(19 May 2010 Wednesday)


Our target today is to arrive at Kosovo. We are planning to visit one of our friends in Kosovo. Pristina, Kosovo will be a good stop for us to rest a  little bit before we pass to Montenegro.  But, there will be another stop for us before going there... on our route... it is an important stop for us historically...





We get out of Ohrid first and move to Debar. The scenery is just beautiful along the road.





We watch all the beautiful rivers, dam lakes, snowy mountains and twisty roads... and we can move without stopping for some photographs...


After we passed Debar, we move to Centar Zuga and take the road to the left which goes to Kocacik Village.

Kocacik Village is the birth place of Ali Riza Efendi, who is Ataturk's, the founder of the Turkish Republic, father...  The altitude goes higher while moving forward to the village... and this makes the scenery beautiful... but we can't stop for a photograph because the road is not in good condition... and while riding, we give the way to a Mercedes which carries a Turkish flag on it... the car didn't stop and continue moving, we guess that we are going to the same place so we ignore it.

Because we don't know where Kocacik Village is, we slow down at every village with the thoughts that it is.. after a 15-km ride, we arrive at Kocacik village finally...


There is an unusual traffic jam at the entrance of the village while we are taking this photograph... and when we are thinking about an activity going on in the village, a car pulls up and says that there is a festival today in the village... then invites us. We finish the photograph work immediately, and join them.

We arrive at the village school when we get into the village by following the crowd. The village people comes by and says hello to us when we get to the school. After we ask them about the festival, and we learn that today is 19 May... which is the starting day of Turkish Republic's Independence War against emparialism. 


Therefore, it is more meaningful to come to Kocacik Village for us becase it is 19 May. 19 May 1919 is the starting day of our Independence War against emparialist coutries who tried to invade our country. So, Ataturk left Istanbul to start a war against them by a ship, called Bandirma, and arrive at Samsun, a city in Anatolia. And arrange people there to fight against the enemy. 

While we are chatting with the village people, we learn the owner of the Mercedes. He is the Turkish ambassador in Macedonia. His driver comes by to thank to us for pulling over for them to pass. He says the ambassador wants to talk to us, and we take the offer with honor...


From left to right: Emel, The bodyguard of the ambassador, The president of the Kocaturk Charity, Me, and the vice president of the Kocaturk Charity. 


The driver of Turkish Ambassador...


Ramazan and his lovely daughter, who showed great hospitality to us. They come to Turkey a lot because of the folk dance festivals...



And the celebrations get started with Turkish and Macadonian National Anthems. It is good to hear that your national anthem is playing in a different country, although it is a Turkish village...

We went to the house of Ali Riza Efendi, which stays with only few stones while the celebrations continues. We see the ruins of the house from 200 meters away by the two villagers, and we don't want to move forward because the time is passing. So, we get on the way again...


We say good bye to Kocacik Village...

After Kocacik, the road takes us into the Mavrovo National Park, and we go through it with very good sceneries to Skopje, Macedonia. We eat some stuff on the road, then we continue. We arrive at the Kosovo Border while we were thinking about buying some gas with our last dinars (Macedonian Money)... so the dinars stay with us...

We face with a surprise while passing the border. Our greencard is not valid in this country. Of course the police knows it and they first check it among the other documents. I think they make lots of money from this issue. Of course there is an insurance office at the gate and they do the insurance for at least one month. it is 20 €. We made our insurance for all of the Europe for only 80 €, but we pay 20 € for this country, although we're going to stay for only one night. Nothing to do...

The roads are all flat, and bad. There are lots of cars and trucks, and a silly traffic. We go on a one way road until Pristine by staying away from the radars. 

We face with caos again in Pristine like all the other parts of Kosovo in terms of traffic. The place where we're going to visit is called Film City, which is a NATO base. Because we passed lots of good places until here, we ask to a taxi driver immediately for the place. Because we don't want to spend more time in this place. The taxi driver wants money to give the directions to the place, but he tells it later. Because there are only 2 or 3 main roads in here, we find Film City easily. We give our friend's name to the Greece soldiers at the gate then we begin to wait.


Our friend comes after 10 minutes, and hugs us because he is abroad away from the family... then we eat and drink and chat... and finally the time for departure for us comes rapidly.. he says us goodbye and we leave for the hotel that he arranged for us...


He also gives us a guide from Kosovo. Otherwise, I don't think we could find the hotel at that time of the night. The Kosovo People (who are actually Albanian) love Turkish People a lot. By the way, we saw 4 Turkish schools in Macedonia and Kosovo. This guy also graduated from one of them, he speaks Turkish very good.

Our hotel is way beyond our expectations, 1+1 apart and it is very clean. After we get into the room, we begin to sleep without knowing what to see and experience tomorrow...


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