Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 4: Macedonia

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here

October 13 – Skopje, Macedonia
Side story: When I went through security in Wroclaw, Poland, I was using the black bag on wheels as a carry-on with my backpack inside it. I had foodstuffs for Dave and Anora but didn’t think much of it. When it went through the x-ray they pulled me over to examine it. He starts going through the bag. He pulls out the Kindle in red case and I said, “it’s a kindle.” A little later, he pulls out the other Kindle, and I said, “that’s another Kindle,” and then “I like to read.” He smiled. Finished checking and let me go. Thought it was funny regarding the 2 kindles.
October 13 – Skopje, Macedonia
We arrived today in Skopje and it was nice and sunny. Philip picked us up and drove us into town, where we parked and walked to meet his wife Lynn and a lady visiting on a vision trip- Julianne (who also happens to be the sister of a lady I’ve scrapbooked with – Andrea). He gave us some history and there were statues of Alexander the Great and his father Philip. We walked on a stone bridge from the 7th century.
7th century stone bridge

Macedonian lunch
They took us to lunch in Old Town and had a typical Macedonian meal – sausage (called kebab) and bread with spicy peppers. And salad that was different but very good. Tomatoes, cucumbers and a white cheese (Bulgarian goat cheese) – called shopska. Then Philip took us over to another missionary’s home where Jono talked with the mom and her 3 kids (15, 12, and 10) about Internet safety. He did a great job! Then she took us to our hotel where we are hanging out until Philip comes to talk us to their place for dinner.
October 14 – Skopje, Macedonia
Enjoyed dinner at the Jacksons last night. Lynn’s parents were there. They were missionaries in Costa Rica for many years.
Dinner with Jacksons and Buttemeres

Today we had breakfast with Cindy Y and tried to help with her husband’s computer (he was sick and couldn’t be there). Then Philip picked us up and we headed over to his house to help with some computer issues there. Then he dropped us off downtown and we walked around Old Town and got some souvenirs and ate lunch. That is, we ordered lunch but by the time it came we had to leave to meet back up with Philip, so we had them wrap it, paid and walked at a quick pace back to where we’d arranged to meet Philip (did not have a phone to call him).

Old Town
Philip took us and Julianne up the mountain (Vodno) to where we rode a cable car to the top – with a spectacular view overlooking Skopje. On the other side was more of Macedonia. We took a few minutes to pray for the city.  Then rode back down the cable car and then drove a very winding, narrow road down the mountain and then over to a canyon Matka. Gorgeous canyon with a river (lake). We walked through taking pictures and then on the way back to the car we stopped for some coffee. There was a church there – St. Andrews (after the apostle) from 1389. Orthodox is the religion of Macedonians (nominal). There are also Albanians in Macedonia who are Muslim – the two groups do not like each other. A third group is the Roma (gypsy), which nobody likes.

On Mount Vodno overlooking Skopje
Philip then dropped us off near the restaurant Enricko for dinner. We had probably the best pizza I’ve had in my life! Then we looked for a taxi and not finding one we went into a gas station and asked them to call one. He took us back to the hotel and we are taking a breath before heading back out to a Macedonian Bible study.

Canyon Matka
October 15 – Skopje, Macedonia
Bible Study in Skopje
The Bible study last night was great! Everyone there spoke some English, so Jono gave his testimony without a translator. Then the leader did the study in Macedonian and Philip translated. It was great to meet some of the believers in Macedonia.
SEND missionaries
Jono helping Riddells
This morning at the breakfast in the hotel, Cindy came down (they are currently also at the hotel) and Michael was feeling better, so came and met us. Then Philip and Lynn came by to say goodbye and the Riddells came too. We chatted a bit then prayed and said goodbye. We walked back to Ron and Lisa Riddell’s with them. Jono was then able to help with several questions that Ron had.  We then went to Enricko for lunch with them and had some more of the delicious pizza. Also had shopska (the salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and sirenje cheese). They also got us desserts that were crepes with chocolate, nuts and whipped cream. Very good! They then took us back to our hotel, showing us a restaurant within walking distance. Now we relax, eat dinner, go to bed and get up at 1:30 am to head to the airport for our 3-leg journey home.
What an amazing trip!
October 16 – Airplane in Frankfurt, Germany
Well, we never made it out to the restaurant last night. I was too sleepy and neither of us was hungry after our big lunch. We went to bed around 5 pm. I slept fairly well, though Jono had a hard time.
The hotel got a taxi for us that arrived at 2:30 am and took us to the airport. We made our connection in Vienna (only an hour layover) and also our connection in Frankfurt. Now sitting on the plane ready to leave for Detroit.
 

Heading home
October 17 – Home: Southfield, MI
We made it back home with all our luggage. What an amazing trip!
One story I forgot to write down that happened in Slovenia:

We were walking through Ljubljana and Chris mentioned down a street was a Bengali restaurant. A man on a bike was passing and said that he was the chef for that restaurant. So I spoke some Bengali (Apnar nom ke – or something like that). He responded in Bengali but more than I understood. So I told him I only knew very little – a couple phrases. It was so neat to have that encounter! Perhaps the Jones will be able to follow-up and develop a relationship there.
Bangladesh Coffee Bar in Slovenia
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