Monday, March 9, 2009

Strolling Along the Vardar

This morning, as usual, I was having trouble getting motivated. I did dust, clean the mirrors on our shoe closets (I absolutely adore these, but they are always smudged), clean one bathroom, start a load of laundry, and empty the dishwasher. Vacuuming and mopping got put on hold as the lure of the computer was too great. I sat down to read my email and received a phone call from a friend inviting me to join her for a stroll along the Vardar. The two of us recently lamented that we need to get out an exercise more often, so she thought of me to accompany her on a long walk with her beagle.

Before coming to Skopje, one thing that I found really appealing on the description of the city was the existence of a well developed walking/biking path along the Vardar. I actually had imagined what it would look like and envisioned myself wasting hours exploring the riverside. I love to walk, so this was perfect. Actually, you can access part of the path just a couple blocks from our home, so it is inconceivable that I haven't taken advantage of the opportunity yet. I guess I have just been afraid to do it alone. The thought of being harassed by Roma children following me and begging didn't seem relaxing at all. Not to mention the fact that they have become seriously aggressive in recent weeks. A number of people I know have been accosted lately, and it has been reported that some have even been robbed. Safety first is my motto and I have avoided walking along the river up to this point.

Today, however, I nervously accepted the invite and ventured out with my friend and had a lovely time. The weather was gorgeous, just chilly enough to keep you comfy, and the sun was shining warmly in the sky. We decided to start out near the school and surprisingly, the route was very well-kept and much nicer than I had expected. Numerous people were out and about rollerblading, biking, collecting plastic bottles, and strolling with their kids. It felt very safe due to the company of all the other sun-seekers and we were able to get lost in conversation instead of worrying about who might be approaching us. We strolled for about an hour and the steady movement sent Collier right to sleep. It was a really nice way to start the day and it certainly motivated me to get up and get busy....unfortunately not to

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