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 Travel: Macedonia 
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Joined: January 16th, 2013, 2:14 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Macedonia
I live in Macedonia, a small country in the heart of the Balkans relatively untouched By tourism. Although we are land locked, Macedonia is comprised of stunning mountainous scenery, beautiful lakes and quaint little rural villages with old tumbling down houses with their terracotta roofs. There is an abundance of churches and monasteries steeped in ancient architecture and history, along with other archaeological sites in various stages of excavation. If you like off the beaten track places to visit then you will love Macedonia.

Here is some more info: Have a look the the photo gallery too.

Macedonia's main industry is tobacco farming, especially in the areas around Prilep ( where we live ) and if you come in the summer you will see the field workers hard at work in the tobacco fields. Unfortunately, standards of living here can be poor, especially for the farmers who often make their children work for them during the harvest. My husband met a little girl once in one of the fields ( we also have some land which we farm for food ) and she told him she was looking for a bee to sting her hand so she didn't have to work. There are charities working here to improve the standards, like the American Peace Corps, who educate people on things like equal women's rights, human trafficking, child labor ect and the standards are improving somewhat, especially within the towns and cities, but not so much in the rural villages. There is also a problem with the Roma gypsies who are discriminated against but also live in a culture where the children get sent out by the parents to beg for money and often also pickpocket instead of going to school, so they grow up without an education giving them more of a bad reputation as uneducated, untrustworthy, poor and often dirty people dressed in rags, which just makes it all the more difficult for a young Roma person who wants to better themselves to break out of the societal constraints. School is supposed to be mandatory but the authorities are all corrupt, nothing works properly, nothing is enforced and the children fall through the gaping holes in the system.

But that's not something you have to deal with if you are just coming for a holiday. If you have a look at the link it has good travel information there and lots of stunning pictures to entice you in! I would add though, that you can now get cheap flights from Luton to Skopje with Wizz air, not the best airline, in fact it's the worst i'v been on but it's cheap and fly's direct! I would also advise not flying to Albania or Kosovo, as the site recommends, they are not the safest places to be wandering around, especially Kosovo. Macedonia sometimes has problems flaring up in the Albanian villages around the Albania/Kosovo border, thats where all the dodgy stuff happens like human trafficking ect. I once watched a documentary about unmarked illegal guns being made in Russia, coming to Albania and being distributed by the Albanian mafia to the UK and other places around the world. So it's probably best to avoid those areas. But Macedonia is a safe place to visit. I live here and i'v never seen anything bad happen and certainly since the war ended in 2001 things have been peaceful here.

I could talk all day about Macedonia and i'd be happy to if anyone is interested. If not, have a look at the link, maybe it's somewhere you would like to go. It's certainly an incredibly beautiful place to visit.
Also, if there is anyone else who lives abroad i'd be interested to know where about and what you think of it, how it's different from the UK ect. People here are very religious, especially young people ( which i find is the opposite in the UK) who i often see wearing those Jesus bracelets and crossing themselves going into and out of churches. Iv even seen people leaving the church walking backwards as supposedly God doesn't like it if you turn your back on him!

January 22nd, 2013, 10:43 am
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Joined: November 20th, 2008, 6:40 pm
Posts: 4211
Location: Beautiful Ayrshire
There was a line in a TV programme the other night, where a charactrer phoned his work partner who was holidaying in the Balkans. UK man asks, "what's the time difference over there?"
"Oh!" his friend replies, "about a centuary!"

about sums it up. At times you even feel you are in Medieval Europe-mountain villages-devoid of any electricity- accessed by dirt tracks, with hens, dogs and donkeys wandering around the streets and old, black clad women toiling in the fields with unrecognisable wooden impliments. And the tiny village church, lit only with candles, with alarmingly brutal images of Boche-like torture on the frecoed walls.

Get there quick, before it changes!

(there are also all the usual modern conveniences in the bigger towns (all 3 of them!). The whole of Prelip town centre is WiFi-ed. You can sit anywhere ane access the interweb

I'll just go and collect my payment from the tourist board.......

David Bowie: "Ageing like a Golden God"

February 1st, 2013, 10:57 pm
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