Km 823 to km 951, Dumanovce (N Macedonia) to Prizren (Kosovo)
21/05/2022 – 32km
Today and tomorrow I’ll be doing shorter distances due to an upcoming high mountain ridge that I expect will be all rock and snow with no opportunities for camping.
Since I knew I wasn’t going very far today I tried to take frequent breaks, but the day was still dragging on. I’m a little disappointed in myself that I found it so hard. I know I like to keep moving and am not really a break-taker, but honestly it just made me very frustrated.
“The trail provides” is a common saying in the (American) long distance hiking community and it held true today. Shortly before where I thought I might end the day, I came across a family at their weekend hunting cabin (if you’re picturing something from monied New England, it isn’t that). I got talking to them and asked if I could camp there, which they readily agreed to.
We chatted for a couple of hours; between them their English was rather good. They plied me with food and drink before departing back to Skopje, wishing me well.
22/05/2022 – 38km
Country number 4, Kosovo! Here I’m switching to Albanian (with no linguistic relative) and paying in Euros.
Again lots of road walking today, but this afternoon I climbed up the start of Ljuboten (a mountain), in preparation for what I hope will be a nice little alpine day tomorrow.
At the end of my hike today I got talking to some locals and one of them kindly offered for me to sleep in his (unfurnished) hut.
23/05/2022 – 41km
The mountain ridge went about as well as conditions allowed, with me descending down into the valley just before the clouds rolled in, making me very happy with my choice not to continue with the higher route. In hindsight, I could have camped up on the ridge last night, there were plenty of good places.
Annoyingly my phone doesn’t seem to be connecting to mobile internet in Kosovo. It says I have full signal/LTE, but nothing loads. I need to look it up next time I have WiFi. I suspect that perhaps my Serbian phone provider only lets me connect to certain providers here (with inevitably poor coverage).
Today also marks one month since I started.
24/05/2022 – 9km
An easy short walk into the city of Prizren. It has a nice old downtown area and generally seems busy and prosperous. There are a lot of restaurants and bars that seem to be doing good trade.
This is the last bigger place I pass for a while, so I bought some new shoes. I’ve been wearing Altras for years now, so hopefully my feet take to these ones (Salomons). I’m going to carry both for a few days just to see how it goes (and because I’m not ready to say goodbye to my Altras).
I’m at a hostel tonight, and have washed my clothes (for the first time properly since Sofia). Now I’m going for dinner with an Irish South-African guy I met there.
Glad to see you made it up onto the Sharr mtns and Oshlok with nice weather. Just a few short days and you’ll be through the gap and starting into the Dinaric Alps!
The ridge look great, what are those mountains called?
They are the Sharr Mountains, forming part of the border between Kosovo and North Macedonia.
Really impressed to see how fast you are progressing! Am currently hiking the Western Balkans (Greece to Slovenia), a couple of countries behind you…
Will also need new pair of shoes. Where exactly in Prizren did you find yours?
Hey Pierre, I hope you’re having a great time.
I originally thought I’d buy my shoes from a shop called Dardania Sport, but when I went to the location on Google, it wasn’t there. So I ended up getting my shoes from Intersport at the big shopping centre nearby.
On my hike out of town I did pass the Dardania Sport (further down the road from the Google marker), you could probably ask around to find it. I don’t know which shop has the better shoe selection, but they’re fairly close together. If you have the time/energy you could check both out.
Just getting to your site now Ben & am so enjoying the updates. Looks like you’ve made some good ground since Prizren, what an adventure! Feel honoured to have made the last pic haha. Keep it going & loving the posts
Hey Johnny, it was great to meet you and hang out. I hope the rest of your travels went well.