Waterfalls in Kosovo

As I’ve mentioned many times before, Kosovo possesses a lot of natural beauty. (Have I convinced you to come visit yet??)Kosovo mirusha white drin waterfalls

As the weather has gotten nicer my host family has taken me on a few memorable outings to see some of their favorite sites and to learn about the culture of Kosovo. This included celebrating St. George’s Day in a nearby village, where we witnessed hundreds of sheep being sacrificed and a giant regional feast. Fortunately we’ve also had some outings that are a little less… intense.

Two of my favorite family field trips this spring have been seeing Kosovo’s waterfalls.

In March we visited the White Drin Waterfall, which is located near the city of Peja.

The waterfall is 82 feet (25 m) high and is located at the mouth of the White Drin river. The area is surrounded with beautiful mountainous scenery, including a cave that can be explored in the summer months.

In the summer the waterfall is surrounded by lush green scenery, but when we visited the first signs of spring were just starting to show. In many ways that made the vibrant blue color of the waterfall even more striking. The water was incredibly clear.

It was also a great time to visit because there were not many visitors. In the warmer months the waterfall is a very popular destination. We spent the day hiking around the waterfall, taking pictures, and of course taking a break to make Turkish coffee in the park. It is not an outing in Kosovo without at least one coffee break.

Last weekend we visited Mirusha Waterfall in central Kosovo. This site is actually a series of seven major waterfalls located in a 6 mile-long canyon with 13 lakes separated by the waterfalls. Unfortunately we did not have time to see all of them because it takes a few hours to hike the length of the canyon, and it was a very hot day.

The canyon also includes several caves. Mirusha Park is one of the most popular sites in Kosovo, and because the weather was hot and sunny when we visited it was more crowded than the White Drin Waterfall. A lot of people also swim in the lake located below the largest waterfall, which is 72 feet (22 m) high. Although the water was very cold, several people were swimming and jumping from the waterfall while we had our picnic.

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Enjoying a picnic with a perfect view of the brave souls jumping from the waterfall.

Because it was such a hot day, I was extremely tempted to jump into the water. My host sisters and I finally decided to go for a swim with our clothes on, but host dad stopped us. This ended up being for the best, because I later read that the water in Mirusha has been known to cause infections. Visitors are advised to avoid contact with the water during the spring because the water often becomes contaminated after the snow melts.

Unlike the water of the White Drin, the Mirusha River’s water is more greenish-brown. But it is still a beautiful site, especially with the white and pinkish canyon walls surrounding the lakes. I’d still consider going for a swim if we visit later in the summer. Not so sure about jumping from the waterfall though…


Spring is here & I couldn’t be happier

I have a new respect for winter. And by respect I mean contempt kept in-check by fear of something incredibly powerful.

I thought I knew winter pretty well. I mean, I grew up in Minnesota, lived in Chicago, and then lived in one of the coldest parts of Alaska for two years. But winter without indoor heating is something else. Even though the temperature did not plummet to the depths I experienced in Alaska, the cold was inescapable.

But the good news is that spring has sprung in Kosovo!

It actually happened very suddenly. One day I was wearing my winter coat, and literally two days later I was wearing sandals and t-shirts.

To celebrate the first day of spring, my host family and I made the traditional Albanian dish flia. (And what I really mean is that my host mother did 98% of the work while I watched, tried to help, and then resigned myself to taking pictures.)

A couple weeks later we went to a giant park outside of Gjakova, where we had a picnic with some extended family. We packed a feast to eat on the picnic.

There’s only a couple months of school left and they are sure to fly by. In a couple weeks we will be celebrating St. George’s Day in a nearby village, which I’ve been told will involve hundreds of animal sacrifices and feasting.

School is also concluding soon, with the 12th graders finishing in early May and the 10th-11th graders going through the first week of June. We also have prom to look forward to in mid-May, which is a big deal for graduating students in Kosovo. It is very formal and includes the teachers, so I will need to figure out what to wear! Stay tuned for pictures!

In the meantime, here are some more pictures of me with my host sisters from our picnic:

To read more about what it’s been like living with a host family, check out this post.