Coffee with Hearts at Restaurant Paris in Planjane


Coffee with Hearts at Restaurant Paris in Planjane

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I love the title of this place: Restaurant Paris. My friend took me here one day because he wanted to show me his favorite mountain village, Planjane. Our first stop was Restaurant Paris where we enjoyed chatting over coffee and looking out at the view. I’ve never received a macchiato in Kosovo that has been so beautifully decorated. Look, there’s a heart drawn into the foam…..that’s so Parisian. How fitting!

Serbian Medieval Fortress in Zupa Valley


Serbian Medieval Fortress in Zupa Valley

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Outside of Prizren in the valley is the Monastery of the Holy Archangels. It was founded by the Serbian Emperor Dusan between 1343 and 1352 when he made Prizren his capital city. The monastery was one of the grandest in all of Serbia at the time. It was constructed to be his burial place. The complex consisted of a cathedral church, a smaller church, a baptistery, and of course living/eating/studying facilities encircling all around the monastery. The monastery was rich with gold, icons, and reliquaries. It’s treasury was impressive. It’s riches made it vulnerable to attack, and so a fortress was constructed to protect it. At the top of the mountain next to the monastery is a fortress, which guarded the complex below both day and night. The fortress also guarded the entrance route into the magnificent city of Prizren, because the road you see behind me was the singular access road from the southern countries. Enemies, merchants, and citizens alike had to enter and leave through this road. I’m proud to say that I hiked up this beast of a mountain. The view is spectacular. You can see the fortress remains behind me. In the middle of this fortress, there would have been yet another orthodox church so the guards could pray as they please and god would keep watch over them. Albanians call this fortress “Kalaja e Cikave” which means Girls Castle, possibly because this castle is much smaller than the big one in the city. I’ve also heard it’s because girls used to sunbathe up here. Whatever the reason for the name, it seems to minimize the fact that this is a Serbian historical monument.

Shendet i Ri Sweet Shop


Shendet i Ri Sweet Shop

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Shendet i ri means new health in Albanian. This sweet shop is just a block from my home and it’s owned by a group of Bosniak brothers from the Dragash region of Kosovo. All of the sweet shop owners in Prizren are from Dragash….they must have special, secret ways of making delicious sweets. I’ve gotten to know all of the brothers who work here and I’ve become a favored, daily client. I love to stop in and get a bag of “parachutes,” cookie sandwiches that look like macaroons. The man in this picture is Ceko, he speaks Italian and so do I. I regularly come in when he’s working and I get a free bowl of ice cream, every time. We talk in Italian over coffee and ice cream about life in Kosovo, the business, and happenings in Prizren. My last couple days in Prizren, I stopped by the sweet shop when Ceko’s older brother was working. He gave me a big, warm greeting. I told him I was going to leave Kosovo in a couple days and his response was, “Well are you going to have a party?” “No, there’s no time for a party.” “Laura, you must have a party. I will make you a big cake that you can share with all of your friends.” That was nice of him to say that. During my last few hours in Prizren I stopped by the sweet shop to get my last bowl of free ice cream and say my goodbyes to the brothers.

The Filigran Shopkeeper at His Usual Perch


The Filigran Shopkeeper at His Usual Perch


The filigran company that I’m an apprentice for has a small shop in the center of the city of Prizren, along the historic “Metalsmith’s Street.” Normally, business is quiet. If he’s lucky, the shopkeeper will sell one piece of jewelry that day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him busy. To be honest, I even caught him sleeping at the bench one time and he sprang awake like a firecracker as soon as he heard me walk in. Usually, he sits out on the street while greeting friends and passerbys. To get to where I need to go, I normally pass along this street. Every time I walk by we wave and greet each other. Sometimes he likes to test my Albanian and I can’t always understand what he’s saying. One time, I passed by the store with a friend and I greeted the shopkeeper as usual. Suddenly, with a surprised look on his face, my friend said to me, “Do you know what he just said?” I replied, “Yeah, he asked how I was doing.” “No, he called you sweetie. He said, ‘how are you, sweetie?'” Awwww, well that’s sweet.

Holy Friday


Holy Friday

The center of Prizren is usually really busy, but on Friday afternoon around 12 it’s SUPER packed. That’s because not only is it break time, but it’s also the Muslim holy day. Sinan Pasha Mosque is always full for the noon prayer time. Sometimes, it’s so full that people will pray on the sidewalk or on the street in front of the mosque.

Restaurants Named After Cigarettes


Restaurants Named After Cigarettes


Presenting, Marlboro restaurant in Recan, a small village in the valley outside of Prizren. Whoever named this place must really enjoy smoking. A restaurant named after cigarettes just doesn’t crave my appetite. “Marlboro” doesn’t put a good taste in my mouth. Despite the name, Marlboro restaurant claims to have delicious food. When you ask Prizreni city people where they like to go for a lovely weekend meal, they almost always say “Marlboro Restaurant.” It’s located in a quaint village surrounded by nature and mountains that many city people find quite attractive. I’ve never eaten here myself but judging by popular opinion, it must be good! Not long afterwards, I found the sister restaurant: Camel. This establishment can be found in Ljubinje, a mountain village outside of Prizren.