Day 7 – Around Prishtina

26 Sep

I managed to hobble down to breakfast after waking up at least three times in the night. My back seems to have popped something important.
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Made it to the bus and the first stop of the day was a waterfall just outside Peja. This is the start of the White Drini,  the major river in Kosovo. It didn’t look much at this time of year as the water level was quite low. Myself and the other cripples hobbled back to the bus. The now usual dogs greeting us.
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Next stop was a tower to commemorate the Battle of Kosovo of 1389. The Serbian Catholics got wiped out by the Ottoman Empire. Somehow they still claim a victory. It was a bit overgrown with weeds and the sole policeman on duty was looking incredibly bored whilst managing to watch the Kosovan version of Pointless at the same time. After a climb up the tower we met a couple of dogs who welcomed us back to the bus.

Arriving at the outskirts of Prishtina, we stopped off for lunch at the Vila Belvedere. Most of my fellow cripples decided on a light lunch. The high walls were supposed to help simulate an Italian villa, complete with pool fountain that encouraged most to use the facilities.
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We then visited the Monastery Grachanista, where a very quiet nun gave us a superbly brief rundown of the history and explained that the 4000 frescoes inside were far better than any we had seen elsewhere. I’m sure they would have been if only they had turned some lights on. Whilst wandering inside we also witnessed a wedding, Serbian style. We tried to avoid getting in their photos, but a German detachment of KFOR turned up and together we managed to spoil it for them completely. They did do a rather nifty little dance though to keep us entertained. Some of the members of our group tried to turn it into the hokey cokey. I could see our Albanian guide’s confusion at it all. No security here as the monastery was in a Serbian area of Prishtina.

We then checked in to the three star Hotel Brilant. Not a great name. Bit of a come down from the one in Peja, but back to the normal standard.
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We escaped back to the centre of the city where we stopped off at the Tito era sports centre with a very weird roof design. On a walking tour we also took in the “newborn” statue, Mother Teresa avenue, the government buildings and parliament, a statue of Skanderbeg – also the national hero of Kosovo – several mosques, and the usual assortment of beggars and dogs.

There was one particularly persistent kid in bare feet with his jumper on inside out, that our guide found difficult to chase away.
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We visited the faith mosque aka Kings mosque and were shown around by the imam.

We then took a tour of the mop and tap shops whilst Endrit tried to find a museum that some of the group had wanted to visit. After 10 minutes he decreed that the map was wrong and left us to find some food. I gave in to my usual food choices and had pizza, which was most filling. Excellent restaurant, but completely empty except for the three of us.

Meeting back at the not so Grand Hotel, we met a few friendly fighting dogs before heading back to the bus in the light rain that started.
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Back at the hotel the wedding party was in full swing, filing every room with the sweet sound of a bass drum beat until at least midnight. I broke the shower cubicle door – it came off the rail. Hopefully a better hotel tomorrow.

There is probably a reason why we didn’t have a hotel in the centre of the city.

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