Driving to Kosova from England was an easy journey, motorways and autobahns with electronic tolls which accept credit cards. Apart from having to use change to use the toilets, there was no need to carry much cash at all.

It rained all the way which had turned to snow in the  Austrian Alps where the roads were very icy. One car  skidded into the embankment and landed on its roof. Just prayed it would not happen to me on this long journey. I kept my eye on the temperature gauge and was relieved when it rose to over 2c  when I descended. From then on it was back to heavy winds and pouring rain.

The turn off to Kosova, took me to along a narrow, winding pot holed road, which felt like driving in another world lost in time. The further I drove the bigger the pot holes became, which were filled with water from the heavy rain. Then the rain turned to snow as the temperature dropped and it was difficult to see the road ahead. At first I thought the road was to wet for the snow to settle, but I was wrong. The fresh snow was easy to drive in, but it just kept getting deeper and deeper.

First I was waved down by the owners of a car which had run of the road and into a ditch, but car was to loaded up to be of any use to them. Then as got closer to the border the trucks also got stuck in the snow and there was no way forward. All the drivers of the trucks were Serbian and they helped me get past them.

The border was just ahead and unlike any of the others I had passed entering Slovenia and Croatia, this was one was like stepping into the last century. When it came to paying for the car insurance, I was shocked to find out it was cash only. While the rest of the world are working towards a cashless society, Kosova still insists on cash. I would like to know who owns this insurance company, which seems to have the monopoly on car insurance at the border. Maybe the corruption starts at the border. Well having no cash on me the police all had a discussion on what I should do, as the snow was getting deeper and it was very late at night. Eventually, I left my car at the border and a kind man drove me into town to use the cashpoint to get some money.

Insurance all done and my passport back, I left the border police and made my way towards Prishtina. The snow had stopped falling, but the snow was deep. I was driving along at a fair speed until I caught up with two cars, which were driving really slow. Keeping my distance, so that I would not drive into the back of them, the car stalled as we were going up a hill. There was no way I could get the grip to climb the hill and I was finally stuck in the snow. Then from nowhere came one of the border police which I had met at the border, suggesting that I should turn around and follow him to go another route.

He went down the hill and turned left and stopped, which meant I had to drive around him when I was going to fast down the hill. This resulted in me skidding off the road, down an embankment and into a field, narrowly missing a post. I was definitely stuck in the snow this time. I watched as the policeman drove off, hoping he had gone to get help.

Eventually he came back with an interpreter, as he couldn’t speak English. He told me to take a few things and he would drive me into Prishtina and the people in the village would keep an eye on my car. After dropping me off he arranged to pick me up in the morning and take me to get my car out of the field.
The border policeman arrived on time in the morning and my friend came along too. When we arrived in Lebane you would not notice the car was there, until you got close.

Everybody came out to help, the police were directing  the traffic and the local family Dobratiqi, used their tractor to pull the car out of the field. After several attempts, the car was finally back on the road and the family offered to repair the car for us. While the sons repaired the car, we tasted real Kosovar hospitality, in the families home. Drinking coffee with them in front of their log fire. Such beautiful people who we will keep close to our hearts and hopefully be able to pay back  in some way, in the future.

Dobratiqi Family
2 thought on “Warm Welcome to Kosova: from Border Police and the Residents of Lebane”
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