We have only a final day in Prishtina before Eva and I fly to Munich and home and Suzi heads to Greece, but there is a lot more to see here. We’re not quite sure where we are staying because Booking.com has changed our accommodations due to the other place closing its doors. Hostel Istanbul sounds pretty good to us and it’s located right at the outdoor market with its narrow lanes and only a block from the main avenue. We hail a taxi who takes us nearby but not close enough. Suzi takes off in search of the place and eventually finds it, as the parents wait on an icy street corner, holding a talkative drunk at bay.

Hostel Istanbul

Hostel Istanbul

We agree that the outside is not too great to look at but, hey, this is an adventure, no? In the modest lobby we see two men sitting at tables at what turns out to be the breakfast room. One is actively using his iPad and the other fiddles with his iPhone. We are shown to our rooms, up some marble stairs and around various corners.

Two guests in the "lobby" busy with their Apple gadgets

Two guests in the “lobby” busy with their Apple gadgets

The front desk, so to say, and kitchen

The front desk, so to say, and kitchen

Our spartan room, clean and warm as can be

Our spartan room, clean and warm as can be

Vibrant view from our room

Vibrant view from our room

Always a mosque nearby

Always a mosque nearby

We take a walk around the market, not so different from others around the world, I suppose, full of every imaginable kind of food and knick-knack.

The market is steps from our modest quarters.

The market is steps from our modest quarters.

We look around.

We look around.

Because it begins to rain, we leave the market and head for the main avenue.

Building with interesting facade

Building with interesting facade

Who would design an entry like this one?

Who would design an entry like this one?

Ibrahim Rugova - First President of Kosovo

Ibrahim Rugova – First President of Kosovo

Here is

George Skanderbeg – 15th C Christian warrior defeated Ottoman onslaught

Time to think of lunch

Time to think of lunch

Our thoughts turn to pasta, rice curry and bread, foods we normally duck, restricting our intake of carbohydrates as much as possible. We find a really nice, modern place for lunch.

Misspelled, or just a better spelling?

Misspelled, or just a better spelling?

My happy gals

My happy gals

Tasty lunch

Tasty lunch

Back on the street, we pass the Grand Hotel. We go in to check it out and see what’s so grand. We enter a cavernous but low ceilinged lobby, oppressive and dark like a dungeon. The single clerk is alert and tells us about the place in perfect, fluent English. It was built under Communist times 40 years ago and never refurbished. The hotel was recently sold and will be modernized. Mostly tour groups (suckers) stay here now. As personable and a natural for his job as clerk, he has already found a new job and will soon bail. More power to him.

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

The city hospital is running a sale on coronary bypass surgery for heart patients. Let’s get one now! At under $7000, that’s about a 90% discount from what we would pay in the good ole US of A.

Coronary bypass special offer. Hurry while the sale lasts.

Coronary bypass special offer. Hurry while the sale lasts.

Woo hoo, a decent looking high rise

Woo hoo, a decent looking high rise

Ugly post office building

Ugly post office building

Time now for that afternoon coffee and treats. Here’s a place. It lacks curb appeal from here but let’s take a closer look.

Is this really a good place for a coffee?

Is this really a good place for a coffee?

It's really nice here, with smoking permitted in the sealed off room to the left.

It’s really nice here, with smoking permitted in the sealed off room to the left.

We find some comfy seats and place an order for cappuccinos.

We find some comfy seats and place an order for cappuccinos.

Not only coffee but Raki aperitifs, too

Not only coffee but Raki aperitifs, too

How does Suzi take to the raki?

How does Suzi take to the raki?

In the end we fall for pastries as well, one each of six varieties.

In the end we can’t resist pastries as well, one each of six varieties.

As night falls, we pass a pastry shop with various decorated cakes in the window.

Can the wording be improved? Does it matter?

Can the wording be improved? Does it matter?

As we head for home, we are careful where we step.

We are used to these things by now.

We are used to these sidewalk anomalies by now.

When we get back to Hostel Istanbul, our guys are still at the table fondling their Apple gismos. It turns out that the one is from near Lübeck, Germany, the city where Eva grew up, and is here on business.

These other hotel guests are from Germany, here on business.

These other hotel guests are from Germany, here on business.

We must now end our tale of our ventures in the Balkans. In the morning we must take a taxi to the airport, many miles away. Our most engaging host and owner of the hotel offers to take us there for a nominal fare. We can’t resist. He wrestles his SUV out of the snow, stows our gear, and off we go. He drives us right to the airport door and walks us to the correct counter and sees that all is well with us. We couldn’t ask for better service. He exemplifies all the good in the people we experienced on our entire trip. As a result we have had a wonderful vacation in the Balkans.

Our host joins us in a round.

Our host joins us in a round.

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