Well this part of the trip brought the first actual hurdle; ignore the speeding ticket, those policemen were pretty sound.
After a 4 or 5 hour drive, I just could not find the hotel, so I parked up and went into a nice looking bar to ask a waiter. The second I walked in, everybody just stared at me like they could see I was foreign. I just pointed to the name of the hotel and asked if they knew where it was; the English speaking waiter came over and just said it’s a few hundred metres down the road and pointed. As I walked out, I spotted 3 signs that said “No guns” – alright sound, so there are guns around, in former Yugoslavia, great.
I walked in the direction he said and spotted the hotel, so ran back to the car and drove to the hotel. Upon walking in, the girl behind the desk told me that my room had flooded overnight and I couldn’t stay there – it hadn’t rained for like 10 weeks, I had been checking before I went on the trip. Anyway, I ended up pretty angry, furiously looking for somewhere else to stay and found a place, so I told her to call them – wasn’t really in the mood for asking or being nice – I genuinely think they overbooked and made up the flooding thing.
She spoke to the guy at the apartment who said if I can get there within the hour, that’s fine; he even told her where I could park. When I set off, I just couldn’t get to where I wanted to go because the police had blocked the road off, so it took a while, but definitely under an hour. I parked up, couldn’t find the apartment so called him – his English was fine. He said, no I told the girl that I was on holiday and nobody was there to let you in so to book somewhere else. I don’t know who I believe, don’t really care anymore.
I decided to go into a cafe, use the wifi, get a drink and just calm down – I was actually thinking of just driving straight to Albania right then to stay an extra few nights there instead of staying in Macedonia at all, but I found this sick looking hotel less than a mile away. So I booked, paid and drove.
When I got there, I realised that this was a proper hotel, not a dodgy Macedonian B&B. This was not cheap (it was for us, but for Macedonia, it was expensive). When I got there, the girl made sure I was relaxed, asked me about my day and when I told her she just smiled and said, I’ll upgrade you to our best room for free, so you have a good time here. The boss came out, and she explained to him and he smiled at me and told me to have a great time, and told me a few things to do – one being to check out the first craft brewery in Macedonia, which I did.
So after being taken to the room, I was shocked, it was so nice, chilled, comfortable and relaxing. Check out the photos below.
I was only a few minutes walk from the main areas, and wow, Skopje was amazing. It’s up there with my favourite cities; if you have the chance, definitely go. It’s a shame you need to fly there from Luton, but, you could fly to Sofia, have a few days there, few days in Skopje then fly back from Sofia – get on it.
Skopje is very, very cheap. For example, the zoo cost me like £0.40 to get in, water was pence, pizzas were like £2, beer was a few quid – an artisan ice cream turned out to be like £0.70.
The whole place is spotless, and they spend some serious cash on monuments and statues – they are literally everywhere!
Check out those boats, they’re bars and restaurants on the river – I didn’t go in, so no idea what sort of food or drinks they do, but they look cool.
The old bazaar is where you can see the canopy of umbrellas, one of those Instagrammable photos that you’ll definitely take if you ever go. The pizzas there were excellent, as were the craft ales.
I wandered around the castle, which was free. The castle overlooks the city, where you can see all sorts of amazing buildings and monuments, but the main thing to check out is the HUGE cross on the hill, which illuminates at night.
I will definitely come back to Skopje one day, probably as I said above, with a flight to Sofia. I’d quite like to do this trip with someone and to do some more stuff and to check out some museums etc. I need to actually go to Kosovo, so I can’t really see myself in this area without spending a few days in Skopje again.
Worst Bit: Issue with the first two hotels.
Would I Return: Definitely. Already planning it.