My 5 Days in Kosovo

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Serbia and Kosovo as two nations

Serbia and Kosovo as two nations.

Serbia map with Kosovo

Serbia with Kosovo.

While you can find yourself in so many arguments of whether or not Kosovo is a nation or not, statistically, most of the world recognizes it as a nation while some don’t. Number one is Serbia. But I am not writing this to argue it’s status, I could be on this topic forever. And my time in Kosovo was not to bring up the topic and start debates. Just like the rest of the Balkan countries, I had a curiosity of this place. And as in continued my journey in southeast Europe, I little by little, heard more and more pleasant things about Kosovo.

1) It’s beautiful

2) People are extremely kind

3) Kosovo people exceptionally love Americans (I’ll explain that in a bit)

Arrival – 1st city, Peja
I arrived by bus from Podgorica through the Sandzak mountains of Montenegro across the mountainous border of Kosovo down into my first stop, Peja. Peja is a cool city filled with locals and one hostel, where I stayed. Couchsurfing was a dead stop in Kosovo, which I learned later was due to many families living together in one household due to not so awesome salaries and living costs. In Peja, I spend some time walking around town, but where i really wanted to be was in Rugova valley, the mountainous corner of Kosovo in the same mountain range as north Albania and Montenegro.

Peja Kosovo Peja Kosovo

A Day in the Kosovo Mountains
My day trip into the mountains was surely not a planned one as I just simply walked into the valley and kept going. The views were insanely gorgeous as a river flows by a small roadway and on each side are high mountains. It makes you realize how small you are. Walking through the gorge led me to a small swing bridge, a restaurant and small makeshift community both with American flags, and to a point where a local offered me a ride on his tractor trailer, without even putting my thumb out. This hitchhiking experience so far is my most memorable to date. I mean, take a gorgeous valley, a flowing river, and riding solo on the back of a tractor like I was the only one that signed up for a school field trip. This was incredible and my video footage captured the cool dude showing the peace sign back at me as he handles the sharp turns of this narrow roadway. While I could have gone further with him to actual hiking trails, I asked to get off at the place near a village I wanted to see. After chucking deuces at each other, I saw him drive away and I continued on with my trek.

IMG_9222 Rugova Mountains Kosovo
Hitchhiking Kosovo Hitchhiking Kosovo

My hike wasn’t exactly a hike, but two hours got me through some beautiful and quiet local villages. Even had one farmer stop me from walking just so I can take a photo of him giving me the peace sign, that was also on video. My hike up the mountain was very dangerous, but my adventurous side continued up with 3 scrapes all the way to the top where I enjoyed some lunch and views of the doorway to heaven. I was literally in the clouds. At the end of this long day, I hit up a riverside restaurant on the way into town, enjoy a chicken dish as well as a brew, Peja.

Kosovo Mountains rugova Kosovo Mountains rugova
GoPro Kosovo Mountains rugova

Hitchhiking
Next day was my hitchhiking day, and thumbing it came very easily,taking no longer than a minute to hitch rides with really friendly people. En route to Prizren, I hitched a ride with a friendly local who spoke some English and even got him to say hi to the USA on camera. In regards to the USA, Kosovars love Americans as we practically liberated them from ongoing Serb attacks in and around Kosovo in the late 90s. This resulted in a bombing campaign identical to the one in Bosnia against Bosnian Serbs in the mid 90’s. As for being an American traveler, I am greeted so much more by locals. Not to sound ridiculous, but i really enjoyed it. This guy made an extra stop at an old Orthodox church for me before parting ways. My next ride got me into the next town where I befriended many locals who went insane when I told them I was from the USA, asking me questions and offering me some of their food. I was on a full stomach and I wanted them to enjoy their dishes. After one more ride, I caved in and took a bus to Prizren. The heat is unbearable during June.

Old Stone Bridge Kosovo

Old Stone Bridge

Prizren
Prizren is probably Kosovo’s tourism city, even though the locals outdo foreigners quite a lot. Prizren is home to one of my favorite coffee spots sitting along the river and enjoying views up at the city fortress. Hiking up to the fortress during the evening is the perfect choice as you not only avoid intense heat but the sunsets are incredible as the sun sets behind the mountains I had been in earlier in this blog. What i loved about Kosovo also, is that there is an American style brewery in Prishtina that distributes across Kosovo. After many months, I was able to enjoy a delicious India Pale Ale that had the authentic taste of an IPA from the states. This was in a bar in the city center.

Prizren Fortress sunset GoPro Prizren Kosovo Coffee
Sabaja Brewery IPA Kosovo

Kosovo Brewed IPA :))

Hitchhiking fail to Prishtina
My second hitchhiking journey to Prishtina wasn’t as awesome as the day before. As the roads in Kosovo aren’t so direct, it was really hard getting a ride that resulted in distance. It was hard getting a ride period. I actually walked many Kilometers out of Prizren to catch one ride into one of the neighboring towns. While Kosovo drivers are fairly persuasive in taking you to the bus station and because of the heat as well, I caved in once again and caught a bus to the capital city.

Prishtina
Prishtina is Kosovo’s administrative center and honestly isn’t too interesting as a tourism city. But it was certainly a cool city with a very active scene with couples, families, and friends walking around aimlessly enjoying a chill evening out. Prishtina does have an interesting National Library neighbored by an unfinished orthodox church, Newborn Monument for the independence of Kosovo (2008), as well as a statue of Bill Clinton. Yea, our most gangsta prez of Merica’ has a frickin statue on a street of the same name with a massive portrait of him above. Hell, there is even a Hillary clothing store nearby.

Bill Clinton Statue Kosovo Prishtina Prishtina Kosovo
Newborn Monument Prishtina Kosovo Unfinished Orthodox church Prishtina Kosovo
National Library of Kosovo

All in all, the Kosovo experience was very short but was certainly interesting. A memory that I will certainly keep. The beautiful landscape gossip turned out to be true. And the rides from those locals proved how incredibly kind Kosovo people truly are. From Prishtina, I made my way to Macedonian to continue my voyage onto Greece. Shit, I even saw a small replica of the Statue of Liberty atop of an apartment building. lol.

Thank you Kosovo for a proving to be incredible!

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