Kosovo : Visiting a country for 30 minutes just to tick it off my list!!
How long do you need to spend in a country to be able to tick if off you list to have visited? I don’t think an airport transfer counts you need to actually step outside to be able to tick it off, but I think 30 minutes is OK.
I recently did a tour of the Balkans, but Kosovo was missing from the itinerary, we were so close by being in Skopje which was less than 30 minutes’ drive from the Kosovo border, so we arranged a little side trip with the help of our wonderful tour guide.
We literally drove over the border and got dropped off at the gas station 1 minute from the border, we then walked down the street, we only had 30 minutes to explore. It was quite a surreal experience we were getting some very strange looks from the locals, must have been a little strange to see 19 tourists walking around.
There was a huge concrete factory on the other side of the border and then a little town with a few shops.
We walked into a local grocery store as I wanted to see if there was any local produce, we could buy but nothing seemed to stand out different from the rest of the Balkans apart from some huge peppers.
It was starting to get dark during our visit so we headed back to the gas station as it just didn’t feel right walking around in the dark. I don’t think it was dangerous I just didn’t feel comfortable especially since everyone was staring, they would literally stop walking to have a nosey at us we must have been a right sight.
It was Ramadan and I didn’t realise the most popular religion in Kosovo was Muslim. We visited just before sundown and the locals in the gas station were watching a countdown clock with a picture of the mosque on the TV and then when the countdown finished lots of food was brought out. Some of the group still walking around the town got to hear the call to prayer from the two mosque towers.
The houses are a different design to what I had seen in the Balkans and I would love to have explored more but we just didn’t have the time. At least I can say I visited Kosovo, had a local beer in the gas station for 1-euro bargain!! and used the toilet so I can now cross that off my list of countries I have visited.
We then drove back through the border, the border control came on the bus to collect our passports and asked us if we had a good time in Kosovo with a smirk, I am sure they knew we had just visited for 30 minutes as at all the other border crossings on this trip they never asked us if we had a nice time. Our driver then stopped at another gas station on the Macedonia border to fill up the coach and this is where we saw police 4×4 with machine guns on the roof, the policemen were all sat down having their dinner, I tried to get a photo but it’s not very clear since it was dark and there was a lorry by the police trucks with it’s lights flashing. This is the first and only time I saw vehicles like this during our trip around the Balkans.
Thinking about it I did the same in Laos when I was touring Thailand, I went on a boat trip and it dropped us off for an hour on Laos, it was only at a tourist stop with some shops selling souvenirs and how they made them. So, I didn’t really get to the see country and since I really want to explore Laos more, I am going to visit it again but I guess I could technically cross it off as a country I have visited.
How long do you think you need to stay in a country to be able to say you have visited? Have you done something similar and crossed a border for a short amount of time just so you can say you have visited somewhere?