Tuesday 11 September 2018

(March 27, 2018) A day in Skopje, Macedonia

We had breakfast at our hotel in Skopje, Macedonia, and then a large group of us took the bus into town to the Old Bazaar, where we split up into smaller groups and explored for a few hours on our own.  I wandered around with fellow cellist George Shipley and his wife Veda-- we enjoyed some wonderful Turkish coffee, and found a small jewellery shop where I purchased a beautiful pair of handmade silver filigree earrings.

The Old Bazaar in Skopje

One of many antique shops

A street musician

Alexander the Great

City square

Veda making a deal with a "Ray-Ban" seller...

Having a lovely time with George & Veda

 The three of us had lunch together in the circular pedestrian plaza, right near a giant statue of Alexander the Great.  After a delicious lunch, we walked back to our hotel, and admired the massive number of statues and public art along the way.  We walked along the river, past the opera and ballet house.  One of several pedestrian bridges along the way had about a dozen statues, each one commemorating a Macedonian poet, author, musician, or composer.  There were several composers (all of whom died in the past 30 years or so), whom I'd never heard of.  I will have to look them up.

One of many bridges...

A bridge of writers and composers


Outside the Opera & Ballet House

The sun has come out now, and it's warmed up a bit-- we're back at the hotel for a short break before evening rehearsal.  Our hotel room overlooks a busy boulevard, and a giant Macedonian flag.  Earlier, while walking back here, we saw the strange juxtaposition of a man with a horse-drawn wagon crossing a busy highway near our hotel.  That is just the sort of interesting place that Macedonia seems to be-- modern technology existing alongside older traditions.

Horse-drawn wagon crossing the highway

(Later): We had an evening orchestra rehearsal at the university-- the same space I remember rehearsing in six years ago, on the last WCSO tour.  After rehearsal, a few of us went for dinner at a local craft beer restaurant.  Apparently, it's the first craft brewery in Macedonia, and it opened in 2015.  After a short walk to the bridge with all the statues of Macedonian writers and composers, we got back on the bus to our hotel.  Tomorrow is another long day of road travel.

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