Guide to SKOPJE

A bike journey from Macedonia to Istanbul

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Travelling from Macedonia to Turkey isn’t a problem, even if you don’t go by car or plane:)

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He is an avid lover of the sport on two wheels. Goce Shutevski from the village of Rusinovo, Berovo (Republic of Macedonia) does not care about brands when it comes to bikes. He only needs an inspiration and some spare time to set off on his next trip. Most of the time he rides alone whether it is a few hundred or thousands of kilometers’ long journey. No mountain, lake or river in Macedonia has been left unturned.

Recently Goce had one of his major wishes come true – he had his heart set on riding to Istanbul! He travelled about 750 km from his home town through Bulgaria to the Turkish cultural capital.

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– I reached the great metropolis that I have been admiring for so long. I have always wanted to see Istanbul because of all the stories I heard about how grand and colorful it is and now I got a chance to do it. It was not easy but it was worth it. I could have travelled by bus but I and my bike are inseparable. I have a friend that lives in Istanbul and I had been planning to visit her for a long time. My journey was really challenging and at times dangerous especially when crossing mountain Rila in Bulgaria. I climbed Rila twice and got to Rila Monastery where I spent the night. The people there welcomed and supported me saying that I had set off on a courageous journey – says Goce.

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Goce says that the best way to travel is by bicycle. He accomplished his mission in 19 days. The weather conditions were not favourable at times so he had to cycle in the rain and travelled about 50 kilometers by train due to heavy rain.

– When I arrived in Turkey it was very hot but I had to keep on riding. There are no trees along the roads, no water taps – says Goce who decided to travel in August when the sun is at its hottest and you can imagine what it’s like to be cycling in that kind of weather.

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But all the troubles were forgotten when he entered Istanbul.

I can’t describe the excitement that I experienced when I entered the city. I was sad my camera broke down just before the journey and I couldn’t take any good pictures with my phone. But I carry all my memories with me. I can’t speak Turkish and I can speak very little English but somehow I managed to get by. The city is grand but I felt even bigger because I managed to get there by bike – says Shutevski and adds that he never has any special preparations before a trip.

He stayed four days in Istanbul and was impressed by the good organization of the city. Although it is a metropolis with a population of 13 million, he found it very easy to navigate and move around it. He travelled on his bike of course, and liked the food very much, which is very similar to macedonian dishes.

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Istanbul lives 24 hours a day. You can even buy a bike and at 3 am – says Shutevski.

He also liked the Turkish cuisine, but he was more focused on stews and dishes without meat. He went on a long tour round the city and on a short cruise in the European and Asian parts of Istanbul.

Goce had arranged for accommodation only in Istanbul and had to sleep in a tent along the way. He says that his next challenge will be visiting and exploring the countries of former Yugoslavia.

The journey to Istanbul is not the first trip of this kind. In 2012, Shutevski organized a long journey through central Europe when he travelled 6000 kilometers in 50 days.

Srebra Gjorgjievska

 

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