Elena and Nick were discovering the projects and initiatives, success stories and future plans of local entrepreneurs in North Macedonia between 2-8 May. Against a backdrop of stunning mountains and beautiful lakes, our vloggers learnt about the region’s partnership with the EU and its positive impact on the local community. They were also discovering the cultural heritage and intriguing history of North Macedonia.
Meet our Vloggers
Elena loves travelling and documenting the beauty of everyday life. She has been taking photographs for four years and has recently started experimenting with short content video creation. An avid reader, Elena appreciates the power of the written word: she’s kept a blog since 2012 and always complements her visual output with heartfelt writing. As a result, she expresses herself fully across different mediums.
Nick Van Putte
Nick is an explorer and a passionate photographer who loves visiting new places and learning about different cultures. Through his website and social media, he shares the unique natural landscapes of the places he’s travelled to and images of urban life in foreign cities. A drone photographer in his spare time, Nick is actually an industrial engineer with a master’s degree working as a construction estimator.
Skopje, Matka Canyon
Vloggers arrive in Skopje to join the “Made of us” Media Brunch.
Adventure Park Skopje
Visiting Matka Canyon and having an adventurous, guided boat trip to the Vrelo Cave.
The day will continue at the Skopje Adventure Park, an EU-funded project.
Heraclea archeological site, Bitola
Visiting Heraclea, the EU-funded project.
Ohrid, Lake Ohrid, Bay of Bones
A sojourn in the ancient city of Ohrid and at Kasarna Hub, a start-up centre.
Visiting the Struga Scout Camp, an EU-funded project.
Kichevo, Mavrovo national park
Stopping at the Kitino castle and visiting the Mavrovo National Park, an EU-funded project.
A stop in the city of Tetovo and back to Skopje for the last day of the road trip.
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North Macedonia, here we come!
Hi everyone, we are Elena and Nick, the fantastic duo from North Macedonia and Belgium, ready to start this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
All amazing things have to start somewhere, and in our case, it was in the form of a media brunch hosted by the Europe House Skopje, where we met the Europan ambassador for North Macedonia, David Geer, and the super friendly Young European Ambassadors. We also made it to national television, which is crazy!
We were so eager to start our adventure, that we took our dear MG car on a test drive to Matka Canyon. There we went on a boat ride to the Vrelo Cave, which is the deepest underwater cave in the Balkan region and saw fantastic views.
We ended the night by following Macedonian traditions and visited a kafana together with Elena's friends.
Adventure and altitude in Skopje
The day started nice and easy with morning coffee and a brisk walk around the city of Skopje. Nick, our resident mountain chaser, took us to a few viewpoints on the mountain of Vodno so we could take some pictures there.
After having lunch in the old Bazaar and gathering some energy we visited the EU-funded project: Adventure Park Skopje in the municipal of Karposh where we interviewed Robert Jankovski, the founder of the park. He told us lots of interesting information regarding the park and the cooperation with the EU. Of course, we had to try it out ourselves and let us tell you, it's not as easy as it looks!
Ruins and accessibility ramps in Heraclea
In the morning we drove from Skopje straight to the archaeological site Heraclea in Bitola. On our way, we drove through green mountains and beautiful landscapes which made us even more excited about what was to come.
At Heraclea, we spoke to Engin Nasuh, an archaeologist, who explained more about the Smart Cul Tour project which involves building ramps for people with disabilities, as well as adding solar panel lamps, a VR experience and a multilingual online guided tour.
We ended the day by visiting the city of Bitola and making friends with lots of stray dogs along the way.
Visiting the ancient city of Ohrid
We made our way to Ohrid in the early morning because we had a jam-packed day ahead of us.
The first stop was the Bay of Bones, an authentic reconstruction of the pile dwelling settlement.
Afterwards, we visited the Kasarna Hub, which is established and operates as part of the project Ohrid Go, co-financed by the European Union.
We proceeded with a guided tour of the ancient city of Ohrid, with its precious architecture and beautiful landscapes and ended the day with a sailing trip on Lake Ohrid during sunset!
Hiking with Scout Camp Struga
Today we started by visiting the Scout Camp Krste Jon in Struga, where we talked to Marjan, head of the camp, about the EU-funded project.
The project involves a complete renovation of the infrastructure of the camp, as well as providing full equipment for additional activities for camp visitors.
One of the activities offered by the camp was a hike up Mount Jablanica, starting from the village of Vevcani. Together with Goran and Doncho we hiked up to the mountain lodge Jankov Kamen where we had some food and rakija. It was an amazing time filled with lots of laughing and learning.
One final escape into nature
In the morning we drove to Kichevo to check out the EU funded revitalisation project Kitino castle, focused on improving the infrastructure of the cultural heritage site.
Then, we made our way to Mavrovo National Park where we enjoyed amazing views, visited the monastry of Saint Jovan Bigorski and tried some traditional local food which was delicious!
As the day came to a close we made our way to Tetovo, our final destination on the trip.
Not a 'goodbye' but a 'see you later'!
We started the day early and in a rush, trying to see the best of Tetovo in just a few hours. The departure time of Nick's flight was approaching fast, so we made our way to Skopje International Airport.
We still can't believe we were so lucky to participate in this project and experience North Macedonia in a completely different way! Even though it was challenging, we managed to make the most of every situation with a positive mindset. All that is left now is for Elena to visit Nick in Belgium and continue the journey started with 'Made of us’ campaign!