During training we are allowed to take day and night trips during certain weekends and I have taken advantage of the freedom to travel around the country. I have been to Kratavo, Kriva Palanka, and Skopje.
My first excursion was a day trip to Kratovo which happens to be another volunteer training community. After a coffee break, there was a visit to the Rock Art Centre to see local, handmade crafts and pick up some postcards. To our surprise we were soon invited to drink coffee and eat слатко while learning a bit more about the shop. And before you knew it we were being led on a tour of Kratovo, all in Macedonian. Most of the tour was lost on me but I made sure I was encouraging by sending our wonderful tour guide positive reinforcement. He took us to an old house and a museum, offered us a shot of ракија, and also took us by a friend's house for coffee. This has been one of the many wonderful, hospitable experiences I have had while I have been in this country. Our tour guide also took us into the local church for a look around and of course the place was beautiful. The day was finished up with a bite at a local restaurant and a hike to see the town from afar.
from Skopje - bridge, park, me with Alexander
Крива Паланка to see the city, but more specifically to view the monastery of Saint Joachim Osogovski. It was a perfect day and so the walk out of town and up the hill to the attraction hardly seemed like work. Everything about this place is beautiful - the architecture, landscape, and the frescoes. At the end of the day, it was peaceful just to sit in the cafe, overlooking the valley, and feel the sun warm my face as we ate lunch.
This coming weekend I hope to visit one of the many wineries, if the weather holds out. I have been excited to seize every opportunity I can to see other cities in this country. The only difficulty is that I still lack the language to fully understand everything about where I am going or to ask questions about what I see. Maybe there will be time one day to go back to these places and learn more about what makes them special.