Welcome to the Balkans!

Well we had a very eventful journey to Skopje today. We turned up at the bus station to find the "bus" is in fact a minibus, and chock full, so there's even a passenger sitting shotgun between the driver and his mate in the front seat.

The driver seemed to lose his concentration completely after the first stop (did he have a beer or six perhaps?) and thereafter was completely unable to keep his eyes on the road for more than two minutes. He's look at the scenery to one side, then jerk the steering wheel back to get back in the lane. Then he'd last another thirty seconds before deciding to have a good look at the girl in the middle's tits.

Over the four or so hours of this, we had rather a lot of near misses: either veering off the road into the barriers (where they existed) or into oncoming traffic. Then, of course, there's the ridiculous blind-corner overtaking maneuvers, with several near misses.

Well, if we needed any convincing that we're in the Balkans, this was it! Sofia and Skopje are only 300km apart or so, but the journey took 5.5 hours.

That said, there are advantages to being in the Balkans. The food is better, with kepabci and burek. Then there's the essential Balkan character of the people: fun-loving, charming and light-hearted. Makes a big change from the more stoic, staid attitude of the Eastern Europeans.

So we made it to Skopje. We'll be here a couple of nights and then head down to Lake Ohrid. My phone doesn't work in Macedonia or Albania, so if you need to get in touch in the next couple of weeks, call or text Holly's number.