aynnjay aynnjay

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Aynn J.  I'll watch my wildest dreams come true. & there's a world out there that we should see 🌎| #AJwanderlust

We decided to rent a car for a couple of days in Sofia since the places that we’re planning to go to was quite a distance away from the city. Being one of the nine UNESCO Heritage World Site in Bulgaria, Rila Monestary was the first monument that we decided to visit.

Getting here wasn’t the easiest as there’s only one morning bus that goes to the monument daily. The journey took us about 2 hours, but it was definitely worth the trip.

A 5 hours bus journey from Skopje led us to the neighbouring country, Bulgaria. We decided to stay in Sofia for a couple of days. Had an interesting encounter of a peaceful protest as we head out for dinner, though we were totally clueless what the protest was about. But that’s the first for me and as interesting as it was, I really hoped that it wouldn’t escalate to a violent one cause that would be really terrifying and luckily, it didn’t.

What’s so strange about Skopje I feel, is how there are wayyyyy too many statues around the main city area. And the funny thing is, most of the statues have no significant meaning behind it - so it’s basically pointless.

Being one of the poorest country in Europe, the money spent to build all these statues definitely could’ve been used for a better purpose, like for the citizens, etc. There were even protests from the people. Still, a few more was being built when we were there few months back.
Then again, maybe that’s the whole point of it eh? To build so many of the statues so that it could attract more tourists hahah, idk? 🤷🏻‍♀️

We left Prizren for Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo. There was nothing much there I feel, so we decided to cut short our stay in Pristina and continue on to the neighbouring country, Macedonia.
Skopje was the first (and only) city that we went to in Macedonia and oh how I was pretty overwhelmed when we got there haha! It was definitely one of the stranger city that we’ve been to, but I love it somehow!

We stayed long enough until maghrib’s call to prayer was heard and it was one of the most incredible moment -
To witness and listen to what felt like a never-ending echo of azan throughout the entire town. I remembered counting the number of mosques that we could see from up here but I couldn’t recall now how many there are. But what we experienced definitely gave us instant goosebumps!

Where you go I’ll follow, no matter how far
If life is a movie, then you’re the best part ✨

We left Pejë for Prizren the next day and the bus journey took us about 2 hours. For some reason, Prizren reminds me so much of Sarajevo though!

We were lucky that our accommodation was close to the Kalaja Fortress. So we decided to spend one afternoon at the fortress to watch the sunset. The hike was steep and took us almost 30 minutes. But being able to witness the birds-eye view of the town makes the entire journey worth it!

Didn’t do any research prior to the hike, so I had no idea that the Halja Peak sits on the Kosovan-Montenegrin border until my husband told me once we reached the peak. From where my husband is standing, Montenegro is on the left and Kosovo is on the right.

It was a long way down back to where we started and walking along the mountain ridge definitely was not easy for me, especially when I could see how steep the slopes are on both sides. But with @rahmatsamsuri’s patience, we both got through it and managed to reach the foot of the peak before it gets dark.

Reached the peak safely after what felt like forever and it was such a relief! We couldn’t stop hugging each other, so so thankful that we both got through this safe and alive. One of our scariest experience definitely!!

One of the many breaks that we took cause the hike got harder and scarier as we ascend towards the peak.
To hike an almost 70 degrees incline was no joke. It’s almost like we were rock climbing, but with no ropes. There’s no way that this could’ve been the right trail towards the peak. (I couldn’t stop questioning myself what have we gotten ourselves into and oh, just imagine our regrets following the maps.me app hah 🙄)
It doesn’t help that were the only ones there and the strong gush of wind every now and then stressed us out even more. I did contemplate to not carry on with the hike and just make our way down, but descending would be many times more challenging and dangerous because it was very steep.

It got to a point where the only way that we’ll be able to proceed was to lean our body forward, grab hold of the big rocks and pull ourselves up. Yes, walking was impossible by then because we could easily fall off.
I got stuck for a while and the thought of slipping and falling to death almost made me cry. No words to describe how I felt at that moment, really. The fear was so real, there’s nothing that I want so desperately than for us to reach the peak safely and alive.

The trek was pretty straightforward and manageable for the first 2 hours. After passing by a shepherd and his flock of sheep, we began the steep ascend towards the peak. It was hard to find the trail markings by then, so we decided to use the maps.me app and follow the trail on the map instead (which turns out to be a big mistake!)

Pejë was the first city in Kosovo that we went to and we decided to stay in a hostel this time after some recommendations. I was excited to know that there’s plenty of hiking to do here. So the next day, we decided to go for a hike to Halja Peak, which is part of the Peaks of Balkans.

Since there were no public transportation towards the direction we’re heading, we decided to hitchhike to get to our destination. Walking is an option too but we were also told that it’s common here in Kosovo to hitchhike, so we decided to try our luck.

Less than 10 mins after leaving the city, we saw a car approaching and thankfully, they stopped for us haha! Cramping 6 people in the car was not the best thing to experience in the morning, but at least we get to cut our travelling time by a lot, so all is good!

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