Just four days in Skopje taught me the value of suspending disbelief and just going with the flow. After a while, nothing seems too fantastical. Within two hours I’d stopped asking how old anything was because it was all new. The carousel on the river bank opposite the yet-to-be-opened Museum of Archaeology didn’t seem out-of-place. But I have to admit a little incredulity when I saw the boats.
Skopje doesn’t have a riverboat history. The Vadar is not Old Miss. It’s not the Danube. It doesn’t have cruise ships or steamers. And yet someone, with a great imagination, thought up the idea of having boat restaurants.
Built to look like brothels (my opinion: I’m doubt that was the intention but it was the first thing that came to mind) they actually look like old wooden ships. But like everything else in Skopje, looks can be deceiving. Strip away the veneer and you find a massive metal structure, built atop foundations on a makeshift island of gravel which looks for all the world like an old battleship. An illusion shattered.
But when you strip away the metal, you get a steel frame, just like any old building. Is this really how ships are built? When I Googled, I found an article in Macedonian and it would seem that the name of the company responsible translates to Dim Phalanx. How appropriate. Something lost (or gained) in translation.
Some who are concerned reckoned that the boats, built to look like galleons, would add a new dimension to a city that is gaining a reputation as a new Disneyland. They’re thinking Pirates of the Caribbean. And I feel their pain. Somethings are better left imagined.