maanantai 16. syyskuuta 2019


 “This is Europe's new capital of kitsch", says friend's dad, referring to the Guardian article on the topic.  It is our first day in the Balkans Roadtrip vol2 this year in August and we have landed to the beautiful capital of newly named 'North Macedonia', Skopje. 
 My friend’s mother does not want to take us to see this travesty of plastic sculptures and glue on pillars on top of buildings. ”I feel so sick and angry when I come here.” She says.
 And indeed we can see why.
 The centre is full of statues.
 Statues, white buildings, pompous surroundings.
 There is a lot of statues that no one knows what they stand for.
 There are huge ship-like buildings in the river which will never sail anywhere, meant to be hotels and restaurants.
 Some of the statues fit into the Macedonian past, some just don't.
Glitter fashion is everywhere
The whole centre of Skopje was 'renovated' with plastic back in 2014 - the previous government was apparently using this project as a shield for money laundering, which is why the locals are outraged with it and would not like to show it to the tourists.
We first walk around this area at night.

And you must agree - it is made entirely for the looks of it.

There is a statue in the middle of the centre called 'Warrior on a horse'. It is of course Alexander Great of Macedonia's statue. But for political reasons we cannot say that out loud. On the opposite side of the square you can see 'The father of warrior on a horse (below).

...And the mother of 'Warrior on a horse'.
These guys are the Cyrillic brothers who came up with the Cyrillic alphabet. Did I mention that this statue has a double because one was not enough?
The Capital of North Macedonia is regardless a place to visit.
The whole country is a 'one city' country with most people moving to Skopje. (The larger Skopje being Roughly the size of Finnish Capital area around Helsinki - 1Million people)
The picture below shows the sad nature of the 'oldest restaurant in Skopje' which has gotten a 'new white look' in the kitch process of 2014.
I find this city fascinating and of course agree with the locals: The real Skopje is somewhere other than here.
We are invited to Macedonian dinner which my friend's mother has cooked. 
Lots of food on peppers, aubergines, cheese, tomato-paprika paste etc. And Raki of course!
The food is gorgeous and sooo delicious!
Olives are the size of thumbs. Juha says he cannot eat vegetables back home in Finland after this because they are so sad for their taste and freshness back home...
There is a tropical storm from Africa on our first night in the Balkans this summer.

But after it clears, we invited to the Turkish Bazar to eat some kebabs. Our hosts let us know that this is not actually food but a tradition or "kebabchinja" as the locals say.
After the amazing night, we swear that we will not eat anything else on this trip... And the journey to Kosovo, Albania, Greece and Turkey at this point has just begun...

Spoiler: We did eat once or twice after this... Have you been wondering why I came back like the size of an elephant - this is why. But still - I didn't come back a vegan!  ;)

Thank you for hosting us M and T and D! We had such a great time!

/Kesälomareissumme Balkanilla alkoi visiitillä Skopjeen, jossa ystäväpariskuntamme näytti meille kitch-päälystettyä keskustaa, jonka Pohjois-Makedonian edellinen hallitus laitatutti rahanpesutarkoituksissa uusiksi. Ehdottomasti vierailun arvoinen kaupunki: Kiinnostavaa uutta ja vanhaa historiaa ja tietysti huikean hyvää ruokaa!

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