North Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M) Datasheet- Skopje & Stip
Hey guys, don't know if yall have ever heard of North Macedonia, but it is one of the former Yugoslav countries. I spent a week there in '17 Fall, and last year in the fall I spent a day or two. I really didn't do much gaming, but I think you will find the place charming in its own unique way. Below I include my original account of my '17 trip there, and then as a postscript a second smaller trip report I wrote up the other day. Hope you find it interesting. -SS

Macedonia Datasheet (Skopje & Stip) October '17

Macedonia is one of those places you never hear about unless you're a Slavophile or seriously interested in small countries that make you feel like a Western God. Macedonia has the distinction of being the place that was responsible for the fake news content farms that caused Hillary to lose election 2016; so thank you very much guys for your valiant efforts! Interestingly enough, the teenagers that made the fake news were riding high in new BMWs and everyone in Macedonia knew something was up, because 18 year olds simply don't get BMWs out of thin air-- at least that's what I heard from a friend who happens to live in the general vicinity of these guys.

Macedonia has about 2 million people, basically 75 percent ethnic Macedonian (slavic, Orthodox, closely related to the Bulgarians) who speak Macedonian, and 25 percent Albanian (Kosovo Albanian) who speak Albanian. Only one major city, Skopje, with about half a million people or so. This has a big impact on the political situation there because now the Albanians are a recognized minority and so the Albanian language is posted in places that have I think 25 percent of the population or more (which means in the Skopje area you will see signs in Albanian). One more comment about the political situation--there's sort of an ongoing crisis over what Macedonian identity is, so you will see lots of monuments to Alexander the Great, Greek architecture, etc, which has given Macedonia pariah status because of Greek objections to this; it's seriously impairing Macedonia's admission into the EU.

Macedonia is one of my favorite countries I've visited, for several reasons: fewer tourists than Serbia, very welcoming of foreigners, beautiful nature/mountains, really good food, very cheap prices, and very nice women.

My one week in Macedonia:

I took a bus from Belgrade to get to Skopje, because rail connections are a joke in the Balkans. The bus company was actually pretty good and it was about $40 USD for a round trip ticket, trip took approx 6 hours from Belgrade's main bus station to Skopje (including the time we had to get out at the border). There was also a stop in Southern Serbia for a smoke break.

I was traveling with my Serbian buddy, and we arrived at Skopje's central bus station at approx. 8:30-9PM. The first thing I will say is that it was quite a formidable building, characteristic of the Brutalist style of architecture, which is something I've never really seen much of in the West. If you like Brutalist architecture you will like Skopje! Approaching the outskirts of Skopje we also saw a lot of Macedonian flags.

We got out of the bus, and it was at least 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it had been in Serbia. The first thing that sucks about Macedonia is that they have a closed currency like Serbia, so you immediately have to find an ATM or a place to exchange some USD, EURO, or GBP. If you're coming from somewhere you want to make sure you have dollars or something, because you can't exchange Serbian currency outside of Serbia. I was able to find an ATM relatively quickly, while my buddy was immediately searching for a sports betting shop. After we concluded our chores, we got in touch with our local contact who my buddy had met on vacation in Greece (Serbs and Macedonians really love Greece). She met us at the bus station-- she looked about 18-- and started conversing with my bro in Macedonian. She got us a taxi outside the bus station, and we sped off to our AirBnB in the city center. We had run out of smokes, so she let us smoke some of hers. On top of it, she paid for the taxi, speak about sweet women!

We were situated in the city center right next to the river and national museum, paying about 30USD for the night, and as soon as we dropped our stuff off we headed out with the girl. Skopje has a very compact city center, although it is quite clean, and was recently redone in the neo-Greek style. We walked to her friend's apartment which was about 10 minutes away on the edge of the city center, closer to Mother Teresa's house. Her friends lived in a tall socialist-style high-rise. We went into their apartment. 3 or 4 girls lived there, all university age and shared the apartment. We drank Macedonian wine for a few hours and smoked a bunch of cigs--Macedonian girls love to smoke. When it got closer to 2 or 3 AM, all the girls walked us back to our apartment. My friend, Milan, had paired up with the original Macedonian girl, Sara, and they were holding hands hugging and kissing the whole way home. Meanwhile I was chatting with the other 3 Macedonian girls. We got back to the apartment, but Milan missed the obvious visual signs because he was now making out with Sara. I managed to get his attention and we bid farewell to the group. We were so hammered we were unable to find the apartment. We were also dangerously near to broke, having been unable to get more money, and so we left the apartment for drunk food. The city was basically closed down by 3, everything was dead, no one out walking, so we started looking for a taxi. We found one, the taxi driver took a liking to Milan and said he'd give us a ride. He gave us a choice, bakery, or some random neighborhood. We said bakery so he found one of the few open ones. The other choice he'd given us was an ethnic Albanian neighborhood, where I’m sure there would of been trouble since my friend was Serbian. We were able to eat some shitty Pastrmalija, and then find our way home.

The next day began with fresh mountain air wafting into the apartment and the sound of a rather loud helicopter over the parliament building. We cleared out of our apartment and set off. We headed over to the group's high-rise to leave our stuff and figure out where we would stay that night. We had some coffee and some cigs. Sara and one of the other girls, Natalia, decided that today we were going to go to Matka canyon on the outskirts of town, because it is one of the best places to take people from out of town. We all walked to the brutalist bus station, and got tickets for the 45-minute ride. Unlike Serbian busses, unfortunately, Macedonian buses do not allow the opportunity to evade ticket collection. We made it to the edge of down, which I daresay had a more “ottoman” character, and the road turned into gravel. We had to get off here, plow through the wet gravel, and find a taxi. We found a taxi and took it to the start of the trail, the girls again paying for the taxi.

We took a vigorous hike for over an hour, and enjoyed some of the most beautiful scenery I’d seen in this part of the world, the canyon and the lake were fantastic. I recommend that anyone visit Matka canyon. We finished, plopped down at the bar and had a few drinks while Milan did some kayaking.

We got stuck at the entrance to the canyon waiting for a taxi that was supposed to show, and we soon started walking back to the outskirts of the Albanian part of town. We must have encountered at least 3 distinct sets of minarets on the way back. We managed to find a taxi near one of the mosques and the girls once again tried to pay; I said no. We smoked some cigarettes back at Natalia’s apartment, changed our clothes, and then headed out to Cocktail Bar, which was very close. Both girls simply looked ravishing all dressed up. Cocktail Bar is a nice little venue, with a big covered patio for smoking, and drinks are cheap 3-4USD for classic cocktails. The girls both ordered neon color cocktails and slowly sipped them the whole time we were there. Feminine as hell!

Later that night we took a taxi to the Sara's university to spend the night in her room. We had to sneak in. She had two roommates and we took her bed, me and Milan. One of the roommates was pissed off that two dudes were in the room, so she left, and Milan moved into the bed Sara was in.

That next morning, I cleared the hell out of that dorm, it smelled like shit, the smell from the squat toilets was bathing the dorms in stench, and there was graffiti on the crumbling walls. There was a small camp stove in the corner of the room that I assume the girls used to cook their food. Third world as fuck! Never again will I again complain about the amenities of American universities. I went and had some burek for breakfast on the main square. I crossed over the main bridge to the Albanian side of town, which was completely different in character, and climbed up through the steps of the Old Market to hill which the fortress was on. I walked into the fortress and enjoyed the panoramic views of Skopje, there was no one else in the giant fortress.

I made my descent back to the Macedonian part of town, looking for a café. I then sat down at a bar, Studio 54, and ordered some native Shopsko beer at 11 on the dot. Drank a few beers, and waited for Milan to get back to me. I made my way back over to the girl’s apartment and set my stuff down, waiting for Milan and Sara to get back. In the meantime, one of the girls made me some Turkish coffee and we chatted about life and travel. Milan finally showed up, having to sneak on the bus because of a lack of cash. We chatted a while and waited for Milan to get a call from his aunt, who was coming to take us to Stip. Natalia escorted us to where she would arrive, and patiently waited with us.

His aunt arrived in a minivan taxi, one of those taxis that takes multiple fares, like a bus would. We piled in, and then set off to Stip.

It’s about a one hour journey from Skopje to Stip if you happen to go by taxi. I think it was about 12 bucks for me and Milan. We met the whole family, and then Milan’s cousin Bill took us to register at the local police station, which we hadn’t done the night before in Skopje because we didn’t really give a fuck. Needless to say, you should register if you actually care, because it avoids trouble later on, when you actually decide to leave, although it’s not typical for them to check for your white card on exit. Stip only has 50,000 people so it’s way smaller than Skopje, but still has some opportunities because it’s a big university town. Rest assured if you decide to visit you will probably be the only Westerner there, I was told by Bill that they had one African who was very famous in Stip because he used to be a model, he had children by several Macedonian girls, and one Russian. I take his words that these were the only “foreigners”.

There’s a nice bar in the city center, at the roundabout, called Кафе бар Illussion, which has a nice terrace on the second floor for people watching, and becomes a lively club after about 8PM. If you’re in the center of town, you will find many other bars and clubs that are similar.
The next day, we started out to the Bargala ruins, which are ruins from Roman times, part of an old town, about 20 minutes or so from Stip. On the way out of town we stopped at a supermarket for some liquor, and I got looks at the register because I’m pretty sure they’d never encountered an American in their supermarket. There aren’t many people that visit Bargala, and you can climb on them and whatnot and get a really good view of the surrounding country. I am a bit disappointed I didn’t bring more alcohol because it would be the perfect place for a picnic. You can also see some wineries too. I would invest in mine own if I had the money, because Macedonia is a great place for growing wine and everything is so cheap….

You will see some shit that you may not be used to when you get out of bigger cities, like shit tons of gypsies, horse-drawn carts on the highway, men drinking beer on the front porch at 10 AM, people herding sheep, etc.

Back into town, we drove up to the top of one of the bigger hills overlooking Stip, which has a 30 meter cross on top of it. It’s another great place for a picnic or doing some heroin—I was told—and has a great view of the whole city and the river. You can climb up the ladder on the cross too, because it’s not locked.

Back in city center, we stopped at a white tablecloth restaurant, which sadly I can’t remember the name of, for some Pastmarilja, which is a dish that’s from Stip. It’s a large boat shaped piece of bread with meat covering the whole top of it, which you eat by hand. We got three of em, 2 medium and one large and a carafe of house wine for 12 dollars… I’ll post the name of the place if I can remember it… I’ve heard it’s good to visit Stip when they host the Pastmarilja festival, which is one of the bigger events in the country..

We went back to the house, had some more Macedonian food, and then got ready to go to this right wing political rally. Me and Milan decided to skip it so we went back to the city center and started to get drunk at the bar. We needed to head to the rally, so we started looking for liquor store, but Macedonia has these dumb strict liquor laws, so we had to find this supermarket that had a license to sell after 5 until 7 pm or some dumb shit like that. People at the register did a double take because they knew I was American. We got hammered next to the river, and then went to the political rally. Half the town seemed to be there, but it was too crowded. We had hid our bottles in the bushes, so we left the rally and went outside to recover our bottles and get drunker. The rally finished, we saw Milan’s extended Macedonian family, and off we went with his hot cousin to the jazz club. I would have made moves but I felt that she was off limits given how much of a degenerate I am, which Milan knew perfectly well. She had a very pretty round face, long hair, nice ass and spoke really good English. We went with her to the jazz club and me and Milan started drinking Four Roses while she had some dinner. Milan discovered that his degenerate gambling habit had paid off for once, and he had won the equivalent of 75 USD on a 1 dollar sports betting ticket. So, exuberant, we ordered more bourbon. Bill showed up. Some creepy dude in the corner of the bar was giving our group weird looks. Turns out he was a police man that got fired because he was a heroin junkie. His parents bankrolled him after he was fired, so now he would just sit at local bars and get drunk and high. Creepy as fuck.

The female cousin left, and we headed to the club, which was called “Underground” or something like that. For reference, it’s in the center of town next to the river that flows through concrete ditch. The club portion of the place is in the basement, and we were some of the first people there. We had a standing table just off from the main room from the DJ. I imagined in my mind, how things could have turned out had I put some planning into this trip… “An American! In Stip!” I could have made up some shit about being a DJ or a modelling scout or anything really…. Anyway…. The place was really full by midnight or 1AM, which is really when people start to show up in this part of the world. We saw a trance DJ there, famous in the more underground side of the trance world, and met a lot of cool people. We had to leave at 3 or 4 because we were about to start doing some dumb things that would get us noticed in this small town. I will say I was impressed by how full the place was, how beautifully made up all the girls were, and the fact that none of them were fat. Macedonian girls are a bit shorter than Serb girls, but still of decent height. A lot have the darker hair, and seems like they have bigger asses, which I will not complain about.

The next day we met Milan’s uncle, a painter. We drank Macedonian brandy with him and his wife, and then his wife made us some food, even though we protested. Macedonians are such nice people, and great hosts!
After that we took the bus back to Skopje, for like 20 bucks total, and the damned thing was full halfway back to Skopje. We had a restaurant opening to attend—one of Milan’s cousins had a new restaurant that was opening there—and so we took a taxi as soon as we arrived at the bus station.

The restaurant was a fast casual type of joint, and everyone was throwing money on the ground to wish the owners good luck with the future of the restaurant. There was all sorts of Macedonian liquor there, so we were soon drunk for the second time that day.

Since we had booked a bus ticket with the good bus company-- their name is Fudeks, I believe-- we were able to return to Serbia any time that week we wanted to. It was already 9 or 10, so I fired up trust old AirBnB and found us a place with my new knowledge of Skopje. 35 USD a night, right off the main pedestrian mall of Skopje, city center, 7th floor, big windows, balcony two beds, and a fold out couch… Perfect place for a house party or bringing women over. All the taxi drivers in Skopje seem to be shitty with directions, maybe because they don’t use GPS, and finally we made it to where we needed to be. We got checked into the apartment, and invited all the girls over, which was the four girls we already knew, including Sara.

We had to go find alcohol at this point, so we found a place that was willing to sell alcohol under the table after 7PM, but the previous time we were in Skopje it had taken us over an hour to find a bootlegger!—so be mindful of this fact. Have some stashed, know a bootlegger, or go to a bar or club, which can be open til 1am or later.

The girls came over, marveled at the size of our apartment, and started smoking! Even though it was a no smoking place… Ah what the hell, at least we had gotten them over. I had the eyes for Natalia, who had a large cross on, dangling into her big boobs, a nice big ass, dark long hair, big brown eyes, and knew how to wear a dress. But I had a serious case of blue balls, so I was being aggressive as hell. Anyway, I should have known Macedonian, but she actually spoke English pretty well. Macedonian girls tend to apologize for their English skills, but most speak decently. Also, the accent is sexy as hell.

We smoked and drank, and listened to lots of Macedonian and Serbian music, most of it rock and pop, with some folk music thrown in… The girls aren’t into English music unless they’re Anglophiles, which is maybe only 50 percent of the girls. Native language music is almost always the better choice, because not every aspect of their culture is westernized yet.
I tried to isolate Natalia, but I wasn’t that successful. Later that night I tried to take her out for a drink or food, but my attempt fell flat, because then the whole rest of the group decided they wanted food too.
Meanwhile, Milan was all over Sara, but had told me a few days earlier he had nothing in mind for Sara because, “I won’t date girls that aren’t Serbian”. Anyway as it got later they were making out on the couch while all the other girls watched.

We went for food, and Sara was making it clear to Milan that she wanted to fuck. I told them to use the bedroom, but they were idiots and went back to her dorm. I walked back to the apartment alone.
I woke up the next morning, the apartment reeking of cigarette smoke, beer, and rose. I went and bought 1 ½ liters of beer for breakfast. I waited for a call from Milan, but he was nowhere to be found. He showed up while I was back at the apartment, and told me the idiot taxi driver had dropped him off in the wrong place, phoneless and almost penniless. Something had happened back at the dorm, but I’m not sure if it was a lay or not…

We walked the pedestrian mall, went to the sports betting shop, and drank some more beer to alleviate the hangovers in front of the massive Alexander the Great Statute in the center of town. There are some aggressive Albanian/Turkish hawkers who try to sell sunglasses, and they have a keen eye for recognizing foreigners. Just say no, they can be persistent. We headed over to the north side of town and had some lunch in the old market. There are some good sit-down restaurants that serve Turkish/ Albanian food or Macedonian food and you can get two entrees some sides and some beer for like 20 bucks or less. We did some casual drinking that night, and I can’t really remember any other details.

The next day was our last day, and we had told all the girls that. They decided they were going to take us to the Millennium Cross which overlooks Skopje, and must be like 100 meters tall. You take a double decker bus (looks like the old ones from London) from the city center, up to the cable cars, which is about halfway up the mountain, the bus takes like 20 minutes. You then walk through a mountainside park, and buy the cable car tickets which are like 3 or 4 bucks, both ways. This is important to remember, the bus doesn’t run on Mondays, so don’t go on Monday. You’ll wait 15 minutes max for cable cars to go up the mountain, which takes about 5 minutes. It’s good to get your own cable car if you go with girls, because they only seat about 5-6 max to begin with. Girls definitely love the opportunity to take photos on the way up, and the way down. Once we got to the top, we bought some beer at the store there, but was like 1.50 for a beer instead of 90 cents, so be aware of the higher prices. There’s a little café where you can order a coffee as well. We took a lot of photos with the girls and then found a picnic table to sit at and smoke and drink. The view is really good, and you can basically see all the way to Kosovo.

We took the cable car back down, and then the bus. It’s really good if you get a seat the at the front of the bus on the second level, because it’s like being on the front of a roller coaster on the way down the mountain… Quite romantic… I made some more halfhearted attempts at escalating with Natalia while on the bus, and I joked how we would live like kings once I permanently moved to Skopje with my American money. I couldn’t tell if she was into me or just being nice….
That night we bought some more wine, and drank in a local park, knowing we were leaving on the bus in a few hours’ time… We went back to the girls apartment, grabbed our stuff, and headed with Sara to Cocktail Bar for one last round. Sara was really into Milan, but had no idea that Milan was Serbian ethnic supremacist even though he was half Macedonian, and that he was going for the pump and dump route. I ended my night getting all three of us drunk as hell, and filling my pockets with Yugo-era Macedonian cigs that were 2/3s the cost of Serbian cigs. Sara was all over Milan as we waited for the taxi, and I think wanted a relationship with him.

I’ll remember my week in Macedonia fondly, and will be back later this year to get the girls I’ve been pipelining out of my phone and into my pants.

Lays: 0/1 attempted for me; ?/1 for Milan

Helpful Info- Macedonia and Skopje (Smaller places in MK will be cheaper)

Currency: Denar- Currently 100 Denar is 2 USD. Denar is a closed currency, so have USD or Euro to exchange once you arrive.
Language: Macedonian (Basically Bulgarian), some Albanian in big ethnic Albanian areas, and about half the under 30 girls speak English.
Lodging: AirBnB is the best. Expect to pay 30-50USD for something pretty nice for Skopje. Stick to the city center, as it is prettier and has better logistics.
Tourism: Not as big as Croatia or Belgrade, use this to your advantage. White God factor seems high. Lots of girls would like to visit the US.
Alcohol: $1.50 for 1.5 liters of Shopsko beer at the supermarket, roughly 2 USD or less at a bar for a pint. Cocktails or liquor 3 to 4 USD at a bar. Beer is slightly more than Belgrade. Opening hours of off premise sales are quite severely restricted, to stop selling at either 5 or 7PM I believe.
Food: Bakery items for 1USD or so, fast food for 1-3USD, sit-down at local places 4-5 dollars, medium quality places 8-10USD for one person
Overall costs: decently cheaper than Belgrade, which is already quite cheap. Skopje is one of the cheapest European capitols.
Women: Not as big hos as Serbian girls, bit shorter, look more Bulgarian with darker hair; the thick Macedonian girls are a bit more frequent than Serbian girls. Don’t seem to be big into the drug scene either. I can’t comment anything on Albanian girls, but I did see a few burqas in Skopje. In Stip, it’s just ethnic Macedonian girls. Macedonian girls like Serbian dudes, and I’d assume other Slavic nationalities as well…
Other cities to consider: Kavadarci, which is a center for winemaking is apparently beautiful a good place to visit. I think girls in Skopje like to go there for weekends, at least according to what I heard from the girls I was hanging out with. Ohrid also is probably worth a visit, and is the main tourism center for foreign tourists, especially in the summer. I’ve heard prices are jacked up there.
Nightlife: Winds down earlier than Belgrade, and I think is pretty much done by 4am if you’re at a club.
Weather: Can be quite nice in October, high of 60 or 70 is possible, but will be much colder, 45-50 at night. Fall/October is a perfect time to visit, before the weather becomes much beaker/cold.

Macedonia is quite a small country so it’s pretty easy to see the whole place.

Addendum: Second trip in Fall '18

Not much different in Macedonia these days, except for the name change (now, North Macedonia) and all the stuff commemorating Alexander the Great has been excised from the whole country. Updated info/ trip report: from my last trip there at the end of last year (fall 18)

Well not much has changed guys, still not a huge tourist destination so most the tourists are from former Yugoslavia, even though I have seen it written about in other western publications. I was in Skopje overnight.

Stay in the center, Skopje is dead otherwise if you're not in the center. Will drop a hostel recomendation because I stayed there, it was cheap and exceeded expectations. I never do hostels in Eastern Europe but this one was worth it. Name of the hostel is Hostel 42, It's located about 5 minutes from the center walking, next to the parliament building and the large cathedral. Paid cash, for 20USD got a sweet private bedroom/ bathroom combo double room, with common living and cooking area. Was not expecting that I was expecting a dorm bed. Room had a view too, which was sick. The chick that checked me in was super nice and flirty. Macedonians are freaking friendly. After I checked in it was already late, maybe 11 or 12 at night when I left the room to find a pljeskavica. For the life of me it is so hard to find late night food in Skopje in the center, theres only like one or two places. Cheap though, like a couple bucks.

Didn't really game while I was down there. Although I did game some girls on the way to the hostel, they spoke english but problem was I didn't have cell service. The huge mall right off the center square is like the most popping retail location, and the whole mall smells like cigs. Now that I think about it, it was one of the few places in the capitol where Muslims and Christians were integrated. This city is super segregated. Huge football match my second day there. Of all people Glasgow Rangers. The city was in chaos. They were roaming the streets half naked vomiting in the beautiful new fountains. The scots/brits don't know how to drink. I was walking around through the bazzar in the old part of town, albanian side, and the bazzar was legit. Black market cigarettes, goats, counterfeit Stone Island, you name it. These albanian markets are legit. Was doing some parkour on the fortress taking photos, guns out for harambe, as usual it was basically dessert ed. With a bit of shit talking to the german tourists there. On the way down my mate started dancing in front of one of the mosques, dabbing, whirling, etc, unfortunately there were police in front of the mosque and the call to prayer was started. They gave us laser looks and then asked for documents. They also were wondering if we were from glasgow. They told us to not engage in provocations and I just struggled to maintain composure. I think it's impossible to get arrested in the balkans unless you're a NATO axe murderer. White privledge, apparently still a thing in the 2019 Western Balkans. No complaints.

Final note, bad place for ATM access/ cash machines. Don't know why this is. Be cognizant of the fact lads that if you take the Dinar (macedonian currency out of the country) it's going to be almost impossible to exchange. I had to scour Sofia for a taxi driver at the rail station who was willing to do a black market exchange. I will repeat, the currency sucks and exchange before you leave otherwise you'll probably never find someone to exchange out of country. Also, can't find enough free wifi hotspots. Macedonia seems like a hamlet compared to its neighbors. Can't think of many eastern european capitols cheaper than this place. I feel like a western god here.
So you're a Dragan sockpuppet...
(07-11-2019, 05:43 PM)samifon Wrote: So you're a Dragan sockpuppet...

Just call me Dragan.

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