So, I'm travelling this weekend. Nothing has gone to plan.
Firstly, I was dropped off at the bus station at 5:15pm - plenty of time to get a ticket for the 6pm bus to Skopje. Except that when I went to buy a ticket, the guy said, "Oh, just go to the bus and get a seat. Over at bay 8." So, I was like, okay, went over there and waited. Eventually, somebody came along and said that the bus was now completely booked out, and that anybody who didn't have a ticket had to go and buy a ticket for the 7pm bus.
Well, at least there was a 7pm bus so I guess that's a good thing!
On the plus side, I met three young women (two canadians and one swiss) who were interns with the UNDP in Kosovo, so I had some bus buddies to chat with who were vaguely on the same wavelength, so I guess that's a win.
Then, I arrived at Skopje and went to the hostel that a friend had recommended. Now, I have to confess that at my age, my days of sharing dorms are pretty much completely over. On my arrival at the hostel, I asked for a single room, and was told that there were none available - just dorms. I was not in the mood for sharing, and was halfway out the door when that voice in my head said, "Oh, go on, just do it. Be sociable with complete strangers. Have a few beers. You're not a real backpacker, but you can at least pretend for an evening."
I'm so glad I did. Sitting around a table with a bunch of random Irish, Kiwi, English, Turkish, American and Macedonian backpackers drinking beers was a surprisingly pleasant evening. The on-duty guy at the hostel was more like a host for a dinner party than receptionist, and it made all the difference. So, if you're ever travelling through Macedonia, I would recommend Shanti Hostel. Best of all, it's only 10 minutes walk from the bus/train station.
I'm not sure I'd do it every night during my travels, but it's good to know that I'm not too old for this shit yet! :)