March 2023.

Mrs RM is about to launch her new blog/Instagram/rucksack brand called “One small bag“. It is absolutely vital you spell that last word correctly.

She’s been working daft hours of late, so these trips to the Balkans this year are her reward, and I’m not to say she should have saved the planet and took the train. Or swum.

Last month, Greece, now North Macedonia and Kosovo.

Will we find the next Budapest ? Or an unmarked Bass outlet ? Or just baklava ?

All will be revealed, but obviously every great trip starts in the mid-stay car park in Luton Airport, where having arrived the statutory 3 hours early we’re notified that due to the French air controllers strike we’ll be leaving 3 hours late. Do the math.

In fairness, Luton isn’t a bad airport, plenty of seating, and two spacious “pubs”.

Sadly, the IPA handpump STILL wasn’t working in the Smithfield, so we did do the diner at Big Smoke, from the craft hotbed of Surbiton.

Big Smoke had retired their handpump in solidarity with Greene King, but in fairness their Electric Eye and Medicine Man were pretty good as long as you don’t ask the price. Coffee there was the better deal.

We could have eaten there but with five hours left to kill we left it a while before heading to Pret for a tray full of stodge.

It was the last thing we ate for 19 hours so just as well it was stodge.

The captain of our Whizz Air flight have a lengthy and rousing speech explaining the delay was all the French’s fault, to huge cheers from an almost exclusively Macedonian audience.

He (apparently) made up a bit of time in the flight by finding a sixth gear or whatever planes use, and we actually arrived at Skopje only a couple of hours behind schedule, to be met by a taxi driver from Urban Serviced Appartments at Arrivals holding an A4 page saying “Martin Taylor“. I felt grown up.

25 minutes later we were here;

Luckily the apartments (99 euros for 3 nights) were rather more alluring. I’m sure Mrs RM’s blog will include all those interior shots you crave.

It was almost midnight when we’d logged into the (excellent) WiFi, so my chances of a first Bass of the trip were slim, but I did take a quick look to see where on earth we’d been dumped.

Five minutes from the biggest shopping centre in the Balkans (says our taxi driver), six from the bus station, a dozen from the start of old town.and a row of book shops along the river.

And the sculptures.

Blimey. I’ve never seen so many sculptures. They’ll get their own post.

But a late night pub ? Not a chance.

That would have to wait till 10 (GMT) the next morning.


    1. Christine spent an afternoon in January looking at Whizz Air (budget Hungarian airline) schedules and finding the cheapest flights to countries we hadn’t been to. Estonia and Lithuania to come.


      1. When Mrs B had her Cake Empire, she made a huge cake for Whizz Air to celebrate their flying out of Bristol Airport.


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