SPC C and I, accompanied by one of our interpreters, journeyed to Macedonia recently. (Technically, since another country in the region has a conniption over the people of that area calling themselves "Macedonia," it's known as "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," or "FYROM.") A couple of our colleagues had just been there the day before, and suggested points of interest to be sure to see while we were in Skopje.
After too many days in a row of rain, the morning dawned bright and clear, and it turned out to be a lovely, warm day for our trip. Since SPC C and I had not been out and about much in the last couple of months, at least not with an interpreter, it was fun to have Mr Z along with us again. He's from Macedonia, originally, from not too far from where we needed to be going. Unfortunately, though, we didn't have time to visit his home.
One of the first things I noticed as we entered Skopje was the very large cross atop a ridge in the distance. Given Yugoslavia's troubled history as regards religious freedom (there wasn't much!), the very public placement of that large structure surprised me.
After we finished what we'd gone there to do, we walked around the city center and then had lunch in a small off-the-beaten-path restaurant that was recommended to us by the proprietor of the gift shop where I bought a large Macedonian flag. (I've decided to start collecting flags from the countries I visit while I'm in uniform.)
There are some large and very modern buildings not far from a lovely park in downtown Skopje.
There are also a few buildings that survived the devastating 1963 earthquake (Скопски земјотрес) which leveled much of the city of Skopje.
Because it was lovely weather, there were lots of people in the park, playing chess, sitting and reading, and otherwise enjoying the late morning.
What's not to enjoy?
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ