Crossing the border, a youthful city in a young country, and an explosion of natural beauty

Prizren Travel Blog

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First of all, I think Travbuddy, after a whole year of recognized independance, should also recognize Kosovo / Kosova as a country.

February 21, 2009

We pulled to the station at the border of Macedonia and Kosova. The border guard entered the bus and start picking up passports briefly looking at them as he collected them. He stops with mine and asked questions. Are you KFOR? (The military and civilian presence there helping them) and he also asked if I was traveling on to Serbia. Serbia will not allow enrtrance into their country from Kosova if you entered Kosova from any other country. So, he was being kind in asking the questions. There were no problems and were allowed to resume the journey after 30 minutes of passport checks.

The last of our daylight was spent viewing some of the most beautiful snow covered mountain scenery I have seen.

It reminded me a bit of Colorado but with less development, unspoiled, NEW. Kosova considers itself "newborn" In many ways, it seems that it is.

The southern part of the country's mountain town have much new development. It has a feeling to it that is not that different than newer development in American cities. If you didn't know you were in might think you were in the US.

We pulled in to Prizren station...a parking lot, close to 7pm. The taxi drivers attacked!!! I said no, thinking that I could walk. I walk everywhere. So, I attempted to call the hotel.....many many times. Either my calling technique was faulty or the cell service was to blame. It really doesn't matter, now.

I had to go back and choose a taxi, GREAT! I approached the first taxi at the corner and told him that I wanted to go to the Catholic church (the closest lanmark to the pension). He didn't understand me. I tried go. I had been given another landmark of the Red Cross go. So, he took me into a restaraunt and we consulted 2 other guys, one who could speak a little English. He told the driver......some word and then Catholica. He seemed to understand. I really don't know how I was not understood. Anyway, he told me that the ride would be 2 euro and we were on our way. In about 10 minutes of rattling and sputtering the car stopped and we were at the Catholic church. He let me out and I headed out to find my room for the night. It should have been easier than I made it but, after walking in circles for about another 10 minutes, this man said .
..."over here".  At that point I saw the pension sign over his head. I had made it!!!!!!!!!!

I settled in and set out for dinner. There were so many people out socializing for the evening in the old town. They were almost exclusively young....quite young. ...mid 20's or younger. There were so many, in fact, I started to wonder what they had done with the "adults". Anyway, I strolled abit, myself, becoming apart of the ritual......through the square, passed the Orthodox Church, along the river, circle by the mosque, repeat. It feels like a place people enjoy being. It's not overly quaint or touristy.

I had my dinner, a little cafe called Holiday. They have a bit of was good and very inexpensive.

I went back to Oltas Pension to call it a night. I met the grand daughter of the owner (Anita), who is studying medicine.

She will leave her country once she has her degree. Opportunities are available in Kosova but, the pay for a doctor is around 250 euro. This is only 50 euro than a teacher. It is hard to live on either of these salaries.

February 22, 2009

I awakened to a bit of snow falling. Now being able to see the city by daylight, I was anxious to get started. I took a walk, retracing my steps from last night. WOW! The setting of architecture and nature is stunning. I walked along the river. The clouds start to give way to majestic mountains in the distance........just beautiful. I decide to walk up the mountain above the city, where the bombed out Serbian Orthodox church and fortress are. I am in awe as I assend and see the lanscape unfolding.

I am stopped briefly buy a man who speaks to me (in Albanian). I say hello. Now he speaks to me in good English. He asks where I am from. I tell him and then he asks where I work. He assumes that I am apart of KFOR. I tell him that I am a tourist and he shows amazement.  He asks what I think of the city and also says that things are getting better everyday. He seems quite proud of his city. He tells me to enjoy the view and the day.

 I continue to walk up the steep hill. I approach the bombed out Serbian Orthodox Church (Being used by KFOR military forces). There is fencing and razor wire everywhere along here. I get too close and my coat and jeans become casualties of the security measures.

The church is amazing in its ruined state, military presence or not. I am aware that people are inside watcing my every move........I move along.

I reach the summit and the remains of the fortress. WOW! The view.......all of Prizren......all of the valley, and so many mountains. I walk along the mountain, where it follows the river revealing a canyon that stretches ......well, to Albania The highest one in the distance covered with snow....actually, Albania.

Along the path, I pass a heard of sheep being loud and playful in the warmth of the sunny day. I've now walked for about an hour.....towards nowhere....I start back, taking in the grandeur of the scenery all around.

I return to the Serbian Orthodox Church on the hill at sunset. I love watching as the colors stream across the sky, against the snow and the mountains. It makes me feel the world. I watch as the city lights start coming on and the youth of the city start the ritual, agian. It's comforting.

Adrian_Liston says:
TravBuddy doesn't recognise Kosovo? Poor form.
Posted on: Mar 03, 2009
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Prizren Hostels review
Great Value, Great Location, Mountain View, Friendly People!!!
First of all, What friendly people here. Anita will help you with whatever you need. She is so nice. So, the pension is in the Old town across the riv… read entire review
Prizren Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Cheap but tasty meals with a river view across from the Turkish Bridge
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43 km (27 miles) traveled
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photo by: tj1777