Of the many things I’ve noticed while in Skopje, one of the most interesting is the low cost of living here. For such an upbeat and cool city, I’d expect things to cost far more than they do. An average meal costs about $4 (a 5-star meal costs ~$6), coffee is always between $0.90 and $1.70, and apartment rent can begin at $150. I guess the low prices are one of the benefits of being a less-touristy, less-developed country. And, there are no major tradeoffs for the cheapness! The quality of living life here is great, and I feel just as safe (if not safer) in my neighborhood here than I do in Ann Arbor or my hometown, Birmingham, AL.
Speaking of crazy cheap prices, public transportation appears to be a lifesaver for traveling through the Balkans. For the equivalent of $0.57 USD, I was able to take a 45-minute bus to Matka over the weekend.
If you can’t tell by the pictures, Matka is an unbelievably gorgeous canyon that you can walk through. If you ever travel to Macedonia, I’d definitely recommend traveling to Matka and roaming the area (just a tip: don’t travel across the lake for a few cents to hike to St. Nikola Monastery, as enticing as it sounds. The only trail we could spot was a bug-infested desire line, so you and your hiking buddy will have to pick 20 caterpillars off of each other within the first 5 minutes. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to the top!).
My time here, within and separate from my internship, has been full of adventure. Whether it’s been through attending a Youth workshop at a local Skopje hotel, wandering the streets of the city center, or chatting about politics with a local barista, I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I love working with Subversive Front, and I’m nothing but excited for whatever’s coming next.