It is often in the face of adversity that humanity shines the brightest and so it has been for us in Kosovo. In all my years of traveling, I have never experienced anything like the hospitality, generosity, and helpfulness we have received since arriving in the beautiful country.
The first person we met was the lady at the border, who after looking through my passports wanted to know all about Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I think she would have continued chatting forever had the queue of cars not started to pile up. We then stopped at Antika Restaurant, where the owner allowed us to park behind the building where it would be quieter during the night. I only had Serbian Dinar on me so before we ordered I checked that they took credit cards. Halfway through our meal, they realised that their credit card machine wasn’t working, but they weren’t phased and said I could pay tomorrow. I offered to leave my passport and he laughed and said that if I was the kind of person who wouldn’t come back to pay, then I should just continue to the hills! Where do you find this kind of trust in this day and age?
During the evening we met British Phil, who said his work colleague organised visas for all their international students and may be able to help us. So at the appointed 10 am, we arrived at the MAT Training School, which trains students on mine and bomb disposal. We were introduced to the fabulous Arben, who spent the next hour or so, phoning all the consulates to try and figure out if the Balkan countries actually used our allocated Schengen days if we entered on a Schengen visa and what our other options were with getting into Montenegro.
We had no luck in answering if they use our Schengen days, but we did confirm I could enter Montenegro and Albania on a UK visa. So he printed out the visa laws for both Montenegro and Albania, in their respective languages and highlighted the sections where it says we could enter on a UK visa. He then wrote in both languages asking for them to please let us enter on our UK visas. These pages feel like gold in my hands, so fingers crossed they work!!
We were then invited to join the staff for lunch and what a spread it was. The one lady was so friendly and after everyone had left, the two of us sat chatting about the history of Kosovo and the wars that they endured. It was all fascinating, she was just wonderful and I was sad when she had to get back to work.
We needed to go into town, but decided to leave Miles at their offices instead of testing the small inner city roads – I’d had my fair share of them yesterday! So we hopped on our bikes and rode into the city centre. I need to buy a SIM card with data, so stopped at a cellphone shop. To continue with their incredible hospitality, the young guy came round the counter and told us to follow him. He draped his arm around Tai and started chatting while walking us about 4 blocks down the road to the SIM shop. After high fives all round we promised to go back to let him do the activation process for us.
While riding through their old bazaar, we were stopped to say my back tyre was looking flat and voila, there was a guy suddenly pumping all our tyres. Tai has been desperate to chop his golden locks off and when hairdressers are called “Frizzer’s” how can you resist. So I jumped on the bandwagon as well. At R150 for a wash, cut and dry, how could I say no?
And so back to our Antika Restaurant for supper and to do some work… and of course to pay for last nights meal. Isn’t life wonderful that one day you can be in the depths of despair and the next day life is rosy and full of gifts!
We stayed at the Antika Motel and Restaurant. There is parking behind the Antika Motel and Restaurant. just check with the owner of the restaurant first, but he is incredibly accommodating. No services but you can use the toilet in the restaurant. Great food and wifi at the restaurant.
GPS: 42.69894, 20.3228