A Travellerspoint blog

Day 8

Peje and Pristine

-1 °C

The next morning I took the bus to Peje, left my backpack at the ticket office as there is no luggage safe keeping service, and explored the town for a few hours.
The mountains west of town are the eastern edge of the Dinaric Alps.
This ridge goes along the western border ending in Macedonia.

These mountains are part of the P3 – Peace Park Project of Albania, Montenegro and Kosova. Let's hope this park will come true soon enough' even though its possible to travel there today by crossing between the countries at th border crossing points.

After visiting Peje and having a Peja beer I took the bus to Pristine/Prishtina - the Capital.

The cab drivers of the central bus station of Pristine are robbers.
They try to charge 5-7 euros for a rather short ride in the city, so I went out of the station and took a cab on the street for less than 2 euros.

I went to Valenia guesthouse and met Nigel, a nice English guy, so we went together to Gracanica monastery and afterwards around town and then had dinner together.
Dinner was very tasty and expensive, but on the next day we both had stomach problems. So it's better to eat at a busy fast food stall (Kebap, Kofte etc.) for an euro or two, much cheaper and safer.

Posted by sapan 03:55 Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Day 7

Valbon, Bajram Curri, Tropoja and Gjakova.

sunny 20 °C

Following the recommendation I went with the family. most of them went home, but the driver and one other showed me Bajram Curri and Tropoja, then took me to Gjakova.

The road to Tropoja and to the border is a fabules mountain road, but than, in Kosova it becomes flat and less interesting.

Gjakova center is old, maybe medieval, and although there are many mosques, it's dominated by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The rest of town is what many Israelis would call Aza(Gaza), partly because of damages through the war and also because of neglect, as many residents went to Albania for safety.

In the old town I'd seen a silversmith's shop with the name Simoni, that seemed Jewish to me, so I went in and asked the owner, and found out he was Serbian named Simon and Simoni means Simon's grandson (like Simonovich in Russian)
Simon was very interested in Israel as I was in Kosova and Gjakova, so we had a long conversation, together with a neighbor on a cup of Turkish coffee and some raki.
I gave Simon samples of Israeli coins and went on to explore town.

Posted by sapan 12:49 Archived in Albania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Days 5-6

Kuman lake and Valbone valley

sunny 17 °C

The ferry trip through the amazing Koman lake in Valbona river gorge, was outstanding and the road from Shkodra to Koman and from Fierza to Valbon are some of the best scenic roads in a country where most roads are scenic.
I spent two wonderful days at Valbone valley at another homestay. I've seen two places accommodating tourists, Alfred's family's who own the Rillindja Kafe-restaurant and the Kol Gjoni "hotel" Valbon the other edge of on near Rragami and the Valbon pass.
In Rragami they are building now a restaurant with a few nice wooden cabins.
I've heard about people of Rragami who let rooms at their houses too.

There are many trails in the valley and the surrounding mountains and mountain climbing treks as well.
I took some quite easy trails on the way to Rragami and back. on the way back it was raining a bit but it didn't stop me of going to Rillindja for Turkish coffee.

At the place were Alfred and Alfred, the owner and the local policeman, having coffee, Raki and native pistachio nuts. this pistachio nuts were not roasted and I didn't like their taste.
We talked about the country, the economy an about Israel. Many Shqiptar I talked too like Israel. They are pretty surprised to learn that Israel is even smaller than Shqiperia.

There are several reasons for their attitude towards Israel: Shqiptar are very tolerant to other people beliefs. From days of Christianity, there were Catholics and Orthodoxies there who lived in peace. The Turks made some people convert to Islam, so in the family were both Christians and Moslem (Skanderbeg's wife was Orthodox). The chieftains oath was based on cooperation between people of different religions and the free country had no formal religion (Moslem became majority only after the Turks reconcord the country).

Jews, like all the others enjoyed freedom of belief and were equal citizens. Then in world war II the Shqiptar defended the Jews from discrimination and no Jews in the country were deported of exterminated by the Nazis. Israel acknowledged this by giving the nation title of "Righteous among the Nations". People heard about that and appreciate it.

When I told people there is great similarity between this two ancient people from the 2nd millennium BC that still keep their culture through the ages, they agreed with enthusiasm.

Later I told Alfred, the policeman that the area must be very calm if he can seat most day at the Kafe, talk, lough and have coffee and raki. He misunderstood me at first and was offended, but than he got the point, laughed and started telling police action stories.

Later in the evening I had a very interesting conversation with a tourist guide from Tirana about his language, Semitic languages and his country and mine.

I also met there a lot of family relatives who came to visit from the near town Bajram Curri and a cousin from Tirana who was a highschool student and spoke good English.
This young boy and some other relatives are from Peje in Kosova, and they persuaded me I should go there.

Posted by sapan 12:45 Archived in Albania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Days 5-6

Kuman lake and Valbone valley

sunny 17 °C

The ferry trip through the amazing Koman lake in Valbona river gorge, was outstanding and the road from Shkodra to Koman and from Fierza to Valbon are some of the best scenic roads in a country where most roads are scenic.
I spent two wonderful days at Valbone valley at another homestay. I've seen two places accommodating tourists, Alfred's family's who own the Rillindja Kafe-restaurant and the Kol Gjoni "hotel" Valbon the other edge of on near Rragami and the Valbon pass.
In Rragami they are building now a restaurant with a few nice wooden cabins.
I've heard about people of Rragami who let rooms at their houses too.

There are many trails in the valley and the surrounding mountains and mountain climbing treks as well.
I took some quite easy trails on the way to Rragami and back. on the way back it was raining a bit but it didn't stop me of going to Rillindja for Turkish coffee.

At the place were Alfred and Alfred, the owner and the local policeman, having coffee, Raki and native pistachio nuts. this pistachio nuts were not roasted and I didn't like their taste.
We talked about the country, the economy an about Israel. Many Shqiptar I talked too like Israel. They are pretty surprised to learn that Israel is even smaller than Shqiperia.

There are several reasons for their attitude towards Israel: Shqiptar are very tolerant to other people beliefs. From days of Christianity, there were Catholics and Orthodoxies there who lived in peace. The Turks made some people convert to Islam, so in the family were both Christians and Moslem (Skanderbeg's wife was Orthodox). The chieftains oath was based on cooperation between people of different religions and the free country had no formal religion (Moslem became majority only after the Turks reconcord the country).

Jews, like all the others enjoyed freedom of belief and were equal citizens. Then in world war II the Shqiptar defended the Jews from discrimination and no Jews in the country were deported of exterminated by the Nazis. Israel acknowledged this by giving the nation title of "Righteous among the Nations". People heard about that and appreciate it.

When I told people there is great similarity between this two ancient people from the 2nd millennium BC that still keep their culture through the ages, they agreed with enthusiasm.

Later I told Alfred, the policeman that the area must be very calm if he can seat most day at the Kafe, talk, lough and have coffee and raki. He misunderstood me at first and was offended, but than he got the point, laughed and started telling police action stories.

Later in the evening I had a very interesting conversation with a tourist guide from Tirana about his language, Semitic languages and his country and mine.

I also met there a lot of family relatives who came to visit from the near town Bajram Curri and a cousin from Tirana who was a highschool student and spoke good English.
This young boy and some other relatives are from Peje in Kosova, and they persuaded me I should go there.

Posted by sapan 12:45 Archived in Albania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Days - 3-4

Thethi village and national park and back to Shkodra

sunny 15 °C

The north most ridge of Shqiperia is part of the Dinaric Alps that go further south east along Kosova's border.
There are two valleys that cut these mountains. Thethi in the west on the head of Shala river and Valbon river in the east.
Between this valleys there is Valbon mountain and a pass at about 1850 m.

I planed to cross that pass, but couldn't get a topographic map and a guide wanted too much (60 Euro) for my budget. (going back to Shkodra, a night there and going by road and ferry cost me less than half).

The pass can be dangerous, an experienced local guy slided to his death lately trying to cross an unstable scree.

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Posted by sapan 03:42 Archived in Albania Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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