It’s a new world and a new type of traveling. For the next 100 days, I’m exploring Macedonia and Albania as safely as possible. It’s Day #15 of 100 Days of Travel and I’m back in Prilep. It’s dumping buckets of rain, so it’s the perfect time to recap my first two weeks of travel in Macedonia – and do some laundry.
Where I’ve Been
After staying in one place for nearly six months, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of travel. After a week-long self-imposed isolation in Skopje, I spent five days exploring the brutal architecture and street art of the city along with two full hikes in the nearby Matka Canyon. I also found some time to cast a ballot in the US elections.
After that it was off to Prilep, a small city that became an ideal base for exploring the central mountains of Pelagonia.
Macedonians struggle with wearing masks correctly, especially in public, so I’m not surprised to see COVID-19 cases rising. When I arrived, the number of cases per 100,000 for the previous two weeks had been sitting comfortable at a reasonable 5.8, but after two weeks it has started to edge up into the 7-8 region. The bulk of cases are centered around Skopje so I’m definitely happy to get out of the capital.
Coming from Spain, my anxiety was already set at a high bar, so I’m trying to dial it back down and start to at least engage socially when safe. Here’s an article I wrote during the first week about the precautions I’m trying to take while traveling during COVID-19.
How I’m Traveling
My First Train Trip in Macedonia!
I went back and forth on renting a car, but eventually settled on short trips via the bus and train. The additional cost, environmental impact, lack of parking, and unfamiliarity with the country outweighed the negligible risk of public transportation. If the COVID risk keeps rising, I may still look into a car rental.
How Much Am I Spending
After two weeks, I’m still well within my standard budget of $50 USD per day ($1500 a month). This amount covers a small apartment/studio per night ($15-$25 USD), dinner or lunch in a restaurant every day ($4-7 USD), and my transportation costs ($6-$10 USD per week).
Where I’m Heading
Next up is Bitola and Ohrid along with planned visits to Pelister and Galichitsa National Parks. Hopefully, the weather will continue to cooperate and I can see some of the autumn colors of this country.