Balkans Day 3: Prishtina to Prizren

Waking quite early as usual to the by now familiar sounds of the market stirring to life we got up and packed ready to set off on part two of our adventure.  The guesthouse owner Sefa said he would drive us to the bus station as it was a bit out of the way and awkward to get to.  Now that’s what I call service!

Sefa
Sefa, an ex-Yugoslav military pilot turned guesthouse owner, economist and friend of highly placed Kosovan government figures. An interesting wee man!

Jumping into the car we sped off almost ten yards before we were caught up in the chaos of cars, people and stalls that comprised the local market.  After having performed a fifty-point turn and edging forward a few inches at a time we eventually got out and set off through the Prishtina streets to the bus station.

Saying our goodbyes to Sefa we found our bus and had to wait only ten minutes or so before we were under way towards Prizren our next destination and Kosova‘s second city.

After negotiating our way through some initial traffic jams we were soon heading across a plain dotted with farms and some random modern hotels where the main crop appeared to be corn.  Unfortunately the bus windows were filthy so I couldn’t get any photos of the journey or the landscape!

A guy came round to collect the ticket money and ours cost a joint total of €8 ($10.66/£6.82).  Not bad for a journey of some ninety minutes and around 75km.

The road soon entered more hilly country and wound its way through the forested slopes before coming out onto another plain with the Sar mountains in the distance and the town of Prizren nestling at their foot.Coming into the city it was immediately obvious that it was a much more picturesque place than Prishtina and after alighting at the bus station and setting off towards the centre and our well signposted hostel this impression was certainly not dispelled.

Checking in at the City Hostel where our room was neat, clean and comfy we set off to explore the town.  First up was a walk down one side of the Prizrenska Bistrica (the river which runs through the centre)  and then up the other before exploring some of the area around the square and up into the shopping district.

Kalaja
Looking along the river towards the Prizren fortress perched above the city.
Mountains
Looking downriver towards the Sar Mountains.
Bridge
The Old Stone Bridge with the Sinan Pasha mosque in the heart of town.
Dining
Plenty of shade down by the riverside for the afternoon diners.

The shopping streets were in an area off to left as you come upriver opposite the Sinan Pasha Mosque and the main street in this area is a chaotic collection of shops selling just about everything imaginable.  This area also houses the old Turkish baths from the city’s Ottoman era.

Baths
The Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hammam (Turkish Baths of Prizren).
Shops
One of the shopping streets filled with cars, people and goods of all descriptions.

After our foray into the shopping district we recrossed the river and went into some of the backstreets of the older part of town before returning to the hostel.

Main
Crossing the main street where people seem to think the pavement is for parking.
Quaint
Some of the quainter backstreets near our hostel.

Getting a free beer from the guy running the hostel was one bonus of our afternoon return there but we also picked up some info on where to eat and after a brief rest set off for the Besimi restaurant.  It looked nice enough from the outside and we prepared to sit down at a table there when a waiter told us we’d be better to go through to the courtyard at the back.

Courtyard
  The courtyard at the back of the restaurant where this garden area was surrounded by shaded tables.

We decided order up a couple of local dishes which were washed down by local beer and wine.  Both were very tasty and the food was meat dishes served up with pickled white and red cabbage, salad, carrot and sauce as well as a local bread which resembled a naan.

Beef
Cheese-filled beef and all the trimmings.

We spent a couple of leisurely hours there lingering over the food and enjoying a few more drinks before paying our almost negligible bill (less than twenty Euros for food and several drinks) and then wandered back to the hostel via the riverside route which was beautiful in the late evening sunshine.

Stroll
The sunlight glints on the river during our stroll back to the hostel.

We rounded off a lovely day by chatting with some of our fellow guests and the guy running the place who insisted on plying me with free beer (and wine for Mrs Mjollnir) before retiring to the rooftop terrace to finish the evening.

Peja
Albanian Peja beer provided free at the hostel. Thanks Galdim!
Terrace
Night on the terrace where we finished off our great day in Prizren.

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Balkans Day 3: Prishtina to Prizren

  1. “Unfortunately the bus windows were filthy so I couldn’t get any photos of the journey or the landscape!” 😀 (my humour, excuse me… but I smiled reading these lines)

    Nice story, nice images – you are a good writer.

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    1. Pretty untouristy apart from a few of the more intrepid amongst us. For me living in Norway everywhere except Switzerland and Japan is cheap but Kosova and Albania especially so. 😀

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      1. Sounds like my kind of place. I did “touristy” Europe when I was a teen, a 4-week high school trip. If I ever make it back, I want to do all the not-so-touristy places …. though, anymore, once places get “discovered” they seem to become touristy overnight.

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  2. One thing I’m always struck by is the much more informal yet competitive approach to …everything…one finds in the hotter parts of the world. Where you and I come from people are much more polite, mannerly and diligent about getting along and picking up after themselves. We don’t park on sidewalks, jostle ahead of one another or compete for scarce resources. Instead, we try and find a way to share them; to make it work for all. This is quite a wake-up, eh? While nice, I like our way better.

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    1. That’s true in many ways but it’s also a part of experiencing things in other countries and cultures. That’s why we travel unless you’re one of those people content with two weeks on a beach shouting at Manuel ‘cos he doesn’t understand English! Different strokes and all that stuff. Some things I could do without but as a visitor just passing through I think it’s up to me to just observe. Anyway it’s always nice to see what the done thing is elsewhere even if it’s not always 100% agreeable 😀

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  3. What an excellent post – I will be back to enjoy more! You have chosen quite an unusual place to visit, but it looks fascinating. I am glad you like “In search of unusual destinations”, by the way. We must be kindred spirits! Phil.

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