Perhaps sometimes a recommendation is not always about a good place. Sometimes a not so good place should be recommended just because it is there. Well this is such a recommendation that one should be aware if in need of a cheap bed in Debar, Macedonia.
I was going from Skopje to Ohrid and decided to make it with an overnight in Debar. I knew that there were a number of hotels, since Debar is quite famous for its thermal spas. But I wanted something cheap, more like a tent replacement than a real hotel. So I asked some people around and that was exactly what I got.
A friend told me that there is a small overnight place at a gas station just at the edge of town. It was a place where the fishermen going to fish on the Debar Lake normally staid, he told me. It sounded just like the right place – a bed and a roof so I would not have to take a tent for this ride.
The gas station name was Deniz Petrol. It was located about 1 km South from the town’s centre, just on the right (West) side of the road when going due South. It was very easy to find. I already had called the man on the gas station and informed them of my arrival and need to spend the night. This turned out good, because the place has many people stopping by for an overnight, especially since it is at the border crossing with Albania.
There was no problem for my bicycle. The man at the gas station was very nice and agreed with me with whatever I wanted to do with the bicycle. So I had it locked inside the building, in the corridor where the rooms were. Hidden from passing eyes and being at a gas station with 24h service I had no worries.
The catch to this story is the rooms or perhaps the whole facility even. Now, I’ve been warned that it is the place where fishermen spend the night. But I did not expect to see their eternal presence. I do not know if the other 2 rooms were just the same, but this is what I got. I got the key to the room and the man told me which room it is. So I went to the back side of the gas station, where the entrance door was, and went up the stairs where the rooms were. All to this point was fine. Fairly new building, fairly clean, nothing fancy, but simple, like the idea for an overnight at a gas station. So I opened the door of my room… a fairly spacey and bright room, about four meters wide and just as well long. There were two single beds on each side, left and right, and a table between them. There was also a wardrobe just left from the door. The beds had been well made, and there were new, very colourful sheets. There were even towels on each bed. But as I looked on the floor and saw the carpet, I could not really make my self to get inside. Beginning from the entrance door, there were two sets of trails leading to each bed. It was obvious that the trails had been made with muddy shoes, like ones of fishermen, and that the trails had been went over a number of times. It was really sad, that such a nice place would be so easily flunked.
I stood over the muddy trails for some moments and hesitated. I thought to my self, so what, if I had been sleeping in a tent there would be mud all around me. So I started unpacking and getting ready to sleep. The bed sheets were quite clean. However, the image of the muddy carpet had its effect on me. So I decided to spend the night in my sleeping bag.
The showers and the toilet were on the floor, common for the whole place. There were two bathrooms, each equipped with a toilet seat, washing basin, a bat tub, mirror, and everything. There were also soap bars. Everything was fine, and nothing looked fancy actually not even too good. They were just there, for the utility and that is it. This was fine. I took a shower before going to bed, and I had warm water without any issues. But I did not sense the tricky part. To explain the circumstance, Debar is partially Muslim town, and this particular establishment was Muslim owned. This fact in it self is of no importance, perhaps, but of great practicality. Because the next morning, when I wanted to use the toilet, I saw that there was no toilet paper. To be even more chaotic, I had run out of it the day before. And as all things expected, there was no toilet paper even in the shop of the gas station, either. There was simply no interest and no need for these people to have toilet paper at all. However I noticed that each toilet seat had been equipped with a fountain for ass washing. So that is how I had my first experience of a paper-free toilet.
When all was done, I paid the man at the gas station. 350 Macedonian denars, about 6 Euros. Though I’ve seen cleaner and nicer places for that price, it was acceptable for the lack of good cleaning staff.
So if you are in need to use this overnight place, please, be aware, and bring your own toilet paper, if you need one.
You can call +389 46 834927 for reservation, and I’d advise you to.
GPS: N 41,514991º; E 20,521026º
Bicycle friendly – 4/5
Affordable – 5/5
Clean – 3/5
Comfortable – 2/5
Experience – 2/5