The tiny town of Krklino is on the tourist map of Macedonia for exactly one reason: the private automotive and ethnographic museum run by Boris Tanevski and his family. Their eccentric collection of traditional costumes, antique radios and vintage cars has been luring people away from nearby Bitola since opening about a decade ago.
After arriving at the step of the Tanevski residence, we called out to announce our presence and Boris’s wife materialized in the doorway brandishing a huge smile. She led us into the family’s multi-story garage and showed us the pride of their collection: the cars. These included an Opel from the 1950s, a Peugeot 404, a couple Fords, and a Russian model I didn’t recognize, all of them lovingly restored, and insanely cool.
On the upper floor of the museum is the ethnographic collection, with richly decorated costumes from the Bitola region, a Victrola record player, a grandfather clock and an antiquated piano, along with a full recreation of an old-fashioned Macedonian living room.
The exhibits were nice, but the best part of our visit to Krklino came after we left the garage and sat down with Boris and his wife in their courtyard. Unsurprisingly, the yard was littered with traditional artifacts, and I asked Boris about a strange ceramic tool with two large prongs. “For making rakija,” he said, a gleam appearing in his eyes. He whispered to his wife, and she vanished into the kitchen to retrieve shot glasses and a couple bottles of homemade rakija.
Shortly thereafter, a salad appeared on the table, along with bread, cheese and peppers. We ate our fill and every time I finished my rakija, Boris topped it off. The alcohol worked its magic fast, and soon the four of us were having a spirited and amusing conversation, language barriers be damned.
We had to get back on the road, but the Tanevski’s also invite guests to stay the night in a room which they’ve appointed with traditional items, and even a massive TV from the 1950s. The price per night is extremely low, and it’s hard to imagine a more authentic or welcoming place to stay.