Wikipedia called Brod, Kosovo “One of the most spectacular mountain villages in the Balkans.” That’s one advantage to using a car versus riding public transportation, you can go off the beaten path.
I thought the road in Albania was narrow and scary, this road? I’m driving on the left side of the road. The road is 1 1/2 lanes wide,on the right side is an occasional guardrail and a sheer drop off. I finally get to “town”, it’s a village of one lane streets with a cow walking on nearly every street. I follow the hotel signs to see what they have to offer.
The hotel is 3 km from Brod. So I drive into town park and walk (limp) around taking photos. The whole town is narrow one lane streets, maybe 5 little streets. I feel like I stepped back in time, with all the stone buildings and buildings covered with cow shit. I take a trail and this guy comes running by with his cow tied to a rope. I quickly take his photo, then he stops and poses for a picture. About 10 minutes more of walking I come to what seems like the center of town, a store and a coffee shop. The cute little cow I photographed is having his head cut off, right in the center of town. It’s a Muslim town and when animals are killed they slit their throat. They believe that the blood must be drained out it’s called Halal. There’s a guy next to the butcher hosing the blood into the river. Several people are standing around watching. I’m in a remote village for sure.
That was interesting. I go back to the hotel, pack a small lunch and take a hike. Yep, there’s garbage everywhere, WTF! Remember this is a national park and is visited by people who enjoy nature, but they still find it ok to throw their garbage around? I always carry extra bags in my pack for shopping, but I’m going to use one to collect garbage. After 10 minutes I can’t carry any more garbage out.
I spent 2 nights here, it’s time to go. I take a few photos on my way out of town. I start noticing that the city signs or for that matter all signs are partially painted over? I find out that the top spelling is Albanian and the bottom is Serbian. The Serbians are unwelcome here, and one by one they have moved.
I’m driving to Ferizaj just to take a few pictures of a Mosque next to the Serbian Orthodox Church. I pass the largest U.S. military base built since the Vietnam war, Camp Bondsteel. Rumors are the it holds international prisoners like Guantanamo. I’m planning on staying overnight in Gjilan. I stop at the main hotel in Gjilan 40euro, no. Then I find another hotel 15 euro, maybe? I had read about the Draganac Monastery, where you can spend the night, why not? So I stay the night at the Monastery and make a video!
Those who know me, know I collect rocks from the places I visit. So going to the Marble Caves is a must visit for me. The stalagmites and stalactites take 30,000 years to grow 1mm (.04 inch). “NO PHOTOS” My personal guide said “since you’re American, you can take some photos” mmmm OK. I shot some video of the musical stalactites and a stalagmite and stalactite that will be a million years old when they “finally” touch.
After watching this video, it makes me wish I made more.
I was a day early coming back to Pristina. So I found this great hotel for only 20 euro. HUGE TV, jacuzzi tub, living room, deck. I re-packed all my stuff for my flight. Kosovo is Beef, Beef, Beef everywhere. I don’t like beef so I had to do some homework to find some vegetarian restaurants. The 2 women cyclist I met in Albania were Vegan. They admitted they strayed a few times and were hungry several times too, I can only imagine. I went to BaBa Ghanoush several times. The new “healthy” vegan option place is Green Protein, but their webpage and facebook page aren’t up and running yet.
When I was in Prizren the hostel guy said I had to go to the local pub and try Kosovo’s new IPA, SABAJA. Alex the brewer is in Pristina and from New York, so I call him and ask if I can come by. I take a Taxi there and hang for an hour drinking “GREAT” beer. He married a Kosovo women and they have been living in Kosovo for 5 years. I appreciated their beer, but if you’ve been drinking Peja (Kosovo beer), you don’t have the appreciation for Sabaja. He has a huge job trying to change taste in Kosovo. I wish him good luck and keep up the fight!
I’m back at Hostel Han in Pristina. I didn’t mention about the water situation in Pristina. The city water is off from 10pm until 6am. No showering during those times and there’s a water storage tank in the bathroom for the toilet.
I’m off to the airport, carrying a borderline weight checked bag. Alex gave me a beer for the road, that I enjoyed at the airport. That was my last beer since I’ve been back. I’m getting too fat and have stopped drinking, eating bread and pasta and started an exercise program. I’m going back to America and don’t want to see the look on their faces.
Well this is the last of my 3 weeks in Kosovo. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Next: I’m on a 3 week farewell camping tour of Slovenia I will be posting some of that trip on my Facebook page.