I have no clue how my bicycle touring mates discovered this place. Though, on the other hand, Kratovo is not a popular tourist destination in Macedonia, and I do not expect that there are many options where one can spend a night there. Either way, it was sure worth visiting.
The House of Shancheva, as it is called, is an old house, a very old house. It is some 300 years old. Everything inside it is old. The cupboards are old, the chairs are old, the stairs are old, even the walls are so old that have no straight line. This goes double for thee floor, so do not think that something is wrong, it is just a bit tilted. When I come to think about it, I kept wondering how on Earth this house did not fell simply apart. Well it did not, and apparently it won’t. It is well maintained and the most needed place is completely renovated – the toilet. While all that oldness, gives a very peculiar spice when staying in that house. Like being in a time-travel experiment of some sort.
The owner, Stevche Donevski, well he likes to tell stories. And he surely does know a lot of stories about Kratovo. He gave us a very traditional Macedonian welcome: fresh bread and salt. And even gave us a tour around Kratovo. He also makes his own salt. He makes it out of 14 different ingredients, herbs mainly. And it tastes very good. Apparently he is very much into making a living out of his small tourism business and he invests a lot of his energy, time and soul. The last, being a main reason why he left me with a very nice impression.
As to the comfort of the accommodation, it was good. There are four dedicated bed rooms, one kitchen with one bed, a toilet, and very big corridors on both floors. There are 10 beds all together. The bed came with clean linen, and I remember I had no troubles sleeping. Stevche even had our bicycles placed inside the house, in the big corridor. What else I could want after a hard riding day.
In the morning I discovered an even more incredible thing. The corridor of the first floor had a small balcony with an incredible view. In front of me it was whole of Kratovo, light by the morning sun.
In the basement of the house, Stevche has a small collection of old objects. It is like a small museum of antique. He said he wanted to collect only things related to salt making, but he soon ended up with many other things that were just as nice to keep. So it is worth wile to have a look.
The price is about 5 Euros per person, or about 50 Euros for the whole house. A very descent price I may add. The only problem that I see is finding the house. The house is on street Skopska number 8 or maybe it was 9. But considering the narrow, steep streets it may be somewhat difficulty finding it, even though it is very close to the town centre. At this moment, I think I could easily find the house again. But I remember, I was worried if I will be able to get back to the house when I went out for a drink. We had Stevche meet us at a more accessible point, and then take us to the house. Perhaps you can arrange this too.
And just for in case, you can note the coordinates: N 42.07731666667º and E 22.18253333333º
Bicycle friendly: 5/5