Jumping Back In

In September 2015, I’m headed to Eastern Europe, to a small country called The Republic of Macedonia. (The Greeks refer to it as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.) It is located north of Greece, between Albania on the west, and Bulgaria on the east. It’s northern area borders Kosovo and Serbia. It is mountainous with a valley where the Vardar River flows. It is the southernmost region of the former Yugoslavia, where most of the wine of Yugoslavia was produced.

Macedonian is the language spoken by the majority, and Albanian by the Albanian ethnic minority, mostly concentrated in the western part of the country. There are five other languages recognized officially by Macedonia. Peace Corps volunteers are taught Macedonian, with a few volunteers who are assigned to sites in the west learning Albanian also.

When I left Greece 40 years ago, I traveled through Yugoslavia on my way to America. I remember it being incredibly beautiful, with excellent wine and warm friendly people. The area is historically and culturally rich, with plenty of old sites to visit, music and dance, and food to expand my cooking/eating repertoire. I’m really looking forward to this new chapter in my Peace Corps experience.

Here are some pictures that got me very excited:

http://macedonia.for91days.com/

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7 thoughts on “Jumping Back In

  1. Excellent, I”m so excited for you. In 1990 I was in Yugoslavia, and visited the cities and towns of Dubrovink and Split in Croatia, then inland into Bosnia to Mostar and Medugorje. Everyone was very nice, if not a bit tense, as it was the beginning of the war. I feel grateful to have been able to see places that were subsequently bombed severely later. This will be a great experience.

  2. Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you for this, very exciting! 91 Days in Macedonia is not enough! It seems fascinating and beautiful. I just now realized I have technically been to Macedonia when you described it’s location. I had looked at it on the map and still had not computed until now that without a doubt I traveled through it in the end of April 1972 enroute to Greece. We had hitch hiked from Amsterdam for a number of days through Germany, Austria and what was then Yugoslavia to reach Thessaloniki. Of course, back then, it was just all Yugoslavia to us. We knew nothing of the various states and cultures of Yugolslavia. I remember Zagreb (Croatia) in the north, very beautiful. We were stuck in Belgrade, which was by far the most hitchhiker-unfriendly place we landed. However we were struck by the beauty of the Yugoslavian countryside everywhere and met some lovely people. We finally got to the city of Nis (southern Serbia) and at that point decided to take a train the rest of the way into Thessaloniki, which was cheap and it had to be through Macedonia because we definitely did not pass through Bulgaria. Arriving in Thessaloniki and to the hopsitable and warm Greek people was mana from heaven. We stayed in the youth hostel there for a few nights and then continued to Athens and Delhi before going to the islands for over two months. We didn’t get to Turkey until about the end of July. Wish I could remember it day by day, but I don’t now very well, but like you the signifance of that time in my life is utterly profound.

    I am very excited for you!

    With thanks and love,

    Wayne Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:57:29 +0000 To: hellowayne@hotmail.com

  3. I was only in Dubrovnik in ’75 on a quick jaunt from Italy where I was living then. It was beautiful, and I always felt I should have spent more time there.

  4. Hi there, thanks for following/sharing my blog! I think it’s great that you’re serving again after getting your service interrupted the first time. Hope it’s an amazing experience. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Matt

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