We arrived at the crusty bus station of Skopje, Macedonia late after a long and uncomfortable trek through the countryside and over the border of Albania. I would love to take a moment to detail the insanity of an Albanian border crossing but I’m not so sure it’s one of those things that can easily be understood by reading a description. It has to be actually experienced to gain full appreciation of the fustercluck. It could have TOTALLY been worse but in a few words, it was late, it was scary, there was a giant unhappy German Shepherd chained to the wall, they searched all of our bags and the bottom of the bus for drugs, all as we stood shivering from the cold and confusion up against one of the stained and crumbling walls. One of the agents even stole a pen from Rob’s bag. Needless to say I didn’t enjoy it.
We opted to save money and walk to our hotel but it was so cold and late and everything along the way, including a squashed kitten alongside the road, made me sink into a deeper level of temporary disdain. I was ready for a shower and a bed and neither could come soon enough, yet when we arrived at our hotel we are informed that had to trek further to another one of the hotel’s buildings. I can now say in hindsight that as sad as I was at the time to have to drag my bag out in the cold again, it was well worth the walk – we had a super cute flat completely to ourselves (sadly just for one night).
The next morning we set out to celebrate the achievement of my 100th country! There were no fireworks or balloons just yummy veggie food and lots of tea breaks as we explored the old marketplace and tried so hard to understand the reason for the gigantic structures through the newer part of the city. It seriously seemed as if a huge number of the structures and buildings had been injected with a healthy dose of architectural elephantiasis. So strange. Not to mention the pirate ship casinos that sit proudly alongside the shallow river banks. I really enjoyed wandering around, especially with our new friend we named Tag, who followed us for a couple hours until he caught a whiff of someone else’s burger and ditched us. So much for our brainstorming how to get a Macedonian dog to England…
It’s probably getting really old reading that I wish we had more time in these places – you’re probably thinking, “Kayleigh, of course you wish you had more time – you took on way too many places in too short a time.” You’re not wrong. It seems that Skopje has a lot to offer outside of the city. Instead of venturing to the countryside we did a short day-trip to Pristina, Kosovo. I don’t regret it, but again I would say that it’s not a place you can effectively experience in such a short amount of time.
This made me so sad!