Relaxed in the totally empty luxurious sleeping wagon, I start making plans what shell I visit. Soon i got bored and decided to make myself busy with the book "the magic of Belgrade". Before i even finish 15 pages i heard loud sound coming from the breaks. The train from Belgrade has reached Skopje railway station at 9:30am.
Regardless of the fact that I did not book accommodation in advance, I took a taxi towards Mother Theresa Str. 22. During my last day in Belgrade i have read the reviews on www.hostelworld.com. Hence, I stumble upon "the urban hostel" located on that address. Three floors luxurious private own house welcomed me with a small but well maintained lawn and huge living room. There was piano corner, even stove oven with comfy couch in front of it.
Skopje leaves me with very mixed feelings. I was walking around the downtown for hours and still had hard time to discover what is the face of this ancient city. Skpoje is divided by Vardar river. From the one western site of the river bank are located built by Byzantines in 14 century massive fortress, the bazaar designed by Turkish occupation and surrounded by the minarets of tens mosques. On the other side of the river is the new center. Looking rather charmless till 2011, now is hard to recognize. The new government has very ambitious plan to find new identity of skopje and Macedonia. The old square republic accommodates the obelisks of Alexander the great, the roman imperator Justinian I, the Bilgarian king Samuil, the Bulgarian brothers inventors of the Cyrillic alphabet Kiril & Methodius, and many others famous people. Along the river bank you can see new administrative buildings growing like mushrooms. City library, new city theater called "old theater", etc. Each building is I different architectural style. You can see everything from old roman, then baroque, to new modernism. Maybe only Gothic is missing...yet. The old and new city centers located on the across banks of Vardar river are connected by 700 years old stone bridge, the bridge between the past and the future as I was told.
Speaking of future I am shocked by the billions of euro invested to the past but not to offer something for the future of the youth. Talking to some of the locals I understood that the avg salary is about 200 euro, huge unemployment is ruling, and the taxes leave Peale only with max 50% from what the earn.
Exhausted from the long walk I return to the urban hostel for a nap