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Safety for single girl in Macedonia and tracing Macedonian relatives.

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Hi Everyone,

I have a young friend travelling to Macedonia in November of this year. She is visiting Greece to see relatives and will be taking a side trip to Macedonia. Her father in particular is very concerned about her travelling alone to this area so can anyone tell me if there are any safety concerns she should know about?

I don't know if anyone can help me or if this is the right place to ask so my apologies if this enquiry fall beyond Fodor's domain but she also desperately wants to find her Macedonian Grandfather whom she has never met and whom no one in the family has heard of for over thirty years. I wonder if anyone has any advice as she has tried everything - writing to local newspapers and placing adverts, contacting the Macedonian Embassy here in Australia who have advised her that Macedonian Births, Deaths and Marriages have privacy laws that prevent her accessing information, writing to the mayor of the town who again cited privacy laws preventing him from giving any information, trying to hire a private detective (too expensive)and even writing to Oprah! In many cases, she has received no reply.

It may be impossible to locate him as the man apparently has a common name, Aleksander(or Aleksandar) Velkovski,(He may have been known by another family name to further cause problems!) so the Macedonian phone book has been of little help and he may even be deceased by now as he would be 78 if still living. He worked for the local council installing playground equipment among other things and travelled to Germany regularly for work. He remarried after divorcing her grandmother and she thinks he had four more children, one dying young , but she doesn't know any of their names. All she has is his first marriage certificate, not even a photo as the only one the family had has been lost. The only other thing she knows that he was very handsome and fond of women! The town her grandfather came from is Prilep and she also will to go to her mother's village of Bitola plus the capital Skopje in the hope that she may find out more when she is actually there. I wonder if there are any Fodorites living in the local area or who have visited recently who know of any methods of getting information plus whether it is advisable for a young woman to travel there alone. A Macedonian cousin hopes to travel to Greece and escort her back but there are some concerns whether he will get a visa allowing him to go to Greece. This makes me think there may be some tensions on the border.

Any travel help would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much-Kerry.

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