Getting Here

Originally, I was booked to fly on British Airways from Houston to London Heathrow, transfer to Gatwick, and then fly directly to Prishtina. When I realized that I probably couldn’t make the London transfer in the three-hours alloted and that the next BA flight to Prishtina was 48 hours later, I rerouted to Prague (no Gatwick transfer) and then enjoyed a week-plus migration south through central Europe: 2 days each in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, and then one day in Skopje before entering Kosovo.

Although January’s weather doesn’t suit casual tourism, it does guarantee far fewer tourists and, as a result, less congestion, better availability of accommodations, and lower prices. Central Europe is significantly less expensive than its western counterpart. (Vienna is “central” in its location though not so in its historical and cultural identity and costs.) The further south I got, the lower prices dropped as did the availability and selection of material goods.

Knowing that there could be Serbian-Kosovar border crossing issues, I took the bus (8+ hours) from Belgrade (Serbia) to Skopje (Macedonia), spent the night, and then took another bus (2 hours) from Skopje to Prishtina (Kosovo). At each border, there are two inspection stops: one to exit the first country and another to enter the second.

Tip #1: You must have a document from your hotel/hostel in Serbia that accounts for your stay to present (with your passport) to the border guard. Don’t leave your hotel without it!

Tip #2: At this point, I would not attempt a crossing between Serbia and Kosovo from either direction. In Belgrade, I ran into two Parisians who had tried to go from Kosovo in Serbia but were denied; they spent the night at the nearest station and then rerouted through Montenegro.

Buses are the way to go here: they are frustratingly slow, particularly if local rather than express, but they are much faster than the trains. Both are remarkably inexpensive but lack onboard bathrooms as well as substantial bathroom and meal stops. Uniformed, Serbian police rode the bus until we our last stop before the border.

Tip #3: Always, always have plenty of water, some non-messy food, and tissues/wet-wipes with you when you travel anywhere.

Tip #4: Always have plenty of small change and coins to pay for munchies, taxis, and bathrooms. Most bathrooms cost around 50¢. ATM bills are too large, and many locals just won’t take or change them.

About David McTier

Professor of Theatre Department of Theatre & Musical Theatre Sam Houston State University