A bus ride through Macedonia
written by Elisabeth Mansel in Macedonia on Friday, the 15 September 2017, last update on Friday, the 15 September 2017
At first we planned to take a train from Ohrid to Sofia. On DBBahn.de you can find a direct train connection from Ohrid to Sofia. But when we arrived there, nobody could tell us, where the train station was, because there was none. We only found a bus station and found out that there is a direct bus connection to Sofia. Sadly it was only a mini bus. Maybe our luggage could fit in there but not our bicycle. There were some other buses going to Sofia, but not directly. One big (normal) bus was going to the capital Skopje, where we could take an other bus at midnight to Sofia. The most helpful person at the bus station to get information was a security guard, who help us and talked to the boss of the bus company. He told us which bus takes extra money for a bicycle and in which bus bicycle is free. So we split up the bicycle to get into the bus and it was no problem to get in. The security guard also spoke to the bus driver for us.
In Skopje we asked for the midnight bus and found out that the midnight bus will be a mini bus. Next big bus to Sofia was going at 8 am. There was no sense for us to look for a camping place or some other place to stay, so we just decided to sleep at the bus station. Frieder took out one of our sleeping bags and began sleeping on the chairs, head on my legs. I was trying to stay awake and watched the people going by. Then there was a guy, cutting a cucumber. I watched him a bit. He took out a heater spiral, walked to a plug socket and made himself a tea. When he saw that I was looking at him, he asked me: "чай?" I shook my head and wondered if that was the right gesture, because in some countries like Bulgaria, it could mean "Yes" instead of "No". After his tea was finished and he had took a photo of our bicycle, he asked me again if I would like to have some tea. I thought, why not? With the heater spiral was the water getting warm very fast.The tea was very tasty and I found out the the guy came from Russia and maybe also wanted to visit Germany in Octobre. He also gave me some cheese and Kinder chocolate. Then he told me that he was waiting for the same bus as we did. Skopje looked beautiful outside of the bus window, so he wanted to see a bit of the city. I watched over his bag while he was gone. When he came back he tried to get some sleep, but it was too cold. He had given me so much so I wanted to give something back. I lent him our second sleeping bag till our bus arrived. It was not easy to get into that bus. At first the bus driver ignored us. Then he wanted to have ten euros for the bicycle. That was OK for us. It was the same price as the security guard had told us in Ohrid. But compartement floor of the bus was already full with luggage when we tried to get our tandem in. We piled up the bags and it worked out. When we arrived in Sofia the bus driver wanted another ten euros, because of the two bicycles. But we didn't pay and ignored him like he did with us at first. After we started to put our tandem back together, he didn't try to tell us again to pay.