Shkup - Скопје - Skopje

     So we went to Skopje for our Saturday outing.  Skopje, or "Shkup" in Albanian, is about 70 km south of Pristina.  Those 70 km translate into about 2 hours of driving, including a normal border crossing time of about 15 minutes.  The road is not good and is steadily getting worse.  The reason for this is that Kosovo is building a spanking new highway to Skopje, so why do any repairs to the current two-lane road?  That would be wasted money, no?  Additionally, it's about half pure urban sprawl which is highly unattractive and reaches almost to Ferizai, and then it's a scenic but slightly scary twisty road through the mountains.  Down, down, down it goes from the plateau where Pristina sits to the southernly balmy climate of Macedonia.  It's usually about 5C warmer in Skopje than in Pristina, a constant source of envy among Expats.

     We spent the morning in the bookshops and toy stores to redeem various owed presents and books, and then we just strolled though the old town.  There is a pedestrian strip that connects the Mall with Alexander Square and the early spring weather had drawn out virtually every single inhabitant of the city and tourists all the same.  It was crowded, the outside cafes burst at the seams, and everybody seemed just happy to soak up some sunshine. 

     On Alexander Square, we ran into someone from the Macedonian Astronomical Society who offered peaks at sunspots through his telescope.  How could we resist? We all took a peek and it was really cool.  Sunspots are cool.  (Oh, bad pun.  Ouch.)


We crossed the Old Stone Bridge and I suggested a walk through the old quarter.  Doug wasn't so sure but he's always willing to walk.  As we got there, he was blown away by the difference that 12 years made - you read about it on his blog.  I'll just supply the photos to his story!

(Click on the thumbnails to open up the large gallery.)