The distance from Sofia to Skopje is a little bit more than 200 kilometers. But the first thing that you will do when you cross the border with Macedonia, is to change the time of your watch back with one hour – something that will make you feel in a bit more western country than Bulgaria. But not for long. The view that will be revealed before your eyes looks like some pictures from Bulgaria – bad public transport, problems in organizing the trash, all sorts of ugly buildings and street dogs. The second thing that will make you feel almost at home is the lack of language barrier. This is the first country in which I spoke absolutely free with everyone. Of course, you can try speaking English or Russian, but I assure you that the Bulgarian will work in any case. The only catch here is that if you boldly demonstrate that you are Bulgarian, you will meet, if not hostile, at least cold attitude. Still it depends on the people you’ll meet. The only thing I can advise you is to leave the patriotism at home and to try to enjoy the journey in Macedonia.
Skopje is no very big city – it has a population of about 600,000 people.
It is situated on the both banks of the Vardar River, which you will surely cross at least once. Most likely you’ll use the stone bridge – one of the landmarks of the city, which connects the old and central parts of the city. From it you can see the Skopje fortress – medieval fortress. It is situated on the highest part of the city and from there you can see a panoramic view of the city. In the hot summer days climbing may seems unpleasant, but it doesn’t take long, and the view is worth it. Near the Skopje Fortress you can find another landmark – Church of St. Saviour. In the yard it is located the tomb of Gotse Delchev. And when you are in this part of the city you can take a walk in Skopje bazaar. The currency here is denar. You can exchange money in any “menuvachnitsa” (change office) or a bank. You’ll need it if you decide to buy something – they don’t accept euro. When you return from the old town to the center, you should go visit the house of Mother Teresa, the other museums you can miss. There are many monuments in the city center. The first two that you’ll notice are the monuments of Gotse Delchev and Dame Gruev near the Stone Bridge. Only one year since my last visit in the Macedonian capital, and several monuments appeared close to those two – the monument of Alexander the Great and the monument of the bulgarian king Samuel. Just tasteless…
I’ve been two times in Skopje and I can say for sure that this is not my favourite city. Maybe it has some more things to offer, who knows….