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.