KOSOVO: Banja (mineral baths) & Peja (Rugova Gorge) and more!

I got my car and I’m heading to Peja, home of Peja Beer.  I stop at Hostel Sarac and ask about the nearby hot mineral baths.  He stated “that’s a local thing” “you want to go there?”  the “local thing” got me very interested.  I drive the 20 km to ONIX SPA RESORT and sign up.  I like this place, I feel so young,  most everyone here is in their 70’s & 80’s +.  I rent a room for $25 euro which includes:  brand new room with big flat screen TV, doctor visit to talk about my health, prescription to get healthier:  electric shock therapy, hot wax treatment, therapeutic massage and 10 minutes in the mineral bath.  I was thinking only 10 minutes?  I love hot water, I had to force myself to stay in the 10 minutes.  The regular guys were under the pipe where the hot water came into the pool.  After all that, there’s a brand-new olympic size swimming pool you can use too.  Did I mention it includes breakfast and dinner too.  I stayed 2 days.
I walked around after my treatments and saw the Albanian garbage thing in a local park.  It must be a generational thing, when I talk to the young people, they all hate it.

The one restaurant in town suggested I drive to the new restaurant on the hill. The restaurant had a HUGE fish farming operation, Ujvara e Drinit.   I studied aquaculture in college and always wanted to do that as a business.    When you walk up, there’s a stream FULL of fish.  I ordered BBQ filet of fish, 5 euro, it was super.
I like traveling, meeting new people, hiking, taking photos, eating out.  But I get the most satisfaction giving back to an area I’m visiting.  After photographing the park garbage I thought, this needs cleaning up and maybe a lesson learned.  So while drinking that excuse for beer Peja, I told the bartender I wanted to hire 3 kids and pay them to help me clean-up the park.  I finally got one, but he couldn’t get any of his buddies to come help.  I worked 3 hours and probably picked up 12 large garbage bags worth of garbage.  I paid him 10 euro.  So I asked him for a selfie! , The first photo I got that Albanian smile, none.   Then I said how about a smile?  It was good times.  It was hard work, I was in bed early.

The hostel guy also suggested I go up the Gorge behind Peja.  I drive up there, it’s beautiful, solid rock tunnels, garbage strewn and scary warning signs.   I stop at this hotel/restaurant for a coffee first, then upside down labeled Peja IPA I had to try it. The owners brother is an artist and had his art all around the restaurant, really fun stuff.

While driving to Gjakova, I’m doing some research for potential future bike tour routes.  The “back” roads always have interesting things happening.  Hence the fun photos

Ok that’s enough for now.  Visiting Europe?  get off the Paris, Barcelona, Rome route and visit the Balkans.  It’s affordable and the people are super nice.
See you down the road

Next: Gjakova and Prizren: bike tour, castle hike and more.
FYI: Natasa and I were divorced as of last week.  I didn’t have a plan B, I’m working on it now.  I’m fine. Jeff

2 thoughts on “KOSOVO: Banja (mineral baths) & Peja (Rugova Gorge) and more!

  1. That spa sounds wonderful and what a deal. We’re back on the mainland fron Hawaii to the cold and rain. But spring is here and bursting out all over and everything is beautiful!
    Big Hugs,

  2. This was good luck indeed: After several weeks of work for a EU-funded project in Pristina I thought I needed a spa for relaxation. I found your story, and today is my third day in Onix Spa Resort. I wanted to stay for 2 nights, but then I found this would not be enough. By the way, yesterday at dinner I met people who were born in Prizren and are living now in Switzerland. They come here every year, and of a sudden they told me about a fascinating guy from the States who was here last time and engaged in collecting all the garbage from the park.

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