KOSOVO - PRISTINE
“Lach Get out your pass port” Drew said. I opened my eyes groggily and looked outside not really registering what Drew had said. “Passport Lach” Drew repeated. My eyes began to focus, but something wasn’t right, Everything was white. I looked back in the bus and a massive police officer was staring at me. “Passport, Welcome to Kosovo” he said. I looked back outside, everything was covered in snow. It looked freezing.
We’ve been traveling along a snow covered road in a thick snoww storm for a good half an hour now and I’m glad the driver knows the road coz I can hardly see it. For a while I was thankful that we were stuck behind a car that was traveling at a intelligent speed. Never the less the bus driver waited for a blind corner and overtook, swerving back onto the right side of the road as soon as we were past the car.
The snow is pretty thick now, and it’s messing with the drivers visability both inside and out. The outside is a snowstorm and the inside is fogging up pretty badly, this is accounted for though by the drivers off hander who’s periodically standing up and wiping the inside of the windscreen down with a cloth.
We were woken at 4 by the bus driver saying “We made it, Tetove” not sure if that was meant to be “We were lucky to make it, Tetove” Drew and I got out. It was freezing. We grabbed our packs and headed over to the shelter of the station where we were quickly assaulted by a taxi man.
Drew made the mistake of answering his questions, dumb and he was soon offering us a ride to Pristina. I left drew to sort out his mess, he could learn the hard way.
We sat there for about 30 minutes getting up momentarily as Drew had spotted a train station we could wait inside of. There were locals waiting outside too so I was skeptical. “Are you sure it’s the train station Drew?” “Yep”, “Are u sure we can sit in it.” “Yep”. we walked over to it and we could get in it. But only because half the windows and the door were missing from the dilapidated Slum of a building which definitely wasn‘t a train station. Good spot Drew.
Luckily for us the Driver from the bus from Tirana approached us. He said something and I wasn’t sure if he said “Come and wait on the bus” or “Come around the corner so I can rob and sodomise you” It was friggin cold so I t was worth the risk. Luckily it was the former and we were soon inside a warm bus. Drew went straight to sleep, leaving me on stag to make sure we were awake when the bus turned up, thanks mate.
I was on struggle street but I managed to keep my eyes open. And at 6 we jumped out of the bus with the driver and the remaining passengers. He explained that the bus to Pristina would be there at 630, he did this by writing 0630 on his cigarette packet.
He disappeared and drew and I were left in the cold again absolutely freezing and to make matters worse it started raining… then it started snowing. Luckily for us the shops around the bus station were opening so I went to get coffees.
While I was doing this the bus for Pristina rocked up and the first bus driver reappeared. Being a good bloke he grabbed my pack and he and drew took them over to the second leg of our journey. This bus driver didn’t speak English either. However not because he only spoke a Baltic language but german, with a tiny bit of Deutch I managed to convey that I wanted 2 tickets to Pristina and he explained the price.. By writing 14 on the cigarette packet of the first driver. We got in and I was out untill we got to the border.
We’re almost inn Pristina, I’m going to put my Laptop away coz I don’t want the locals to see me with anything of any worth. At least its not snowing here, although I wish it was, then all the filth and rubbish would be covered by snow. IT does look extremely windy though. I guess the long johns may be making a debut today.
We’re on our way out of Pristine, what a dump. This place is almost as bad as Podgorica. And if it wasn’t for all the money that’s been poured in here by the states and the other western countries it would be an absolute wasteland. I’d hate to have seen it 10 years ago.
The drive into Pristine was mixed. It startd off in heavy snow covered country twisting through the hills. It was really quite Beautiful. But then we got to the other side of the hills and it flattened out the snow covered ground turned to slush covered wastland and the falling snow turned to muddy rain. Actualy on reflection this place is worse then podgorica.
The Drive into Pristine was equally depressing. The outskipts are covered in these massive new hypermarkets and massive stores, and in-between them is dirt slush and rubbish.
We got to the bus station and walked around for a bit. Drew was doing his “I don’t plan for anything and when things don’t magically work out I crack the s***s” thing, but we sat down at a place to eat and drew went to get money. The money he’d tried to transfer hadn’t worked so he had no cash. He came back and in his s***ty sooky mood managed to knock his coffee all over the table and smash the cup.
We caught a cab to the Hostel and walked into the reception. The reception was nothing more then a room with a coffee table in the centre a lady folding sheets and a fat guy in the corner in front of an ancient computer. He had a weird demented devilish grin and after a bit of haggling he agreed to let us check in early.
This guy wouldn’t shut up. I’m pretty sure he’s not all there upstairs, and he spent ages trying to show us on the map where we were. The problem was the map didn’t quite go out as far as we were so the edge of the map had a barely legible small addition to find our way back to the hostel.
The room we got was actually pretty good. For 12 Euros each we got a room to ourself with one double and one single bed.
The bus we’re on just pulled over at some gas station. A guy got off and ran to another guy who was waiting they shook hands and one gave the other a box. The first guy ran back to the bus and got back on and the bus driver took off again. That was one of the dodgiest things I’ve seen on my trip. But I wonder whats in the box.
After we’de got into our room I left drew to sook by himself and went to a nearby bakery to get some food. It was 1100 and we hadn’t eaten anything since the previous dinner except a couple of bananas. I gragged some Burek and some other cheese thing and took them back to the room.
We ate those and then decided to go exploring. It was friggin cold so we got all rugged up and took off. It was raining a little and the roads were dirty, the result of which meant most of the walk into town was along a series of muddy sloshy paths. There really was nothing to Pristine, we walked down a main street and past a street where there were supposed to be a few mosques. They were nothing exciting so we decided to go check out a bar we’de read about. It was 10 stories high and rotating so we figured we might get some decent views, of what we weren’t to sure of.
We walked down another main street towards the bar. This street had some pretty decent shops and some ok looking caffe bars. But the rail crossing at the end left a lot to be desired. I thought our train lines in Australia were bad. They had nothing on this filthy pit. I had to take a photo.
We finally got to the bar, the building itself and the garden around it looked quite respectable however the bar was closed only opening at 1700 in the winter. We cut our losses and decided to just have coffee in one of the decent looking places on the previous road we’de walked down.
We scoped out one place that looked good. We walked in the front door. It was packed, and everyone had a cigarette in there mouth. The smoke really was like a soccer punch right to the Gonads. I’m pretty sure I caught lung cancer upon entering that place.
The next place we chose was heaps better. An equally packed place full of people smoking yet the ventilation must have been much better as you could hardly tell. As we were arriving luckily one couple was leaving and we grabbed there table and ordered some coffees.
From there we just headed back to the Hostel. It was freezing outside so walking around wasn’t even attractive so we spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping and watching movies on my laptop
At about 5 my laptop cut out. The lights were still on but all the power points had decided to stop working in our room. I moved onto the computer in the kitchen to check my email and about 15 minutes later the power went out everywhere. The whole place was in a blackout. I grabbed my phone out to negotiate my way back to the room. Luckily the power was only out for 5 minutes and when it came back on so did the power to the power points in our room.
This part of the world is a crack up, not only are the passengers smoking but the bus driver has joined in too.
We went to a local pizza place for tea yet spent the night as about as constructively as we had the day. Maybe Sandra was right about only needing to spend a day there. I reckon 1 and a half hours is enough.