Day 8 – Wine Tasting in Prison

27 Sep

The breakfast meeting of the group swapped stories about the hotel and wedding that went on to at least 2am. Jan also had a shower door that fell off,  so not feeling so bad about that.  Endrit looked like he had had no sleep at all last night. Looking forward to tasting Chateau Domestos later.

As it turned out, everyone was early for the bus. Obviously couldn’t wait to escape Fawlty Towers. Rob discovered that his TV was tuned to the adult porn channels by default. I had to suffer Sky News channel. There was also a distinct reluctance to discuss the Wales victory in their Rugby World Cup match the night before.

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Bambi - hot milk with chocolate sauce

We headed off towards Rahovec, the wine region of Kosovo. We stopped off first in Rahovec town where we waited to pick up our tour guide in a coffee shop. One request for hot chocolate, and several glasses of hot milk with some chocolate sauce were produced. Very nice.

Our new female guide, Serbian speaking with just a hint of a Canadian accent, took us to the tourist information centre and gave us some background on why Kosovan wine is not a great hit internationally.
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Our first vineyard of the day was a short walk away. Being a small family winery it couldn’t compete with the two commercial scale wineries in the region, but did provide a very good selection of two white and three red wines. Raki and non alcoholic grape juice were also sampled. The local grape is known as black wine as it’s so dark. It’s local for a reason. The rest were fantastic with the group getting much better acquainted as the morning progressed.

We staggered out an hour later (with several bottles of raki) to be met with local kids and water balloons. Back in the bus, still dry, we hoped that Fati, our driver, had only been on the grape juice.

Our lunch stop was the Esra Palace, a rather elaborate affair that was also hosting a wedding. Only the female guests were attending, as the males drink too much. The groom is allowed to turn up later on to dance with his wife!
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Due to the large party next door, or incompetence, it took over an hour for my kebab to arrive. They need to take some lessons from Casablanca on the Clep. After some light grumbling from others, our temp guide showed her true stroppy light by declaring loudly that “this isn’t England you know”.

Things only went downhill from there with her.

We eventually drove off to a Serbian village and another winery. Thankfully the monastery was closed so a third tasting session was avoided.
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The Serb family were very welcoming, even to Endrit, our Albanian guide, with enough food to put the Esra Palace to shame. We started with brandy and then a raspberry version. Not bad. Unfortunately the wine that followed was not. I eventually had to use their toilet.

Back on the bus, we reached Prizren (pronounced similarly to “Prison”) and our hotel for the next two nights was centrally located. Between at least two mosques! Had a brief walk around the old part off the city and ended up in the Johnnie Walker bar eating chicken fingers.

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Ottoman bridge

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Serbian owned houses torched and abandoned since 2004

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