Walking back from Skopje’s Turkish bazaar, I crossed the old stone bridge that separates the old and new regions of this impressive Macedonian capital city. And there, at the end of the famous stone structure, I spotted a man with a fully-loaded bicycle.
He was writing in his journal and doing his best to ignore the child pickpockets running around him and his bike. He had a full beard, was rail thin (just like me), and had obviously finished a long day of riding. Another traveling cyclist for sure!
I approached and asked, “Do you speak English?”
“Yes” he replied. And for the next few minutes I talked with this twenty-three-year-old from Canada who was traveling on a Dutch passport for three months through numerous European countries.
Barend Dronkers was his name and he’d be in Skopje for just two nights before continuing on to Bulgaria and Turkey.
Each of us having seen not a single other solo traveling cyclist for the past few months, we decided to meet up the next day and explore the city together.
After meeting with Barned the next day and seeing the major sights of Skopje, we strolled back to the apartment I had rented in the center of the city and conducted an informal interview in which I asked Barend:
- What has it been like to travel all this time by yourself?
- What do your parents think of you doing this trip?
- What has been your favorite place you have visited thus far?
- Where have you been sleeping at night?
- What kind of food have you been eating?
- And do you think you will ever go on another bike trip like this again?
To hear what Barend had to say about his first three-month long solo bike tour through Europe, just watch the video below.