Villa Germia

kosovo, Uncategorized

One morning we went to Villa Germia to take photos of the children and let them run around. It’s so nice there- great mountain breeze, strong macchiato’s, and good service. Florent worked there as barback when he was younger.

Vendors work alongside the park selling snacks and miscellaneous toys. One of the vendors overheard me speaking in English. Obviously I struck up a solid conversation with the man.
“Where ru from?”
“America”
“Oh America is great you get anything you want there- candy, soda everything!”

He also told me about how he has a family member living in Las Vegas and that his grandfather invented the candy that goes on candy apples. I enjoyed talking with him. He let me take a quick pic of him.

thumb_img_3565_1024

That’s a bubble gun in his hand

When I showed his photo to my family they said they knew him. Apparently everyone knows him and hes pretty friendly. He has been at Villa Germia selling candy since he was 3 years old.

One thing I really adore about this place is that they provide throw blankets. How amazing is that? If you’re feeling chilly or want to enjoy a nice macchiato with a cozy throw blanket wrapped around your shoulders, this is the place to be. Restaurants in America need to pick up on this trend.

The kids pretty much lived off this sour cherry juice while we were in Kosovo. It’s called vishnje. Florent also is a huge fan of it as well.

thumb_img_3566_1024

Vishnje Juice

Advertisements

A brother from another

kosovo, Uncategorized

While the kids napped I traveled 10km outside Prishtina with Shaban to visit one of his best friends. The car ride to his home I asked a couple of questions to get some history on their friendship. They met doing business together in 2004 after the war. They never knew each other before that. “He is my brother” Shaban says. I learned the word “shok” (friend) quickly during that car ride.

thumb_img_3624_1024

The man, the myth, the legend

Shaban’s friend enjoys being a giver. He gives him chickens, and fresh produce on the regular. They greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek. He shows me his rabbits, apples, chickens, and “1st class peppers”. We retire to the porch where his daughter in law makes us tea and fresh homemade passionfruit juice. They argue for a few minutes about peppers and how much things cost. The friend insists Shaban take a trunkload of peppers to make fresh ajvar for us to take back to America. Literally, a trunkload…

I’ve never seen a better bromance. He calls him “Shabi” for short. He served us ajvar made from his peppers. It’s the most delicious pepper related thing I’ve ever ate. After tea he hands me a pair of clogs and says ‘lets go’ in his language. We walk to the field to collect peppers. Before we walked to the field he handed me a fresh apple. I ate it quickly.

thumb_img_3626_1024

Picking the peppers

About 10 kilos of peppers later he finally agreed it was enough for me. He wanted to give me more but we had to strong arm him to stop picking. We walked by some chickens he snatched up a rooster and said it was for me. Giving someone your rooster is a huge honor BTW. He also gave me a huge bag of apples, cucumbers, and eggplant.

thumb_img_3632_1024

Tying the legs on my rooster

The ride back to Prishtina makes me wonder:

A. How will I get it all back to America?

B. How generous is this man to give me so much stuff just for visiting his home?

Hospitality is just indescribable in this country.

I bet there isn’t even a word in the dictionary to translate.

thumb_img_3628_1024

Aren’t pepper fields gorgeous?

thumb_img_3635_1024

Apple trees line his front yard 

thumb_img_3639_1024

Friends

Locals being Awesome (Part Deux)

travel, Uncategorized

Thursday morning it stormed a bit and I got to witness some locals being super awesome!!!

Unexpected weather always shakes stuff up a bit. Thankfully we rented the best hotel room, front and center of The Small Beach so we sat on our terrace and watched people. Some huddled under small coverings, others swam in the water to enjoy the intense rain, and some men even ran back and fourth along the beach for an invigorating exercise.

I sat with my Machiato and took it all in!

thumb_IMG_3510_1024

thumb_IMG_3512_1024

Drawing a rectangle around your towel marks your territory

We decided it was time to head back towards Prishtina. We checked out of our hotel and left Ulcinj expecting to be back at the apartment in Shenjin by lunchtime.

The road to the boarder was blocked by a very small 4 car accident at the end of a bridge because of one stubborn old man who refused to move his car to the side and wait for the police to arrive. People tried reasoning with the man asking him to simply document the accident with photos. Some even offered to buy his car off of him just to convince him to move out of the way. NOTHING worked!

2 hours later the police arrived at the scene. So we stood in the road with everyone else and watched these people argue the entire time in the Montenegro mountainside. The kids and I literally watched snails walk along the side of the road for a while out of shear boredom.

thumb_IMG_3514_1024.jpg

The scene of the accident from where our car was stuck

Shaban, Flo & Nini walked to the scene to get an up close glance at the stubborn man and make small talk with new friends. There were probably 200+ cars stopped because of this one man! Nini said “move your car poopy doody”– Thank God no one understood what that means to her!

Flo tells me this type of stuff is normal and happens often. Me being a huge fan of fast results didn’t understand why we couldn’t all join forces, take his keys and move the car for him… put him under citizens arrest or something???

On that note, here’s a photo of a glass of red I enjoyed with Flo on our last night in Montenegro.

thumb_IMG_3509_1024.jpg

Vranac Wine is really nice!

 

 

Never a dull moment

travel, Uncategorized

Day 1 was a completely exhausting travel day that never ended. Frankfurt Airport is wayyy too big and we should’ve dosed the kids with Benadryl.

Day 2 consisted of a delicious breakfast of fresh bread, scrambled eggs, feta cheese and pinjur (pepper eggplant & garlic spread) followed by a couple hours of relaxing around the Hoxha Home. It was really difficult waking up this morning- the time change is effecting us more than we expected this time around.

Everyone here goes out for coffee on a daily basis. It’s around .50 Euro for a “Macchiato Madhe” (1-2 espresso shots, a bit of steamed milk and a tiny bit of sugar). In Kosovo people sit and talk to each other; make eye contact and really get into it with conversations (no obsessive phone scrolling going on here). It’s really entertaining and beautiful to watch. Also the smokes- they are usually pairing coffee with a cig. Coffee is nothing like it is in America. It’s a thousand times better. We walked to Flo’s Uncle Gaz’s shop Marcus. We stayed for about 2 hours- 2 hours just doing nothing but talking! Another uncle his lovely wife and daughter showed up to visit.

14141605_1403339896347717_8358931177313254812_n

Nini sippin on steamed milk drizzled with chocolate

NEVER a dull moment.

Nini passed out in the stroller 2 minutes into our walk back to the house. After nap time we took the kids to the Albi Mall so they could get some energy out while Hata slayed some homemade Pizza for our dinner. It was super shijshem I might add (must start taking more food pics).

After dinner I wanted to take the kids to the nearby park to play. Hata told me some family members might come to see us so we should stick around. Me being the type A crazy American trying to fit everything in asked “Well what time?” Hata’s reply “No time, it’s Kosovo- there is no time”. We stuck around and Hata’s gorgeous niece visited with her super sweet husband and 2 adorable kids. By the time they left it was 8:00. I thought I was in the clear and slipped into my floral Target special Jammies. I was then informed an aunt would stop by later. Me being and my idiotic jet lagged self, assumed who cares if this aunt sees me in my jams?

WELL… She did show up but alongside an uncle, her 4 daughters and 2 other cousins! The 4 daughters and 2 cousins all look like straight up models and are dressed to go out after this to the club. So I sat there and visited in my floral jams like a Meme. How embarrassing?!?!? I apologized for my outfit and tried to “own it” the whole time, serving up baklava, juice and water to my in laws in my floral Target special. Thankfully they are the nicest people you could EVER meet and they didn’t make fun of me for it.

Moral of the story is this: Kosovars don’t fuck around. I need to up my A game. Be ready for anything!

You’d think after coming here for the 5th time now I would learn something…