Friday, 9 October 2015

Macedonia: Skopje and Mavrovo National Park

We left sunshine and warmth behind, in Serbia. Skopje, our first stop in Macedonia, welcomed us with a thunderstorm and the weather didn't change much for the next three days. Pretty miserable.


A usual lunch stop on the way to Macedonia (still in Serbia)
   
 
 




Approaching Serbian-Macedonian border - just like in Croatia there was a long queue of trucks.


Bye, bye Serbia

Welcome Macedonia!

Skopje, the capital

What an ugly city Skopje is! The communist era left the capitals of Eastern Europe with a huge number of blocks of flats and other equally ugly buildings but Skopje has more than its fair share of them. Here's just one of them.

I'm puzzled. What was the architect thinking? What is the purpose of this building?

One explanation of higher than average number of eyesores in Skopje would be an earthquake in 1963 which destroyed 80% of the city. Since that was the time of communism and blocks of flats, the city was rebuilt mainly with those.However, occasionally we spotted some nice buildings, too.

To be fair, there is lots of construction going on in Skopje and in some places we could see the effect of it. 
 

Not interested in sightseeing at all! Exhausted after a morning in a playroom whilst Daddy was working out in a nearby gym.
 

The Stone Bridge

According to Micky there's Mummy with her and Mummy with Beany in this fountain.

Skopje Fortress (Skopje Kale)

The fortress was a rather disappointing site. It looks like some work on excavation and improvement started but was unfinished. There is no fee, you can simply walk into the site and wander around. Hopefully, since there is so much improvement work around Skopje one day the fortress will be brought to its former glory. 

Looks like a new building within the fortress walls, all empty and closed up, though.

A building just outside the walls, below the fortress. It caught my eye due to the wording above the door. It says:   Hotel Vakuvsky-Han 1909.
 

The Grand Bazaar of Skopje
Maybe if we hadn't visited the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, we would've been more impressed with it.

Micky choosing her lunch...

...and when fed, she gave out some kisses.
  
                                                          And this is apparently Daddy!
                 

The Warrior on a horse in the background

Porta Macedonia

Just a street away from all the fountains and glamorous buildings:the real face of Skopje

Picking a little treat

Mavrovo National Park


We had a little scare on the way to the place in the park where we were staying. We left Skopje rather late and it got dark before we got to our destination although it was still early evening. The final part of our drive was on a small, narrow road and as we turned into it we got waved by a man. We obviously assumed it was a policeman but couldn't be sure. The man wanted us to pull over; however Aaron didn't notice his signs and simply stopped in the middle of the road. The man had a quick chat with us and let us go. He was obviously a policeman but we wouldn't trust anybody who waves us in the dark on a small road in a country that is new and unfamiliar to us. 

Mavrovo Lake

There aren't many roads in the park so we were trying to find our way across without retreating our steps which obviously included taking an off road track. 

St. John the Forerunner Bigorski Monastery

The monastery contains the oldest icon in Macedonia - XIC but it isn't what we found amazing - it's the condition of the monastery. It is probably the best maintained monastery we've ever visited! It was simply beautiful!

 

24  -27 September 2015


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