March 2023.

Day 2 in North Macedonia; time for a day trip. This was the point where we realised we should have flown in to Skopje and home from Pristina or Trirana, with the most interesting excursions some way off.

So we settled for a city of 50,000 an hour way to contrast with the capital.

Tetovo seemed interesting, if only for the post-war population trends;

Two-third Albanian Muslim, surely a hotbed of craft beer ?

Wikipedia was less effusive;

Despite the interest of private companies in Tetovo, the city is neglected by the government. Tetovo suffers from urban sprawl. Due to the lack of government regulations, the city has no system for building permits, and many houses and buildings have been built unsafely and randomly along footpaths, roads and in parks. Air pollution levels are among the highest in Europe.”

Anyway, regular bus trips there, and possibly back. I only needed two double espressos from Skopje Bus Station’s bus-side counter.

That wiring display was one of the safer looking ones of the trip.

An hour later we arrive in a town at the foot of some impressive looking ski slopes, and join everyone else (a dozen at most) in decanting at the Mercure.

Which is a daft move, as the Mercure ISN’T the Bus Station we’ll need to find to return to Skopje, and we suddenly realise we’re in a town we don’t know with no tourist facilities and no internet to direct us.

At last. Some mild peril. Until the first cafe (Sach), once we get past a row of traders selling live chickens, has perfect WiFi, English speaking staff and coffee.

So we can then navigate ourselves via a dozen gaming shops to the riverside, home to what looks like a papier mache Covid cell,

and the painted mosque (top), which is all you come to Tetovo for.

Unless you’re a sad person like me who enjoys angry models of children wearing branded sportswear.

It’s a scruffy place, bar the row of gold shop leading to the centre. The one remotely beery place in town (Bure Barat) is the only place closed (typical micro), so we take the last option before the bus station.

Punto Verde has bench seating,

a menu with pictures,

and the best Italian food I’ve had in years.

But as you’ll see from the bill, we rather blew the budget on a 75cl bottle of (wonderful) Macedonian Alexandria wine.

A big one” asks the waiter ? They sell those little bottles of wine as well. No-one else was drinking anything but coke.

YES ! A big bottle !” said Mrs RM.


  1. “A town we don’t know with no tourist facilities.” Reminds me of my visit to China (Guangzhou)!

    Some interesting places, and full marks to you both for venturing far from the normal tourist parts of the Balkans. Wasn’t North Macedonia once part of Yugoslavia? Or do I need to brush up on my history/geography of the region?


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