It is pretty exciting to visit eternal cities in Europe and see what remains of the past still lives on today. Skopje has been inhabited since 4000 BC and currently stands as the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia.
We got our opportunity to visit the Macedonian capital for the Wizz Air Skopje Marathon on May 6, 2018. We flew out of Brussels South Airport in Charleroi on Saturday, May 5, 2018 on board the 15:15 Wizz Air flight. A 20€ cab ride took us directly to the race headquarters Park Hotel and Spa by the Vardar River.
Bib pick-up, race expo, and hotel accommodations were conveniently all in one place. I pre-registered for the race online where I paid the 15€ registration fee. The expo remained open until 7:00 PM that evening.
After visiting the race expo, we proceeded to check into our room. The five-star hotel had champagne waiting for us to soothe our parched throats.
It was raining that evening; we had pasta dinner right at the hotel.
An early breakfast followed the next morning with lots of good choices.
The start and finish line was at Square Macedonia by the Alexander of Macedonia statue.
We started at 8:45 AM with a 5:30 time limit. Interestingly enough, I did not know I lined up and started with the 5K runners 15 minutes behind the marathoners! I did not realize it until it was too late. Argh! No wonder Richard looked worried when he snapped this picture of me running. See the different colored bibs around me?
The official timing was the gun time, not the chip time so I was already 15 minutes behind. The skies opened up halfway into the race and poured the rest of time. Oh well, it was an enjoyable race in spite of the challenges.
Before it started raining, Richard was luckily able to take some photos of the surrounding areas.
I crossed the finish line all wet and cold in 5:41:58.
The walk back to the hotel was short and I took a nice shower before showing up for my massage at the hotel spa.
I must admit we were not adventurous during this trip. Dinner was at the hotel restaurant again.
After breakfast the next morning, we did make the effort to see some sights. We visited the Alexander the Macedonian statue again. Alexander and his horse Bucephalus were at the center of controversy between Macedonia and Greece who both claim the great warrior as one of their own.
We crossed the stone bridge which represented the Ottoman, European, and Asian history of Skopje. A visit to the the Old Bazaar, the second biggest bazaar in the Balkans in the 17th century.
Time was too short. We had to make our way back to the airport for our flight back to Brussels on Adria Air via Ljubljana.