Balkans,  Macedonia,  Travel

Three amazing days in Macedonia – Skopje and Matka Canyon

Travel to Macedonia

When I think of Macedonia, I’ve mostly in my memory smells from the Turkish neighborhood of Skopje, the taste of buns with herbs from the local restaurant Gostilnica Turist and their cold beer Скопско. I am also reminded by the heat which we have experienced back then and almost-flood in the canyon. Why almost-flood?
Everything started from the late evening when we finally managed to reach Macedonia without experiencing any troubles on the way. While getting closer ito Skopje, we have seen the huge, highlighted cross on the hill and we knew that it’s the correct direction towards the city centre. This time we didn’t get lost in the city and quite quickly arrived at the spot, at the Hostel Urban (

(22 Adolf Ciborovski Str., Skopje). Few steps into the counter and we have heard: “Well finally you’re here! Couldn’t make it any longer? I was worried if you’re alive! Magda, I sent you sms!” – well, we also felt overwhelming joy to see our companion and at this moment I realized that it was just a week without the constant internet connection and I completely forgot about checking the phone. But coming back to reality, after checking-in and quick unpacking, we headed into the city together to check the right spot for the dinner.

Skopje – the city of monuments

The city itself turned out to be a city of contrasts. One one side rich, I would even say: very rich city centre; on the other side poor edges of the town and children without the shoes begging for a couple of denars. Huge buildings, many monuments and even the bridghe that played music – everything that has been created with a great splendor that I simply wasn’t used to.
Luckily our hostel was a complete contrary – comfortable, clean with a nice spot to eat breakfast on the terrace. I like that! Not only our night in there costed us 6euros per person, but also in the morning there has been a breakfast in the form of buffet waiting for us, where everyone could find something for themselves. We liked this place and this city so much, that we have decided to stay there a bit longer, spending in total 2 civilised nights in Urban Hostel and one night camping in the Matka Canyon.
But coming back to the culinary topics; Skopje, which has a truly interesting Turkish bazaar, where pubs and restaurants offered dishes from all places in the world, had mostly dishes made of grilled meat reminding me of Croatian Ćevapčići. Trusting Michal’s recommendation, we went to a previously mentioned place: Gostilnica Turist by Kazandziska Br.1, Skopje. It was worth it! And the food and lovely service stole our heart. We came back there again before leaving the town.

Stray dogs appeared in Skopje as well, however here they have been marked with special tags on their ears.
Marks of the colorful paint on the facades of buildings and monuments were an effect of the protest that took place a few days earlier

Millennium Cross in Skopje

After sightseeing in the city there was a time to discover the nature. We have started from a drive up with a cable car. It was a Vodno mountain and the ticket costed us around 2euros. The view caught us in awe. It was the whole city and of course, the famous Millennium Cross. This place was worth visiting. It’s also a good point to start a mountain-biking ride and take one of many roads down – also for hikers. While coming back to the car, because of a distraction, I accidentally left my sunglasses on the top of the car. They fell down right after the car gained some speed. Turned out I had a luck in my bad luck, because a car driving behind us, speeded up and the driver drove with the hand outside of the window, keeping my glasses in his grip as long as it took me to realize and say: “Aha! Those are mine!”. 🙂

Matka Canyon in Skopje

Speaking of nature, our short trip with 3 people in the car also belonged to slightly… wild ones. 🙂 Prepared to travel as a couple, packed as an advanced Tetris level with a large mattress on the back seat, we have organized all in the way to not disturb our visibility, comfort and possibly fast pack and unpack our things. The plan of spending a night in the canyon made it a little bit harder, but not impossible. At that moment we didn’t know if the next day we’re going to move further to the south or stay in Skopje, so we preferred to bring all our things. The hostel reservation could always be done later.
After the hike and admiring the views and eating the delicious grilled corn for 50MKD (3PLN) we looked around for a spot for our tents; where we wouldnt’t disturb neither tourists or guards. We’ve been separated from our dream place by: a river, an obstacle on the river that contained some poles. Not dropping this challenge, after parking the car, we’ve decided to cross all of it and come on the other side, balancing somewhere between the safety zone and falling into the river with all our stuff. Somehow we did it and safely reached the spot. Everything went smoothly until the moment when the guys started to scare me with stories about forest bears, wanderers and until the moment when R. decided to check why the neighborhood started to hum so loudly. After running to us quickly and saying “The dam on the river is raised!” rather didn’t count on our enthusiasm. Our way back has been completely under water, which stream would take everything on the way with it. Luckily our spot’s location was on the hill, thanks to which we hoped that the water wouldn’t reach us. In the morning we went back to the car safely after the river’s level went back to normal.

During the day, after giving a ride to Michal, from which he planned his further hitch-hiking journey, we have decided to extend our stay, but this time in a better standard and our choice was an apartment on the top of Hostel Urban. It was a jackpot with the own kitchen connected to living room and comfortable bedroom. Macedonia, which doubtlessly scored the top of the list of my favorite places reminds me now also about the Suicide Squad movie we have seen in the local cinema, the smell of the warm rain in the city centre and reminds me of a great adventure with even greater company.
The symbols of Skopje for me are also the famous red, double-decker buses, which were used here not as a transportation for tourists, but normal public transportation line.
Now I’m waiting for the next opportunity to discover a bigger part of this amazing country. And until now I recommend all of you to travel to Skopje!

Adventures of this crazy wanderer you can follow on his Instagram @check_this_travelling_czech

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.