Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Macedonia has the worst driving I've seen so far. Not all of them but some of them. Bloody idiots.
Right, now the good news. It's a lovely country with wonderful scenery, a fantastic lake and the most surprising city I've come across on this trip.
I spent two nights camping at 'Rino Camping' on Lake Ohrid. The lake is Europe's oldest ( 3 million years) and deepest (300m) and very beautiful. I met two other bikers there. A Belgium guy on this 1980s BMW R80
And an Italian couple on this KTM in the background
The sunrises of the lake were amazing
I took the opportunity to go diving in the lake at an archeological site, where, a few thousand years ago people built houses on stilts. We saw evidence of the wooden stumps underwater and some pieces of pottery, buttons and stone tools. Very, very exciting.
The town of Orhid itself was also very interesting, having a long history going back to the Roman times.
Roman amphitheatre, still used today.
And then I moved on to Skopje. I wasn't sure what to expect but I didn't really expect what I saw.
A huge rebuilding programme has been undertaken in this new country and they like their fountains, wide open spaces and big statues. I found Belgrade to be a little depressed, tied, worn. Skopje was young, enthusiastic, positive, alive.
This is what a new country looks like.
Now a quick word on accommodation. I've been camping quite a bit on this trip and have really enjoyed it. But camping isn't always possible, especially in some of the cities. So I've become a fan on www.booking.com. Yesterday for example, I logged on to booking.com and typed in Skopje and it showed me a range of accommodation from £5 bed in a dorm in a hostel to the most expensive 5* hotels but interestingly and usefully it also lists some 'apartments for rent. These will be small flats near the city centre which you can rent for the night. I'm typing this from one in Skopje.
I have a flat with a garage and it's 5 minutes walk from the centre of town - for £20. I had a chat with the guy who owns it ( his Dad has a BMW 1200GS) and I feel it's better than a hotel. It is a little weird to be sitting on someone's house but I'm experiencing a little ( a very little) of what life is like here. This flat is in an old Communist built building and the outside, stairs, lift etc very much feel like the 1970s, but the apartment is very modern, I have full use of the place, including the kitchen, TV, wifi and Heidi is safely worked in the garage.
Anyway, I thought I'd mention booking com. It makes finding accommodation very easy.