I’m very happy to announce that the Blonde Gypsy has finally made her return to the Balkans!

It’s been over a year and a half since I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia and I’ve been dying to come back and check out some of their neighbors ever since – so here I am.

This trip was a pretty last minute one and therefore thrown together very quickly (as they usually are), but so far so great. I just arrived in Skopje yesterday and from here will be traveling on to Pristina and Prizren in Kosovo, back down to Ohrid in the south of Macedonia, and then up through Albania ending in Tirana just in time for the country’s 100th anniversary of independence. Should be an awesome few weeks!

I’m really excited to be working with my friends over at HostelWorld this time around along with various top notch hostels/hotels/B&Bs/apartment owners in the region. Let us not forget – HostelWorld is not just all about hostels! You can book all kinds of accommodation on their site and seeing as variety is the spice of life, I thought I’d take the opportunity to try out as many of the different options as I can.

Right now I am staying in a hostel though, one of the coziest I’ve ever been in called Shanti Hostel which is situated in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Skopje. I was a bit worried before I arrived that I was getting over/too old for this and that I wouldn’t be as comfortable as I would in a hotel or an apartment, but that couldn’t have turned out to be further from the truth. I’ve come to the realization that it is actually MORE comfortable staying in hostels when traveling through less-traveled places like this where tourist information is scarce and where people are more likely to notice right away if you go missing. Plus, if they are anything like this one, you do feel more “at home” than hidden in some cold hotel room.

With that said, I am chilling out right now in the “chill room” drinking some Macedonian Roze (rosé) with some new friends I made over breakfast this morning and discussing what we should do this evening. From what I can tell so far, Skopje is a pretty interesting place that is very slowly, but VERY surely making its way onto the tourist radar.

Hope you’ll follow along! I’ll be posting photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as much as I can, so watch those spaces for live updates. Please let me know any recommendations you may have for any of these places, whether first hand/from friends/friends of friends…I will need them.