Escape from Skopje
When I woke up, the first order of business was figuring out how to leave Skopje. My rough sketch of an itinerary looked like this: Skopje -> Some city in Montenegro -> Dubrovnik. The problem, as I soon learned, is that travel in the Balkans is far from straightforward. From what I gather, there are many private bus companies in Macedonia in addition to a public bus service. No one knows the schedule for anyone else's buses, and any information found on the internet bears little resemblance to reality. The only way to sort this out was to walk to the bus station and ask around, so that is what I did.
Here is the single photo I took of the Muslim quarter. A large section of the Muslim quarter is paved with stones like these, and no cars are allowed. This is one of the wider streets. Many of the streets are no more than glorified alleys, and very few of them are marked.
As I retraced my route from yesterday back to the bus station, I passed this fountain is dedicated to Alexander the Great. There are four colossal statues, including one of Alexander's pregnant mother and this closeup of Alexander breastfeeding.
I crossed the Stone Bridge to Macedonia Square, which was almost empty in the morning. The statue of the Warrior on a Horse (which may or may not be Alexander the Great) is front and center.
Here is the Stone Bridge, with a scupture of the Boatmen of Thessaloniki in the foreground.
Here we have some architecture from the iron curtain era.
Here are the new bridges with Macedonian heroes in the daylight.
And here are some of the new buildings along the Varder.
When I got to the bus station, I asked around about buses to Montenegro. Some of the private companies either did not have any buses at all or none until tomorrow. There was a overnight public bus to Podgorica which left sometime around 2100. There was also the possiblity of taking a bus to Pristina, Kosovo and figuring it out from there. For whatever reason, I was itching to get out of Skopje, so I asked when the next bus was to Ohrid, a historic town on Lake Ohrid which I had read was beautiful and is a favorite vacation spot for Macedonians. It turned out that there was a bus in ten minutes, so I bought a ticket, grabbed some food from the nearby convenience store, and hopped aboard.