March 2023.

Back from the Balkans this morning after too much beer, buses and baklava, I’ve got a thousand or so photos to weave into blog posts for you.

Mrs RM has similar ambitions, and once she gets beyond having a blog title I’ll let you know. Don’t expect any Bass in her blog, but she did make use end the trip in an Irish pub.

The exemplar for foreign blogging is, of course, Duncan, who’s just condensed the whole of Paraguay into 322 words.

Let’s look at Skopje, capital of North Macedonia (pop. 1.8 million), formerly part of Yugoslavia as visited by my parents on package tours in the 70s. You remember North Macedonia, the minnows who knocked the European Champions out of the World Cup a year ago;

That’s about all I could tell you about the country. I’d heard, vaguely, of the devastating 1963 earthquake,

but until I visited the city museum yesterday I hadn’t appreciated the scale of it; 80% of Skopje destroyed, which accounts for a rather drab ’60s centre bar the cobbled streets leading to the bazaar.

But that’s half the story. I was also vaguely aware of a great building programme (Skopje 2014) that had left the city with an astonishing number of statues.

Like, statues on statues on statues.

An odd mix of communist officials in suits sitting in desks, family scenes and mythical figures, it really is startling.

Particularly around the centrepiece Stone Bridge, it gives the place the same sort of grandeur you get in, say, Budapest,

and you wonder why folk aren’t flocking here for bargain weekends.

I can only think that the chap at the top reminds prospective visitors of Talos in this film that may have terrified you as a child PRESS PLAY);

That video shows Mrs RM and I running towards a craft beer bar, which is where I head next…


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