On July 24, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9 am. We headed to the Crveni Krst concentration camp which was a short walk away from the hotel.
The lady working there explained that the concentration camp was a transient camp where Jews, gypsies and important people (like doctors and lawyers) came and were sent off to other camps like Sajmište concentration camp or other camps in Europe. 32,000 people passed through this camp. It was one of the only camps were people managed to successfully escape. 105 people escaped the camp which was the first time people escaped from a concentration camp. 42 died who tried to escape.
The lady didn’t say the total amount of people who died here. According to Wikipedia, at least 300 Serbian Roma died here. The lady did say that the first floor had 4 cells, the second floor had 8 and the third floor had 20 cells.
We were free to walk around. The lady had something wrong with her legs, so she couldn’t walk around with us. There was pictures of the camp leader and the camp on the first floor. I saw a map on the second floor with a map of Europe that listed where all the concentration camps were. I never knew it was so widespread. I am horrified that genocide has ever occurred. I just don’t understand how anybody could kill people in such a massive scale and in such a cruel way.
The second floor was filled with people’s identifications, possessions, artwork and many pictures of Serbian people who were at Crveni Krst.
It was really quite sad and depressing.
The third floor still had the 20 prison cells.
I saw a few of them had barbed wire on the floor – the lady said nobody survived when they were put in these cells.
We walked back to the hotel, packed up our bags and checked out. We got the bus headed to Skopje, Macedonia at 10:40 am. Ivan and I watched the movie Ted and the documentary Being Elmo. At one point, we noticed that the bus was empty. The bus driver said that we had to switch to another bus. I grabbed our big backpacks and transferred them to the new bus. Unfortunately, we didn’t get two seats together since we were the last two on the new bus… but, Ivan was right in front of me.
The bus drove for about 30 minutes to the border. Immigration for the Serbian side came on first. A guy collected all the passports and two guys from the bus were calling out names. We drove up to the border and it was time for the Macedonian Immigration. The same thing happened again. Ivan and I were the few tourists on the bus – so it was easy when they came across our passports since they look different from Serbian ones.
The air conditioning on the second bus was almost non-existant – thank goodness I didn’t give Noelle my Amnesia fan I bought in Ibiza to take back to Vegas for me.. it came in handy today! I’ve never used a fan for so long. Ivan got to sit by me after the guy next to me got off the bus. Ivan read things on his laptop while I listened to Morrissey’s Bona Drag album.
The bus arrived in Skopje at 3 pm. I was so glad to be off the bus – it seemed cooler outside than on that bus.
We walked to Iguana Hostel which is 10 minutes away and Ivan checked us in.
We took showers since Ivan and I felt sticky.
Later on, we walked into the city. Ivan thought we should check out Old Town.
It’s a great area with streets filled with fancy dress shops, jewelry shops, souvenir stores and shoe stores. There were tons of fancy dress shops. I wasn’t sure where all these women were going to. Ivan was confused since he read that Skopje had a big Muslim community and they wouldn’t wear these fancy dresses.
Ivan and I saw a guy playing a guitar and singing. We thought it would be a great photo for our video project… ignore the word.
We stopped at Mado Prom for baklava. Lil Dave wanted banana baklava, but unfortunately they didn’t have it.
There are nice buildings in Skopje. Ivan said they’re trying to rebuild the city by 2014 to attract tourists. That’s why I saw lots of construction going on. I noticed a lot of crosses, so I figured there must be Christians in the city as well.
We backed to Macedonia Square to get some dinner. There’s a HUGE statue of Alexander the Great on a horse and a fountain below it in the square.
We went to Pelister restaurant for dinner. Ivan and I shared fish croquettes, vegetable salad, salmon rice salad and bread with cheese. Lil Dave got a banana kebab. The food was average.
We started walking more into the city. We came across a event at the museum. Ivan asked a guy outside what it was and he said it was a cello trio playing Led Zeppelin. Now, THAT sounded good. It turned out to be free and inside the museum. We walked downstairs and found a seat – I dragged a seat next to Ivan. It was called Bologna Cello Project. There wasn’t any more programs left, but Ivan asked to borrow one from a lady in the row behind us.
We stayed for three songs – one of which was Stairway to Heaven.
It was so hot since there was no a/c that I felt like I was going to pass out. We left after the Led Zeppelin song. The Cello Project was okay. I didn’t know how crowded it was. There were people on the stairs watching.
We started walking back towards the hostel. Ivan wanted to find a bar and have a glass of rakia or a cider. Unfortunately, Macedonia doesn’t seem to have flavored rakia. We tried to find a cider, but nobody had it – even the Irish pub. How can you be an Irish pub without cider?!!
We walked back to the hostel where we used the internet and I worked on the blog.