ssed looking thief who appeared to unsubtly trying to follow us around as we headed towards the city fortress, the Tvrdina Kale, which overlooks the city and gives nice views.  On this side of the bridge we also saw the Sultan Murat mosque before stopping for a couple of well deserved beers in a cafe/bar.
Heading back over the bridge, with views of the Millenium Cross on Mt Vodno in the distance we almost got caught up in a wedding, before having a bite to eat (accompanied by a couple of pints of course). After dinner myself, Kirk and Ben carried on with a couple more beers at a bar near the hotel and another back at the hotel before hitting the sack at 1am......with a 6am start...
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