Thursday, 10 September 2015

17th - 19th August: nearly to Albania

Hospitality here in Macedonia is interesting. I experienced mostly the hearty, intense welcome I had met in Serbia, only sometimes the blank-faced distant reception I found in Bulgaria in the past (though this time friendliness there had improved drastically compared to my last visit 5 years ago). I have come across several people who tried ripping me off, would charge overly high prices, or give wrong information as they couldn’t be bothered, but more often the people I met showed genuine care and were really lovely and helpful; thus I received free bus and taxi rides and extra-free vegetables at the market. I think my attempts to speak in Macedonian (or rather a very basic Serbian) impressed and opened doors.

My furthest venture this time took me to Radožda, the last village before the Albanian border. Curiosity did tickle me to pop over and explore just a little bit on the other side of the border to this exotic country, of which I don’t know any language or anything else apart from one song. However, complicated border controls, and a different currency yet again made me go no further. I only watched the lonely Albanian seagull, which had probably illegally flown over into Macedonian waters.

Radožda is a small fishing village, a very pretty, non-touristic place - on first impression one would think only men live there, they gathered in various corners and alleyways for tee and chat. Only after looking very closely, I did see one woman inside the house, working, and then another one with her kid…

Automatically I became again the opposite of a tourist attraction, an exotic walking statue for the ‘sightseeing’ of the residents.

The only spot which was occasionally sought out by visitors is the St Archangel Michel cave church, a little chapel built into the rock, unfortunately locked all the time it seems, so nobody I met ever saw the inside. The day finished on one of the lonely beautiful beaches…

And my trip ends there as well. I do not look forward to the cold and damp, and London’s capitalistic attitude, neither giving up the freedom of travelling, and exploring new places.

I’m however, very much looking forward to work through my newly collected music, indulge into listening, figuring out how to translate the intricate Macedonian brass embellishments to my violin, and bringing some great Macedonians tunes back to London, which are not known there yet…  

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