After returning from Kosovo with Cecelia, I went and picked up Aryn for our trip to Kruševo. This is known as the highest town in the Balkans. It is supposed to be about a 2.5 to 3 hour trip and I think it was. It was just much later than I originally anticipated. The GPS that I was supposed to be able to use doesn’t work very well on a curvy mountain town, and the hotel didn’t give very good directions. After about 30 minutes or more of driving around in circles we finally found the hotel. The lady complained about us being late, but ushered us up into room and bid us good night. The hotel was Casa or Villa la Kola where I had a free night’s stay due to a raffle with the International Woman’s Association. However, if you are wanting a weekend away from Skopje I recommend going to Kruševo, beautiful town and very relaxing.
After collapsing in bed and sleeping for a long time, we woke up to go exploring. The first thing Aryn wanted to do was to go buy her return bus ticket, so we walked to the bus station to get her on the 3:30 bus home. Then it was up to the top of the town where the Ilinden monument and the Tose museum were located. We came across the Tose Museum before the other monument, so we decided to go there first.
Tose Proeski was a singer from this town who became famous throughout the Balkan area and most of Eastern Europe. He was once dubbed the “Elvis Presley of the Balkans” by the BBC. He died in 2007 in a car crash in Croatia and has since become a cult legend. Someone built a memorial house to him (that is in the shape of a cross, by the way) in his hometown. It looks like they basically took his ENTIRE apartment and put it in a museum. And then made some wax figures of him doing stuff and put them in it too. However, that said. It was the most well done museum in Macedonia. It was totally handicap accessible, the first place that I had seen in MK that was like this. The museum was very well organized and very well done. There were signs next to every little thing. They had a set up for his recording studio, his concert, his living room. In the recording studio they had a wax figure of him…wait for it…dressed in an adidas red three stripe track suit (this will only be funny to you if you have lived in Europe). About the time I discovered the living room, it started to get creepy. This is when I realized that they took his whole house and left only his clothing out. They even had his passport and computer.
Here is a link to a video of him preforming a song:
After a quick coffee to relax at the memorial house, we walked up to the Ilinden Monument. This monument commemorates an uprising against the Ottoman empire in 1903.
[In the town of Kruševo, on St. Elijah’s Day, there was an uprising.] The people of the town declared a Socialist Republic, which lasted 10 days. Turkish troops crushed the rebellion quickly with a troop ratio of 16:1. The temporary republic inspired dissent that lasted for about three months. The Turks were unable to stop the Republic from sending a declaration to Europe asking for help to stop the bloodshed of Christians in Macedonia. (My thesis, pg 37)
It was amazing. Not breathtaking in the normal sense, but in the history that is seeped into every little side of this monument. This is a new age monument- everything represents something. There were white concrete barriers (?) that showed the different centuries that MK was under Ottoman rule, including the ones that showed where they had fought back. Then once you get inside the museum, each wall represents something different. The walls have designs on them that represent the struggles that Kruševo went through on the road to independence. From oppression to WW2. There are four stained glass windows as well, but what they represent is escaping me right now. The view was beautiful of the mountains from up here as well.
Then we walked back down to the center and had lunch at the only real restaurant that we saw. They didn’t have a lot of vegetarian food options, but the food was still yummy! We had this cheese dip with pizza bread, and a mixed salad (which means shredded lettuce carrots, beets, tomatoes and cucumbers). Then we tried to go look at some of the churches, since the other museums would be closed now. But the churches were all closed up as well. The center square was a bit sad looking with the empty fountain and everything. We decided to have coffee before she had to leave. Then I went back to the hotel and grabbed the car before heading out to the Stone Man. Which is a monument to the uprising again. It shows a man throwing a stone at invisible Turkish soldiers. It is a bit off the road and it doesn’t have very good markers. But the views towards it. WOW. I can see why people paraglide off of these mountains. See:
I then drove towards Bitola to spend the night at Lizzie’s before we had our fun adventure the next day. But once we got there, I Wanted to go to Heracula. It is the ruins located (they claim South of Bitola, but I never felt like we left the city) in Bitola. They just uncovered some of the mosaics. They had them covered for winter. There was (emphasis) an amphitheater, church, and a sewer system.
Lizzie’s apartment was having water trouble- as in she hadn’t had it for 2 days by the time I got there- and she never got it until 4 days after I left. We went to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant that has the best tavche gravche I’ve had in MK. Yum!
See you around the globe!