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Unexpected snowfall, or how Instagram saved me from dying frozen

As you will have seen, since I began this long trip I like to upload pictures from time to time to Instagram of what I’m seeing and liking on the way. The fact is that I don’t have 3G on my phone so every time I connect to a Wi-Fi network the first thing I do is uploading a picture, which makes my girlfriend constantly laugh about it when travelling with me. Or better said, made. Here the reason why not anymore.

A little more than one month ago, my girlfriend joined my trip during 10 days to discover the amazing country of Macedonia. Having been already in Skopje and Matka, hosted by the family of a common friend who treated us like sultans, we were getting ready to go to Ohrid where was waiting for us another friend.

The truth is that during our stay in Romania we met a lot of locals from Macedonia, some few months ago, others few years ago, so I didn’t remember exactly from what city or town they were, and since the trip was kind of improvised, on the way I was telling them that we would pass by to see them.

We saw that in our way to Ohrid we had to pass compulsorily by Tetovo, where there is a painted mosche so beautiful, and where I had the feeling that I knew somebody. I looked it up on Facebook and I found that one of my friends was from there and I wrote him so we could see each other for a beer before my girlfriend and me would leave, because the plan was to pass by there to end up sleeping at Ohrid.

The hitchhike that day was to be remembered: Being still at our friend’s house seeing her off, her uncles asked her where we were going so packed up and when she told them that we were going to walk until the end of the city to hitchhike until Tetovo and Ohrid, they offered themselves to bring us outside of Skopje.

The day was beginning great even if it was raining quite a lot, or better said a lot. When we got outside of Skopje, we were seeing them off and her aunt got in a 24h market and went out with a bag with fries, cookies and a bottle of Coca cola. She wanted to give that to us but we didn’t accept it, but she told us to keep it please because it would be hard to hitchhike in a day like that and she would be less worries if at least we had this.

Finally we took it, we said bye bye and right after they left we lifted the finger to the first car that passed and a man passing by walking in front asked us what we were doing. Meanwhile we were explaining it to the guy a minibus stopped, because he had read the carton with the name Tetovo writen. We asked him and obviously it wasn’t free so we answered that thanks but we were travelling always without money. The man who we had been talking to, without thinking it twice, went to the driver, opened his wallet, gave him a couple of bills, turned to us and with a huge smile said: “You are welcome, travellers!” and disappeared running under the rain.

Stuned we got into the mini-bus still surprised and thinking that everything was being too much easy and that at some point this would turn against us. Well, as we kept on going, the rain became sleet, then snow and finally fell snowflakes as fists. As a result, there was more and more snow and by the time we reached Tetovo there was a foot of snow throughout the whole town.

We were walking around the city and checking on internet if my friend had replied. Hours later, seeing that he did not answer and it began to be late, we decided to continue our path and we realized it was practically impossible to continue. It was incredibly cold, it was snowing harder and harder so the traffic was impossible, and having the windows fogged the drivers couldn’t even see us.
 


 

We decided to look sort ourselves out in that town to sleep, so we looked for a bar with Wi-Fi. My friend had not even read the message, we looked for people of that town at Couchsurfing and we sent them a last minute request, we checked if there was a cheap hostel and we saw that there were only two hotels, and the cheapest room was 30€. The tent, obviously, we couldn’t use, so we were screwed. Very screwed.

It was already almost 9pm and the place where we were having coffee and using Wi-Fi told us to pack up, they were closing. We looked for night buses, carpools, etc to Ohrid. If inside of the bar was already so cold, we didn’t want to imagine in the street… Facing the fact that I had no more ideas of ​​how to solve the problem, I dedicated the last minute to upload a picture of Tetovo to Instagram.

We packed everything up and we were already going out when a message came in saying: “Are you still in Tetovo? Let’s meet!”. Adrenaline rush! It was a Macedonian girl from there that I met almost three years ago and that had seen and recognized Tetovo in the photo that I uploaded.

We quickly tried to answer but they had already unplugged the router. We had to go outside, and with all the snowflakes falling steadily, we were looking for open Wi-Fi signals. Finally we could contact her and she picked us up from the street immediately. We went to the apartment of a French girl who was volunteering there and had an empty room for us. Then they told us why the other guy had not even seen my message, a few months ago he had opened a bar and he was spending the days working there.

We left our things and went straight to Bar Tijuana, which I totally recommend: very cheap cold beer, really good homemade pizza (Has the approval even of my Italian girlfriend!) and a very nice atmosphere.

There we spent the rest of the night, having dinner, drinking beer and remembering old and past times, until we went to sleep so the next day we could continue our path.

So you know, if you ever find yourselves drawn in a place where you don’t know noone, it’s snowing, it’s cold and you run out of ideas of how to spend the night without spending more than expected, just upload a picture to Instagram and wait for this to solve the problem alone. Seems that to me it worked.