Balkans Day 1: Bergen to Prishtina

Almost three weeks ago our trip to the Balkans began, as usual on these days, with an early start and some last minute packing before taking the bus out to Flesland airport in Bergen.  The weather was grey and dull and we were hoping for an improvement upon our arrival in Kosova.

All went according to plan and our flight to Oslo left on time taking us to the capital’s Gardermoen airport in around 35 minutes. That was the easy part as we then had to hang around the terminal for about four hours waiting for the Prishtina flight.

Thankfully there were no delays and the plane took off on time for the slightly over three hours trip to Prishtina. The flight seemed like it was absolutely full of Kosovar families taking their summer holidays back home with us being the only ones daft enough to go there as tourists. Nonetheless, three hours later we were there in Kosova.

Flag
The official Kosovar flag adopted upon independence on February 17th 2008.

Immediately upon arrival is where it all started to unravel.  According to three or four internet sites we had checked there was a bus into the city.  With no sign of it we decided to enquire and were informed that the only bus was for airport workers!  Oh well, a taxi would have to do and even though it was a princely €25 we thought it’d be OK as we wouldn’t be wandering around a strange city with rucksacks.

After half an hour or so of driving around seemingly aimlessly we were dropped at the guest house only to discover it was the wrong one.  The guy who ran this place gave us vague directions to our actual destination and we had to set off through the streets of a strange city lugging rucksacks around!

Not being used to the heat we made heavy weather of struggling though the often badly paved streets of Prishtina until we found the main street, Agim Ramadani, and set off downhill.  Apparently the street we were looking for was on the right somewhere which would’ve been fine if more than 20% of the streets in the city were signposted!  After almost an hour’s fruitless search a young man who spoke pretty good English helped us out and eventually we found the guest house Arvisa where we would be spending two nights.

We were warmly welcomed by the guy working there, who turned out to be the owner, and shown to our room which was very neat and tidy and had a small private balcony.

Balcony
The evening view back towards the city centre from our balcony.

After all the travelling and the stress of trying to find the Arvisa we decided it would be better to just sit out on the balcony that night and chill out with a drink or two.  After checking with Sefa, the owner, we headed off to a local supermarket passing a street market right outside the guest house on the way.

Market
The street market right outside the guest house.

It felt kind of strange to still be in Europe with minarets surrounding us with the sounds of the evening call to prayer at the mosque as we walked through the streets not being able to understand a word of the language around us, but it was definitely a good feeling to be in a new country with so much still to discover, but that could wait until day two…

Way
The road that led to the local supermarket.
Minaret
One of the minarets of Prishtina surrounded by the more modern and often unfinished buildings of the city.
Birre
Getting into the Balkan spirit I chose a few beers from Kosova, Albania and this one, from Montenegro.
Dusk
As night began to fall the shopkeepers at the market began to clear up at the end of a long day

26 thoughts on “Balkans Day 1: Bergen to Prishtina

  1. I lived & worked in Kosovo for 4 years. Your pictures are fabulous – Brings back some very fond memories. I look forward to following you guys on this adventure!

    And PS: haha, I had to laugh at the “vague directions” & “streets with no signposts” — some things I definitely do not miss ;D

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  2. I read part two first so it’s interesting now to find out how you got there! I think I would have been very grumpy by the time I got to the guest house! Sounds a fascinating place, love the photos!

    Like

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