At the temple ruins in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Khao Yai National Park, Thailand on December 13th.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Welcome to Kosovo, country number 54

It was a long driving day! We were on the road just after 8am in order to get up to Tirana airport to drop off Tony and Helen for their flight back to England. Then at the airport we were switching cars (more on that below) and then doing the three hour drive from Tirana, Albania to Peja, Kosovo.

But first, a quick stop at the beach!

Our route took us past the coastal city of Durres. Durres is a tourist town where many Albanians keep apartments that get used mostly on weekends and in the summer. Ruth and I had been there before, and it's not our thing. But we were headed right by it anyhow so we thought we'd show Helen and Tony.

A quick stop at the beach.

And then it was off to the airport. We got there a little early so we sat and had an expensive airport coffee with them. Eventually it was time for them to head through security.

Ussie at the airport.
(A selfie is just with yourself. This is with all of us, so it's an "ussie"!)

We had a blast, and hopefully it won't be that long before we see them again. We've got plans to meet up again in Ireland next May or June.

We've had a car rental for the past two weeks. It was an older car, which we're okay with. It had 150k kms (93k miles) on it, which is certainly getting up there for a rental car. But for €10 ($13.50 CAD, $9.75 USD) a day it's exactly what we expected.

However 6th gear didn't work. It's a Fiat 500 with a six speed transmission. But there was no 6th gear. It's like it didn't exist. You could try to put it in 6th, but you would end up in 4th, and it was either that or reverse!

This would be totally fine if you were just hanging around the city. But for any highway driving, you would want that 6th gear if not only for better fuel economy. 

So we waited until about 12:30pm for the guy to show up to switch cars with us. We ended up with exactly the same model and color... but with a 6th gear that works! And, it has only 100k kms, and it actually drives much nicer without so many rattles.

And with that, we were off to Kosovo.

Notice the town halfway up the mountain?
That's Kruje. We've wanted to visit there three times and still haven't made it.

Scenery along the way.

There's a beautiful 4 lane highway that runs just north of Tirana and ends at the city of Pristina, Kosovo. It was opened in 2013, but was made into a toll highway in 2018. There is currently a very reasonable fee of €5 (600 lek, $6.75 CAD, $4.85 USD) to use the highway which includes one tunnel and 27 bridges.

On the road to Kosovo.

They are building a new bridge at the town of Kukes.

Looking back at the new bridge.

I found this depiction online of what the new bridge will look like.

Heading to Kosovo.

I needed gas for the car. The low fuel light was on, and I had no idea when the next station was. I also had no idea what the price of fuel was in Kosovo compared to Albania. Anyhow, I put in 5,000 lek ($58 CAD, $42 USD) which gave us about 2/3 of a tank. 

Albania/Kosovo border.

Kosovo is an independent country (The Republic of Kosovo), but it is only partially recognized as such. However, it does have a very close relationship with Albania. We weren't sure what to expect at the border, but we had passports and vehicle information ready.

We got waved through customs by a very bored looking guard, and at the immigration booth they took one glance at us, and waved us through again. And that's it... we were in.

The very nice highway continues into Kosovo.

We were headed to the city of Peja which is located at the base of the mountains at Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park. We are only 24 kms (15 miles) from the Montenegro border.

Located at the small city of Peja is the popular Peja brewery!

When we first arrived in Albania last year, I tried several local beers and decided on Peja beer as being my favorite. It was only later that I realized that Peja beer is actually a Kosovo beer, not an Albania beer!

We found our apartment. It's pretty basic, but it will do for a week. We're paying €160 ($215 CAD, $156 USD) for our week long stay. Euros is the official currency here in Kosovo.

It's probably a little overpriced for what we're getting, but it was a last minute booking for us. And, initial research suggests that Kosovo in general is a little more expensive than Albania. Except with gas! We noticed that Kosovo gas stations are selling for €1.40 a liter which is quite a bit cheaper than Albania which was equivalent of €1.75 a liter. Oh well. Good thing I hadn't filled it right up!

View out our kitchen window.


Living room.

With a washing machine, which our last place didn't have!

Bedroom.  The bed didn't look that comfortable, but it really was.
We both slept well.

We went out for something to eat. Again!

We each had a salad, with mixed sausage and homemade bread.
Total cost for the two of us was €9.80 ($13.20 CAD, $9.55 USD)
It was actually too much food... we could have done with only one meat plate and shared it.

Here's yesterday's drive...

Berat to Tirana Airport to Peja, Kosovo.

We chose this area specifically because of the proximity to the national park and the hiking opportunities. In fact, there are hiking routes leading directly from the city of Peja. So today, we are leaving the car parked and doing some exploring by foot. It's a gorgeous sunny day with a forecast high of about 20C (68F) for every day this week. Perfect for hiking.

Record low deal on these two HP Computer Monitors.

And in Canada...


  1. I drive a fiat 500! it is a 5 speed transmission though, and rarely gets into 5th. It's a 2011 and only has about 65000kms on it. I laughed thinking the shorter legs must have sat in the rear seats!

    1. I made a minor error. Ours is actually a Fiat 500L. The "L" must stand for "larger" because ours is much larger than the standard 500.

  2. I think you found a great apartment and with the fuel price difference you came out pretty good! Have fun!

    1. The apartment itself is very good and so are our hosts but the kitchen lacks what is needed to cook a decent meal. We have asked them for a few things which they have supplied so I was at least able to make dinner last night but so much more is needed.

      What we paid was not bad considering the prices of fuel in other countries but we could have done better had we waited to buy fuel in Kosovo.

      We love this area, so I am sure we won't have any problems having fun here. :-)

  3. Ussie, that's a good one and needs to come into common usage. Enjoy Kosova.

    1. Lol, yes it does need to become common language but unfortunately it wasn't us that made it up, we got it from a show that we have watched.


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