Travelogue of a trip to Macedonia in May 2022

20. 05. 2022

12 members of IFMR Slovenia took part in a motorcycle trip through North Macedonia. With eight motorbikes and one car escort, we visited the greatest sights of North Macedonia in the excellent organization of our Rotary friend Saša Delinikolov from Skopje, who is also our member.

30 APR - 03 MAY 2022
The first common meeting point was on the evening of Friday, April 29, in Skopje, where we arrived alone, each in our own organization. We bikers chose different routes and already on the first evening there was a pleasant breakfast and a chat about what we experienced on the way to Skopje. After the evening breakfast and the first meeting, where the president of IFMR Slovenia Rasti Fakuč hung the flag, we agreed on the driving rules, and our host Sašo presented us with a plan of planned routes and meetings with Rotary friends. This was followed by dinner and a pleasant chat with special Macedonian culinary surprises.
Every day, the meeting place was at 9 o'clock, and we finished the drive with several intermediate stops in the evening hours. On the first day, we traveled 219 km (Skopje – Tetovo – Gostivar- Manstir Sv. J. Bigorski – Debar – Radožda village – Struga – Ohrid) and at the intermediate stops we enjoyed "homemade coffee" delicious snacks, lunch in Ohrid, where we tried baked eel, but there is also some time left to visit the city and buy Ohrid pearls. In the evening, we met with the Rotarians from Ohrid and toasted the successfully traveled kilometer of the first day.
On the second day, the route was a little different, as we had to adapt the ride to the weather conditions. It got a bit colder and light rain was forecast all the time. Fortunately, we skilfully dodged it and made stops during the heaviest rainfall. Despite the somewhat rough weather (and terrain), we covered 247 km (Ohrid – Sveti Naum – Oteševo ​​– Bitola – Kruševo – Prilep – Kavadarci). At lunch in Bitola, we met with Rotarians and the then-future governor of the district, Radet Histrovski, who kindly greeted all the participants of IFMR Slovenia and handed us a badge and a flag. Then we took a walk together on the main square in Bitola and took some souvenir photos. The meeting was unforgettable, full of good feelings and wishes for good and lasting cooperation. We ended the day in a wine cellar in Kavadarci, which hosts only selected guests and indulged in culinary indulgence with excellent food and selected wines.

On the third day, the route led us (Kavadarci - Negotino - Štip - Kočani - Vinica - Delčevo - Berovo - Strumica - Dojran - Gevgelija) to the extreme southeastern point, which already borders Greece. Even this time the raindrops did not spare us, but they did for us in Kočani, because we saw the large rice fields and the largest rice factory (three hundred thousand tons of annual yield) in Macedonia, which is run by our Rotary friend Sotir Angelov, who at the end of the visit gifted him with a few kilograms of very high-quality rice, and his wife baked an excellent rice bran cake. During this visit, we also officially accepted Sotir into our motorcycling organization, as he is an enthusiastic motorcyclist himself. After 285 kilometers we were very happy to be accommodated in a beautiful hotel in Gevgelija, where the owner awaited us with various dishes and a warm dining room where we could warm up.
On the last, fourth day, we traveled slightly less (139 km) Gevgelija - Veles - Skopje, as our journey together was slowly coming to an end. It was wonderful to get to know new places, new people and new Rotary friends. Everywhere we went, we received exceptional hospitality and attention. What we discovered with a motorbike, we might never have discovered with a car. We were a great group, those of us who stayed together from the beginning to the end, certainly connected in a slightly different way, because we will always be ennobled by our shared experiences.
Without the carefully planned 800 km route prepared for us by our friend Sašo Delinikolov, this trip would certainly not have been as safe, pleasant and interesting. With all his heart, he led us to the places and paths where Macedonian pearls are hidden. We also took some of them home, each in our own memories and by different routes, just as we ourselves chose them to return.
Rotary is a wonderful connection and interweaving of different cultures, languages, people and friends. The members of IFMR Slovenia are grateful for this beautiful experience and are firmly convinced that we will keep the bonds we made on this and our other motorcycling trips. Janja Bogataj, Nike Rotary Club