This trip has been about doing things a little bit different to the traditional tourist traps, with approximately 36,000 tourists a year in the Kosovan capital Pristina this city certainly meets the requirements here.
Unfortunately the only way in was on an overnight but – these are not fun at all for anyone who wasn’t quite sure – actually terrible is probably the most appropriate descriptor. Although probably the single thing that could upgrade the trip to bearable would be air conditioning – after several hours on a bus it can start to smell like a farm.
We arrived at our hostel at 4:30 and I can honestly say rarely have I been happier to see a bed. Our hostel was full of many quirky characters, most of them staff but a cool place to stay in a great location right alongside the main street in the town.
Kosovo is a remarkable country; as the world’s second youngest countries it is one of the least touristic countries in the world with only 36,000 tourists making it there every year. This is in stark contrast against Paris that boasts a reputation as the tourist capital off the world. Kosovo’s history is littered with conflict – only officially recognised in 2008.
When we ventured out to explore the sights I was surprised to see how much attention we were getting from some of the locals, especially as we explored the Bazaar and the markets. One of the other things that I was surprised by was the love for America in this city, resulting from the airstrike campaign by NATO in the late 90s. As such, there are a few streets named after former American presidents, and one statue of Bill Clinton.
A relaxing day sightseeing, and enjoying some of the Euro games – although I am not a soccer fan – when in Europe however both John and I decided to pick Euro teams to support for the tournament.
Kosovo is a cheap country with food available at bargain prices, although the nicer restaurants can be a little harder to find, while in Kotor we met an American family involved with the under-construction embassy who were able to recommend a few good places, however we were left a little wanting when promised that the Thai restaurant was incredible. Alas we may just be spoiled for choice in Australia.
The next day we took a lesson in the cultures and practices of the people from the Kosovo region many years earlier as we explored the etymology museum – it was an interesting snapshot into a culture that was, and still is quite different to our own back home.
Being a Friday we ventured out to discover some of the night life that was on offer in Pristina – a very different vibe – especially in the first stop. Club M is essentially a house where they have installed a bar, all night long they play deep house and it is quite a cool little vibe. A throw back to our castle rave in Belgrade. Our second stop was the famous Skybar atop the grand hotel – one of Kosovo’s trendier places without the western drink prices. Our last stop was the Bahnhoff Club pitched as quite a trendy and happening place, we were left a little disappointed and our night came to a close at the respectable time of 3:30.
The next day was a completely random day in Pristina – we were asked by our hostel if we wanted to star in a TV commercial. One of the unofficial rules that John and I both subscribe to is never to turn down cool opportunities – perhaps why we travel so well together! Of course we said yes and we were up relatively early to make the trip to the ‘set’ – a bar close by to our hostel.
This was one of the most fun days on the trip, I mean film sets are fun at the best of time, but we met an amazing crew of people, fellow travelers, and had the pleasure of working with one of Kosovo’s better agencies, Gold Lion commended Karrota. I will let the ad speak for itself but it was loads of fun! Especially throwing someone across the bar (sorry again Guy!) although we did do it in 1 take! This was the cherry on top for us in Kosovo! An unbelievable way to finish what is quite a cool little city.