I was awake at 6.00am today, thanks to the flippin neighbouring rooster crowing it’s head off! I figured that if I was awake anyway, I may as well get an early start. So I left the Meteora region before 8.00am this morning.
Rather than drive the whole way to Skopje in the Former Yugolslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), I thought I’d break the journey into two legs and spend a night in Bitola. I even booked a hostel for the equivalent of 11 Euros. However, when I got to Bitola, I couldn’t find the hostel. I spent at least an hour trying to find it. Then I spent more time trying to find other hotels/hostels. The Garmin was taking me in circles, and trying to take me up one way streets the wrong way. In the end, I got so frustrated that I decided I’d rather be driving to Skopje that going round and round in circles. So I entered Skopje into the Garmin and left Bitola behind. I subsequently contacted the hostel and they graciously decided not to charge me for the cancelled booking.
Once I was behind the wheel of the Defender on the open road, all was well with the world again! The frustration was forgotten. Then the mountains came into view and life was good!
Once I was getting close to Skopje, I pulled into a service area that advertised it was a wifi spot (it wasn’t). Whilst there, a motorist asked if I could help to jump his battery as it was flat. Of course, I wouldn’t refuse a request for help, but it isn’t as simple as popping the hood/bonnet on a Defender. The batteries are under the passenger seat – and my jumper cables were in the side locker. Anyway, I accessed the batteries and connected up the cables but as soon as I heard the dead click from the other car, I knew that the problem wasn’t his battery. It was his starter motor. And it turned out that the other driver works for a Land River dealer in Serbia (but wasn’t driving a Land Rover). Anyway, I told him what his problem was and we rocked the car back and forth in gear to free the starter motor, after which the car fired up.
I continued on to Skopje and booked into the Stone Bridge Hotel – next to Skopje’s most well known landmark (the Stone Bridge). Once I’d checked in and got my luggage sorted out, I went for a walk around the city to get my bearings. Later, as the sun was going down, there was perfect light for photos so I wandered along the river bank taking advantage of the light. The ‘moody’ sky also helped to contribute to some nice photos. I was very happy with the photos I was able to take (hope you like them).
Afterwards, I wandered around to find a vantage point for sunset photos. Unfortunately, the sunset wasn’t spectacular, so it was a lot of waiting around without much to show.
Then it was time for dinner at a city restaurant and then back to the hotel with a couple of beers to upload some photos. On the way to the hotel, I saw a police Defender parking up. I asked if I could photograph it, but was denied!!
Skopje is giving off a great vibe and I’m looking forward to spending tomorrow exploring the city! Trouble is, there’s so much to see and I only have one day left!