I arrive at the bus terminal and ask if there is a bus at 7h to Pristina. “Now”; “No, is there one also at 7?”; “Yes, but there is one now”. It is not easy to get information. I’m going to the coffee, take a machiatto and at 6:29 get on the bus. A Venezuelan woman was so far the only passenger and is happy to have someone who talks Spanish. She doesn’t speak English and is going to visit a friend in Kosovo. After leaving Tirana some passengers more get in and out of the bus and also a second driver. It is a beautiful trip with snowed mountains and some houses. A little before the border we stop for coffee and switch driver.
Arrived to Pristina, the Venezuelan accepts to pay 10 € for 3km in a taxi to her friends place. I walk the 1.5km to the center. It is amazingly cold with frozen wind. The first impression from Pristina are that it is built in a more Soviet way than Tirana. Seems poorer, greener and better for pedestrians.
I get in the National Library building. Everything is very dark inside. There is almost no one and I don’t know what is behind to other closed wooden doors or even if they are open.
On the streets there are flags of US, Albania and Kosovo scattered around. There is an avenue and statue of Bill Clinton, who helped Kosovo to became independent.
I walk in to a mosque to warm up. Inside is not as warm as expected, but I stay checking my plans protected from the wind. I choose the hostel where to stay, private room for 21€. It opens only in the afternoon.
Walking back to the center, pass through the bazaar and then end up in a ‘bobo’ kind of bar/restaurant. While eating a wrap I try to find a way to withdraw money without paying extra 5€ tax. Seems to be a way using Western Union.
I’ve walked so far 18km today. Time for a beer. I managed to get the money from Western Union, by sending money from my card to myself and picking it up at their desk.
There is a train station in Pristina for two trains a day. Behind the station is the embassy quarter and KFOR (NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo). A very modern neighborhood, contrasting with the one where I’m staying.
At night had a nice meal with tomato stew and chicken kebab. Leaving the restaurant some snow flakes were coming down the ski. I somehow wanted to check a bar, however alone the energy was not so high and next day I had again to wake up early.
Kosovo does not have (yet) a fixed internet domain name. For that it needs to be recognized an independent state by all members of the UN, and Serbia still blocks the process. Most of the companies in Kosovo use a ‘.com’ domain, but some are using the temporary assigned ‘.xk’ domain.
There is not much to see in Pristina, being however quite nice to stroll with the open spaces, pedestrian street and not so much traffic.
Next Stop: North Macedonia