Days: 507 (14 November 2015)
Total distance travelled: 130,849.6 kilometres (81,273.05 miles)
A couple of hours west from Pristina, on what happened to be a surprisingly expensive bus journey and we were in Peja.
We were specific in our choice of day to visit, as we’d gotten wind that on Saturdays there was a cheese market, and given how much we love cheese, that’s essentially like waving a red rag at a bull!
It proved an interesting place to wander, however the cheese market, where all of the local vendors essentially sold the same cheese was a little anti-climactic.
Still, we had other places to be, and although we didn’t know the exact route to the Patriarkana e Pejës, we did know that we needed to head out of town towards the Rugova Gorge, and as such, once we found the river, we simply followed it!
Eventually the buildings thinned, and at the point where it appeared we were headed into the wilderness, to our left was a high stone wall and a military checkpoint.
Clad in KFOR (Kosovo Force) livery, it was here we were required to produce our passports (we’d read this in advance and for this reason had brought them along), whilst the middle aged man in uniform chuckled to himself before gesturing towards our footwear (we were wearing our flip flops).
This brought a bit of a chuckle all round, he radioed on ahead, and we were allowed to continue.
The paved pathway was lined by tall trees and abutted several fields where our only company, bovine as they were, stood, their gaze following the path of these odd humans (perhaps they were baffled by our choice of footwear as well?).
It wasn’t long before we met a second guard who pointed out the narrow entrance into the grounds proper, the only other visitors, a quartet of KFOR soldiers, all sporting different national patches who after posing for a few photos were quickly on their way.
Inside, as we stood absorbing our surrounds, a black clad nun (I assume that’s what we can call her) ushered us towards a small shack, nestled in the shadows of a stone tower where we were asked to pay a small entrance fee, and had we been remotely devout, we could have bought some candles to place within one of the four churches.
It was another of those locations where photography within was forbidden, and as much as I’d like to say I respected that, it was more a case of my sole shot was a little blurry in those dark confines with no flash (I’d hate to have damaged any of the frescoes).
As beautiful a spot as it was, there wasn’t a whole lot more for us to see or do, so we ambled our way around the remainder of the grounds, before seeing ourselves out.
The walk back to town wasn’t all that eventful, the occasional cow wandering the streets the highlight (if rogue cows float your boat).
On the way out of town when we were aboard our return bus bound for Pristina, there was an additional sight that caught our attention.
Something like a hybrid Mini-Moke meets sawmill, there were random posse’s of these vehicles with high powered saws attached to the back, and people would bring the lumber to them (or they’d take the saw to the lumber).
Their versatility was certainly witnessed, as one was also using theirs to slice whole cabbages clean in half!
The things you see when you travel…
* A bus from Pristina to Peja set us back €4.00 per person, in each direction!
* The entrance fee for the Patriarkana e Pejës is €2.00 per person and be sure to take your passport!