Skopje Round 2
Trip Start May 15, 2006
71Trip End Sep 29, 2006
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We barely missed the bus back to Skopje at 11:30 but luckily there was a taxi driver there who agreed to take us the three hours back to Skopje for about the same price as it would have cost us all for bus tickets. So we handed him our 50 bucks for the four of us, our baggage, and a THREE HOUR TAXI RIDE back to Skopje. It was nice because it cut about an hour and a half off the time it takes a bus to make the trip and we didn't have to sit by any smelly Macedonians(well, except the one driving our taxi). We got to Skopje at 3pm and found out that there was no way to get up to Ljubljana, Slovenia(our next destination, or so we thought) so we were going to have to take a night train up to Belgrade and then figure a way out up to Ljubljana from there in the morning
We checked our bags at the train station and told a taxi to take us to the city center. The city center was really cool. It was filled with a huge mall, pedestrian only streets, tree lined boulevards, street performers, and the usual dreary architecture which isn't so dreary when it is filled with lively people. It was a far stretch from our first night here only 3 nights prior.
We stopped at a little cafe for some great food. I have to expound on the Macedonian food. It isn't that it is any better than anywhere else but it is so much cheaper that it is worth talking about. I ordered a Macedonian Casserole(the specialty of this particular restaurant) and it was a clay pot topped with a pizza dough crust and filled with stewed meats, cheeses, vegetables, and beans. It was served to me Flambee style with the waiter dumping vodka on top of the crust and then lighting it on fire before serving the casserole to me bread bowl style. It not only tasted great but it only cost me 7 bucks. I figure something like this in the US would go for at least 3 times that much. It is amazing how much better things taste when they are cheap.
We then strolled around the rest of the town before sitting down at one of the many cafes to people watch the main square for a while. We all decided that if we hadn't already purchased our tickets for the train to Belgrade, we would have really liked staying in Skopje for a night. The people were just so helpful(even though they almost never spoke any English) and just made you feel welcome to their country which is something we haven't experienced that much to this point. Italy and Greece both gave us the feel that they had had enough of tourists and some of the people seemed to resent the huge flow of tourists that drive their economy. Macedonia was the exact opposite. They never have tourists(in fact, you should have heard all the Greeks asking us "Where are you going again? and Why Macedonia?) and the people just wanted to talk to you and ask you how you liked their country. They are so proud to be Macedonian and they want everyone to feel the same way. Everyone from the taxi drivers to the shop owners to the hotel managers all wanted to make sure you were loving your time in Macedonia and then wanted us to tell more people to come to Macedonia.
We finally headed out to the train station at about 10 for an exciting(uggg) night train through Macedonia and into Serbia. Not looking forward to that one.