Escape to the Balkans – Part 3 (Serbia + Kosovo)


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Europe » Kosovo » Centre » Prishtina
August 8th 2013
Published: August 8th 2013
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We drove through Serbia and on to Kosovo from Bulgaria, through massive, hulking mountains, surrounding the clearest of lakes. We ducked in and out of cave like tunnels, holding our breath as we went through each one, like I used to do as a child. It was disarming; the beauty actually took me a back a bit because I wasn’t expecting it. It was times like this that I truly understood why I avoid the tourist places and try and find my own, hidden bits of paradise. My male asked me if I was wondering how many other people had seen this. I was thinking about that too, and I could count on one hand how many people I knew that had ever travelled to this part of the world. I felt a surge of excitement, knowing that I was seeing a rare piece of land, seemingly unknown and untouched by the Western world.

It wouldn’t be an adventure if everything went exactly as intended. Our plan was compromised when we reached a notoriously difficult border crossing. The Kosovo/Serbia border is one where travellers with a hire car often have a bit of trouble. At first the border guard said we could not cross as we did not have a Serbian visa, and that Serbia did not recognise Kosovo as a country. Luckily we pointed out our Serbian stamps in our passports that we had obtained at the border from Bulgaria. My male gave me a pointed look, as I had almost suggested that we ask the guards to not stamp our passports, as some countries do not look kindly on travel to Serbia. Luckily our car insurance with Avis was adequate enough to not warrant us having to get Green Card insurance at a ridiculous cost. For those of you that don’t know the border officials will force you to take out their insurance if you don’t have full excess cover on the car, which can range between 50 - 120 Euros apparently, depending on their mood. We drove on through, breathing sighs of relief.

We drove back through Kosovo the next day as well after several mishaps with GPS which apparently couldn’t tell the difference between a border and a giant trench. We went through Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo and experienced what I can only describe as my most epic driving achievement to date. I drove through a roundabout which had enough space for about 6 lanes of traffic, but no road markings, during what must have been rush hour. It was absolute chaos and I managed to get out with a scratch on the car and with my sanity still intact – barely.

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