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Macadonia Elections & traveling around

Hi Lightstalkers,

I will go to in two weeks to Macadonia, to help with Election Observations for their parliamentary elections on 5th of july. This is ofcourse a great oppurtunity to photograph as well!

I was wondering if you ppl can give me some advices about the country, safty, the traveling, some interesting subjects to follow and stuff like that. Is traintraveling expensive (I’m a student), hotels/hostels availible.

I will stay in Macadonia from 2nd till 17th or 24th of July, the first week will be for the elections and the other one/two I want to travel around, maybe also go to Albania.

by Emiel Elgersma at 2006-06-21 11:38:10 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Utrecht , Netherlands | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Macedonia is a very nice and safe country if a bit on the expensive side (like most post-Yugoslavia countries). The bus services are reliable and efficient. They are probably the cheapest way to get around. There’s a hostel in Skopje that (at least in Oct) charged the equivalent of 30 euro/night (according to some backpackers that I met in Ohrid). I would suggest taking a look at the InYourPocket Skopje (http://www.inyourpocket.com/macedonia/skopje/en/) for some suggestions while there. Also, you’ll most likely be approached by people renting rooms out. In Ohrid, I found a single room with a lakeside view, hot shower, and cable for 15E/night. I’m sure it’ll similar in other towns. I spent about 30-35E/day in Ohrid, but it was also the off-season. I didn’t have the chance to stay in the other towns. If you need tips for Albania feel free to send an email, I was there in Sept-Nov as well.

by Jordan Mendenhall | 23 Jun 2006 00:06 | Chapel Hill, United States | | Report spam→
Macedonia is a very nice and safe country if a bit on the expensive side (like most post-Yugoslavia countries). The bus services are reliable and efficient. They are probably the cheapest way to get around. There’s a hostel in Skopje that (at least in Oct) charged the equivalent of 30 euro/night (according to some backpackers that I met in Ohrid). I would suggest taking a look at the InYourPocket Skopje (http://www.inyourpocket.com/macedonia/skopje/en/) for some suggestions while there. Also, you’ll most likely be approached by people renting rooms out. In Ohrid, I found a single room with a lakeside view, hot shower, and cable for 15E/night. I’m sure it’ll similar in other towns. I spent about 30-35E/day in Ohrid, but it was also the off-season. I didn’t have the chance to stay in the other towns. If you need tips for Albania feel free to send an email, I was there in Sept-Nov as well.

by Jordan Mendenhall | 23 Jun 2006 00:06 | Chapel Hill, United States | | Report spam→
Macedonia can be cheap. Transportation is fairly cheap, food can be and some rooms. Stay away from the western type restaurants and bars if you want to save money. You can easliy have a decent meal for 2-3 dollars if you look around. Stay away from the hostels. They are just as expensive as a hotel. In some of the more touristy areas and bigger towns, you can find some rooms for rent and smaller hotels for around $5-10 a night. Ohrid is perhaps one of the best place to see in Macedonia. Ohrid is also your best and easiest option for getting into Albania, if you chose so. I would recommend Albania if you have time. Now, Albania does have a tendency to be a little on the expensive side, but can be done cheaply as a student if you look around hard enough. Transportation is cheap and food also, again if you stay away from the western like establishments. Try Qfte in Macedonia it’s great….In Albania visit Berat, Gjirokaster and/or Saranda if you have time. Tirana is worth a look if you have time, or if you heading to the airport or to the countries north of Albania. Take care and have fun. I’m jealous.

by Robbie Hammer | 23 Jun 2006 03:06 | Arkansas, United States | | Report spam→
Macedonia can be cheap. Transportation is fairly cheap, food can be and some rooms. Stay away from the western type restaurants and bars if you want to save money. You can easliy have a decent meal for 2-3 dollars if you look around. Stay away from the hostels. They are just as expensive as a hotel. In some of the more touristy areas and bigger towns, you can find some rooms for rent and smaller hotels for around $5-10 a night. Ohrid is perhaps one of the best place to see in Macedonia. Ohrid is also your best and easiest option for getting into Albania, if you chose so. I would recommend Albania if you have time. Now, Albania does have a tendency to be a little on the expensive side, but can be done cheaply as a student if you look around hard enough. Transportation is cheap and food also, again if you stay away from the western like establishments. Try Qfte in Macedonia it’s great….In Albania visit Berat, Gjirokaster and/or Saranda if you have time. Tirana is worth a look if you have time, or if you heading to the airport or to the countries north of Albania. Take care and have fun. I’m jealous.

by Robbie Hammer | 23 Jun 2006 03:06 | Arkansas, United States | | Report spam→
Wow, what’s with the double posting? Anyways…

I won’t deny that you can find cheap eats and rooms in Macedonia as I’m sure they’re there to be had. I thought 15 euro/night was cheap for whatI got in Ohrid. Do stay away from those YHA hostels as Robbie said as I think the one in Ohrid is equally expensive. Not sure what you want to do after the election but here’s some interesting places you can put on your list:

-Ohrid – beautiful tectonic lake, deepest in Europe (?)
-Tetovo – Albanian minority home
-Monasteries – tons of these to visit; check a LP or Blue Guide for info

I would disagree with Robbie on Albania. It was cheaper than Macedonia, usually around US$10/night to stay somewhere. Food, bought fresh from a market, or even at a restaurant, should never be more than 5-10 for the day. Albania is a great place, very friendly people, though not so much in Bajram Curri, where they still have a bit of criminal activity going on. Everywhere else I went was nice and perfectly safe (if a bit dark at night b/c of the lack of electricity). Bring a flashlight and a sense of humor and you’ll be good.

by Jordan Mendenhall | 23 Jun 2006 04:06 | Chapel Hill, United States | | Report spam→
I booked my flight to Orid, so I will be there for sure :) And yes I’m also thinking of going to Albania.
The darkness I was told of by a guy from western-albania, a student. He told me that he first writes everything on paper, and then on his computer because paper is much saver :P should be an nice adventure. I will try to get some books this weekend.

Anybody try to sleep with locals on the countryside? They want money/food/anything? How about languages?

Thanks all!

by Emiel Elgersma | 23 Jun 2006 08:06 | Utrecht, Netherlands | | Report spam→
In the north of Albania (at least on the coastal side) they tend to speak Albanian, Italian and maybe a little English. In the south they speak Albanian and some Greek. In Tirana, you’ll find more English-speaking people. In Macedonian, they speak Macedonian, except for the heavily Albanian northwest around Tetovo and Skopje where you’ll probably run into people speaking both. Macedonians tend to speak English more than Albanians. In Macedonia, they use a different version of the Cyrillic alphabet than the Russian but they also transliterate signs into the roman alphabet.

I stayed at hotels throughout Albania or in rooms that people let out. Usually very nice refurbished even if the buildings look a bit down-trodden. Expect to pay about US$10 in Albania and somewhere b/w US$10-20 in Macedonia. You can probably do some bargaining but remember it’s high tourist season in Ohrid and elsewhere.

Shouldn’t have a problem with electricity in Macedonia. In Albania, it was more of a controlled blackout situation so you can time (usually) when it was going to go out and come back on. Kosova is a different story as in Pristina and elsewhere it would go out randomly.

Pick up the Bradt Guide to Albania if you plan on staying there long, it’s rather useful.

by Jordan Mendenhall | 23 Jun 2006 13:06 | Chapel Hill, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Emiel Elgersma, Freelance journalist Emiel Elgersma
Freelance journalist
(photo, video, text)
Groblersdal , South Africa
Jordan Mendenhall, Still looking Jordan Mendenhall
Still looking
North Carolina , United States
Robbie Hammer, Photojournalist Robbie Hammer
Photojournalist
Arlington, Va , Afghanistan


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