I began my backpacking trip through the Balkans and Eastern Europe the day I closed out my service (COS): May 23rd. That afternoon I caught a 3 pm bus out of Tirana. The bus ride was supposed to take 3 hours, but of course I ended up making it last a little longer. I ended up missing my stop in Prizren and got almost all the way to Pristina. I figured I’d just have to take a taxi back to Prizren that night and enjoyed the view out my window. Finally the money collector noticed I was still on the bus and asked why I didn’t get off. Apparently he thinks that people sitting in the back of the bus can hear him speak from the front of the bus when music is blaring. I clearly couldn’t, and missed when he said we were near Prizren. I had expected for the bus to take the road that goes through Prizren, stop for a few minutes at the bus stop, and then continue on the road out of town. I don’t even know how close to town the bus stopped. The money collector was very helpful and flagged down a bus going in the opposite direction, towards Prizren, and put me on it. All I can say is the buses in Kosovo are awesome. There were short comedies playing on the bus and they served everybody a complementary glass of Coke! I finally made it to my hostel a little after 8 (s0 5 hours after leaving Tirana).
Prizren is absolutely beautiful! I was expecting it to be much more similar to Albania. The language spoken here is Albanian, though I am having a very difficult time understanding them…they have a much different and heavier accent than Albanians, especially Albanians in the South. The housing style is very different. The houses are still built the same way (with bricks and concrete), but the exterior is designed much differently. There are some old houses throughout Prizren that look similar to some old houses in Gjirokaster and Berat, which makes me feel at home 🙂