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Old 10-10-2013, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,394 posts, read 5,505,698 times
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Skopje Photos From TrekEarth

^ That's a cool site for checking out the visuals of places around the world.

But what are the bigger Balkan cities like the ones mentioned above like? They seem very mysterious to me. A lot of them look what I would think of Eastern Europe as before I had any geographic/political knowledge. They're probably fascinating to the history buffs, a lot of them are quite close to these amazing coastlines, and they are super cheap and easy enough to access- but they're like tourism black holes compared to Italy or France or whatever. I guess Croatia could be a portal in to that, though.

Anyways, looking to check out some of these within the next year. Just looking for stories, input, experience. Whatever anecdotes people have. You can be creative.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse44 View Post
Skopje Photos From TrekEarth

^ That's a cool site for checking out the visuals of places around the world.

But what are the bigger Balkan cities like the ones mentioned above like? They seem very mysterious to me. A lot of them look what I would think of Eastern Europe as before I had any geographic/political knowledge. They're probably fascinating to the history buffs, a lot of them are quite close to these amazing coastlines, and they are super cheap and easy enough to access- but they're like tourism black holes compared to Italy or France or whatever. I guess Croatia could be a portal in to that, though.

Anyways, looking to check out some of these within the next year. Just looking for stories, input, experience. Whatever anecdotes people have. You can be creative.
Most westerners see these cities as party towns but they are so much more. What are your interests?
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:49 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,394 posts, read 5,505,698 times
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Ummmm, food, walking around and observing, hiking, weird museums, anything really. I usually don't even like to party abroad. It eats up the budget quickly and I am the worst person to meet for the first time. I like trying new beers or spirits though.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
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When I was in the military, I was deployed to Skopje for 6 months back in 2001/2002, as a member of KFOR military police during their civil war. I was a fresh-faced 18 year old and my first deployment. I was at Gazela shoe factory--basically an old shoe factory in the industrial section of town which NATO converted into a KFOR operations center. If anyone remembers 2001, Macedonia was THE hot spot in the world until September 11 happened.

I can't believe that was over 10 years ago, and my impression was that it looked and felt like Mexico, especially the Albanian sections of the city. Imagine a Tijuana or Juarez but with the addition of cobblestone streets and not as many shantytowns. Everything is pirated. Extremely cheap, especially the food. Pretty decent nightlife. Very "Eastern bloc-ish", whereas Croatia has a more Mediterranean feel. Don't ever refer to the country as "Macedonia" in the presence of a Greek. They get mad. Refer to it as "FYROM." The hill overlooking the city (I forget the name) is gorgeous.

Of course, it's been over a decade so I imagine things have changed.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan83 View Post
When I was in the military, I was deployed to Skopje for 6 months back in 2001/2002, as a member of KFOR military police during their civil war. I was a fresh-faced 18 year old and my first deployment. I was at Gazela shoe factory--basically an old shoe factory in the industrial section of town which NATO converted into a KFOR operations center. If anyone remembers 2001, Macedonia was THE hot spot in the world until September 11 happened.

I can't believe that was over 10 years ago, and my impression was that it looked and felt like Mexico, especially the Albanian sections of the city. Imagine a Tijuana or Juarez but with the addition of cobblestone streets and not as many shantytowns. Everything is pirated. Extremely cheap, especially the food. Pretty decent nightlife. Very "Eastern bloc-ish", whereas Croatia has a more Mediterranean feel. Don't ever refer to the country as "Macedonia" in the presence of a Greek. They get mad. Refer to it as "FYROM." The hill overlooking the city (I forget the name) is gorgeous.

Of course, it's been over a decade so I imagine things have changed.
Still similar. You may be referring to Vodno (the hill)? There are nice sights around the city, the country is very pretty. Still not in EU which would mean that it is cheaper... Croatia has turned into one of those places that are out of reach...
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
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This sounds awesome. Really excited to visit now. Thanks.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:06 AM
 
502 posts, read 1,124,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan83 View Post
When I was in the military, I was deployed to Skopje for 6 months back in 2001/2002, as a member of KFOR military police during their civil war. I was a fresh-faced 18 year old and my first deployment. I was at Gazela shoe factory--basically an old shoe factory in the industrial section of town which NATO converted into a KFOR operations center. If anyone remembers 2001, Macedonia was THE hot spot in the world until September 11 happened.

I can't believe that was over 10 years ago, and my impression was that it looked and felt like Mexico, especially the Albanian sections of the city. Imagine a Tijuana or Juarez but with the addition of cobblestone streets and not as many shantytowns. Everything is pirated. Extremely cheap, especially the food. Pretty decent nightlife. Very "Eastern bloc-ish", whereas Croatia has a more Mediterranean feel. Don't ever refer to the country as "Macedonia" in the presence of a Greek. They get mad. Refer to it as "FYROM." The hill overlooking the city (I forget the name) is gorgeous.

Of course, it's been over a decade so I imagine things have changed.
not that much, these countries are still very poor, and few tourists go there. It doesn't feel like part of the West, and that goes as well for Romania and Bulgaria, and obviously, Albania. Macedonia used to have a much better living standard under communism, since things have deteriorated. But it is more Balcans than Eastern Europe. If you want to experience the "real" Eastern Europe, better go to Ukraine or Moldova.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by takeo3 View Post
not that much, these countries are still very poor, and few tourists go there. It doesn't feel like part of the West, and that goes as well for Romania and Bulgaria, and obviously, Albania. Macedonia used to have a much better living standard under communism, since things have deteriorated. But it is more Balcans than Eastern Europe. If you want to experience the "real" Eastern Europe, better go to Ukraine or Moldova.
Yes, Macedonia is definitely not eastern europe, non of the ex-Yugoslavia countries are or were.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:52 AM
 
502 posts, read 1,124,571 times
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Macedonian folk in a typical village:


"Mashala" - Melodija - Macedonian Folk Music - YouTube



Macedonia!

It's a bit Eastern Europe, they speak a Slavic language, use cyrillic alphabet, and are Eastern orthodox. But there's also a very big Turkish influence obvious everywhere, also in the music.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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I've been told Belgrade is similar in vibe to Thessaloniki in Greece except for the climate.
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