Hello young follower of International Horizons Agency in France! If you are following our adventures (that’s good!) you already know that two members of the Team set off to conquer Macedonia in May: not without a journey. Between the SNCF strikes, the taxi rides in Skopje or a very weird guy who followed us … it wasn’t easy!
Day 1: Departure and arrival in Macedonia – Friday night to Saturday
Nice, very very nice as the little Ffu-fu of the team would say! You arrive under 25 degrees, at one o’clock in the morning: you’re pretty good there. It’s Dean, a taxi driver who picks us up at the airport to take us to our Airbnb, main square ‘Alexander The Great’. This good Dean would have deserved his place next to Luc Besson: back seat, foot on the gas, go double your cart in the middle of the night to save 2 minutes.
Day 2: First appointment
We didn’t idle: tour of the city, discovery of the 100 denar kebab (like 1 euro!) – goodbye vegetarianism for a week, that’s true – shopping, and meeting with an old member of the Neoma of Rouen so that they can give us some tips and contacts in Macedonia. Nothing extraordinary, except that it’s on this day that we meet a very very weird guy, but with a kind of a little bit of a dirty look … and, the one we’ll call our friend, we meet him every day.
Day 3 : Sunday, direction Matka Canyon
The day before, we wake up at 9:00 am and we go straight to get a taxi to go to Makta Canyon: it’s beautiful, it’s superb. Really it’s splendid! Two drawbacks however: the hike, you think you are on the Paris ring road so much it is polluted, and the security along the canyon is sometimes non-existent. It’s nice to do only, I strongly advise against it with children, or if you have severe vertigo!
Day 4 : Monday, we have our first meetings.
Let’s start – traditionally! – by the French Institute, where we were superbly received. We leave with a few more contacts. Besides, we quickly go from 25 scheduled appointments, to 37: it’s hot potato. The day continues quietly with the appointments, and we meet for this first day the Franco-Macedonian association. They explain to us why in Skopje there are a lot of children begging: more than 200 orphans with no fixed abode, and a Roma community where the parents are massacred if they don’t put the children to beg. It’s quite unpleasant to feel helpless, and it’s certainly the only big flaw of Skopje, which is otherwise a very pretty capital, where people are really great! You just have to ignore the taxis where you are sure to pay more than a local, but in relation to the cost of living: it’s nothing.
Day 5: Separation, it’s getting serious
We’re splitting up for appointments so we can do more; no less than 9 appointments this day. Taxis, errands, we walk, we get lost a lot because Cyrillic is not easy. Then at 10€24 the MO you don’t have a big desire to take out your GPS! In short the day follows one another but excellent balance sheet at the end. We finish with a last meeting at the Irish Pub in Skopje: we eat like little calves (but like a good herd) and we get by despite two pints for 25€ for two. A bargain, I tell you Serge!
Day 6: Pristina, Kosovo
Wake up 3H30 to work then direction Skopje bus station to take a bus to Kosovo! Of course, we manage to get lost, we cross an old wise man in the middle of the street with a cross around his neck that could make the Vatican pale with envy! “No english” … not easy but with big hand movements he shows us the station. We arrive just in time, we buy the tickets and there: bus cancelled, highway closed. And all this explained in German: lol. Now have fun negotiating your ticket refund in English with a Macedonian girl: double lol. We leave empty-handed, 6:00 a.m., nothing to do. The appointments are made – luckily! – finally by Skype.
Day 7: Ohrid, its lake and its old town
We’re going straight to a rendezvous in a corner of Ohrid. The appointments go really well, we even get a French-speaking director who gets us another appointment and takes us there with her husband. The best! At noon, we head for the old UNESCO listed city to eat: I swear Macedonia is so under-rated as to be crazy! You’re in a sublime city, ridiculous prices, it’s good and you’re on the edge of a transparent lake: we worked all afternoon! #I’m WORKING WHERE YOU ARE HOLIDAYING
Day 8: Return to France
We continue the appointments before going to the airport, then it’s off to France after a short flight! We arrive in Beauvais, and there hotel, dodo. The next day, we take a OuiGo to Nantes, 1h30 break, and it’s off to the CaravaneTour, direction Pau, Biarritz, Orthez, Bayonne! But that will be the subject of a future blog!
Honestly : Macedonia, go for it.
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