|Before leaving Sarajevo we looked at the possible routes to Pristina using both maps and route 99 on the computor, despite giving much thought to our choices we picked the wrong option!!! Within a couple of km's of Sarajevo we passed a sign proclaiming Republic of Serbska and our problems started here, the road signs all changed to Russian, this is a language that is total jibberish to me, and was not going to help us find our way as I had writen down the names of the places were we needed to make a turn using the Serbo-Croat spellings on the map, Anyway we managed to make the turn for the 5 to Gorazde, but about three km's along the road we were pulled over by a freindly local who told us the road ended at the other side of his village and was just a dirt track, he said it would be much better to go back the 19 and go the long way round, he was quite insistant so remembering that many of these roads were mined during the war we took heed of his advice and turned around.
A couple of hours later we stopped at a village cafe close to the Yugoslavian border to use our last bosnian money, well fed and watered we left thinking the border was very close, IT WAS, but it was hidden from my sight down a side turning behind some buildings and trees and was not signposted at all, so on our merry way we went until the road ended in a village about 8 km's away, a quick conversation with a local (well I asked for Preboj and he pointed back the way we had come) ,so we turned around and went back, we got back to about five hundred metre's of the cafe and the border crossing came into view, I cursed the hidden border and the wasted time, but this border was going to waste a lot more time!!!. Going out of Bosnia was easy and the border patrols were impressed with the bikes, we just had to wait for them to find a stamp to stamp the passport. Don't think he had done that in a long time. This was our first stamp. Gettng into Yugoslavia ( to us ) Serbia ( to them ) was a pain in the neck. They spoke Russian only and we didn't. They were ranting and raving about a "Polizti" and we gave them all our paperwork which was obviously not enough. A Swede turned up at the border then and the guard showed us his "Green Card" - aha now we know. We didn't have one. Eventually between the Guard in Russian, the Swede in German and English and Jenny in whatever she could understand we found out that we could buy insurance there as our insurance certificates were invalid to them. This came to $112 ( as we had insufficient Euro's to pay with ). This process took around 2 hours............... Once insuranced up we headed on towards Prijepolje where we turned onto the 8 towards Novi Pazar but within a couple of kilometres the road turned to rough dirt track. By now getting to Pristina was already looking a bit iffy. We stopped and had another sign language conversation with a local who despite us not understanding insisted on yakking away gleefully to us ! He directed us back the way we had come - back to Prijepolje. Off we went. We found what we thought was the right turning and headed down it - bloody dirt track round the corner here too....... Along comes our helpful local on his bicycle and an old women with a cow with a bell and two calves. The old women seemed to think it would be OK to take the bikes up the track and gestured over the mountain. The lad said no. So we went back to Prejepolje and headed for Berane. We continued on meeting no more dirt tracks - thank god - but started having problems with Police check points. Although we got through them all reasonably OK and quickly there were just so many of them - lost count but around 8-10 between Prejepolje and Kosovska Mitrovica. We stopped in Berane to get some petrol using our last Euro's and to ask if there was an ATM nearby. No - not here. As it turns out not anywhere in Kosovo. Heading on again we came across a long tunnel with a road works sign outside it - by now we knew to slow down drastically as there could be anything inside - we were surprised to find that there were heavy machinery cutting concrete, the tunnel was full of dust, no lighting, the only way to see anything was with the visor up so your face and eyes got full of dust. Glad to get out of that - on we go. Our last checkpoint was a UN one - thank god - English speaking Jordanian and Egyptian Police. We stopped on the way in a big town and asked for an ATM - the local advised that "No, Kosovo shit for money". It is now starting to get dark. We passed through a fly storm for the next 2 km's and had to stop when Jenny exclaimed that she had a bug in her ear. Until we reached Kosovska Mitrovica we stayed close behind a local car so that we had some idea of where the enormous potholes were ( possible shell craters???? judging by the size of them ). It took around 45 mins to do 10km's. Cliff had his first big moment almost falling into one of the craters after coming out of one and into another with the bike sideways ( full opposite lock, foot down and pray :-o ). In Kosovska Mitrovica we came across French UN troops patrolling a bridge, keeping the Albanian Kosovans and the Serbian Kosovans apart. We spoke in perect English to the French guard who said there was an ATM just up the road. We parked the bikes and walked the 20 metres to the ATM which was behind a huge fence with an armed Security Guard inside it. We explained the situation and he advised that the ATM was only a local machine and not international. Back to the French guard who suggested that we go to the Palace Hotel just outside town which may accept credit cards. Apparently in town they would have accepted any currency that was going. By this time we had accumulated a gathering of young local lads around the bikes. The French Guard soon got rid of them via verbal shouting and waving his Baton asking them if they wanted some of it !!! So we could stay in town but there was a chance there would be no bikes left by the morning, confirmed by the French guard that "It was a risk". We found the rather posh Palace Hotel and the car park attendant ( Police ) directed us into parking spaces. We went in and the rceptionist who spoke very good English said that they they did accept credit cards - YIPPEE. We booked in and didn't even ask the price. Back out for the gear and the bell-boy and the Police parking attendent brought our baggage in. We had a wonderful meal and a good night sleep. In the morning we went to pay, to be told CASH ONLY. She got Cliff's card out of the safe, removed the post it note that said visitor and handed it back. To cut a long story short eventually we paid in dollars - the meal was missed off the bill - serves them right for being such twits.
We rode on past Pristina to Skopje and then on towards the Greek border. Stopped for fuel and asked if they accepted credit card - the man smiled and said yes so we filled up both bikes and went to pay with the credit card. CASH ONLY he says......................f*'k, f&"K..............another idiot. If the good lord ever wanted somewhere to put all the idiots then this was it as they would feel at home here. Tolls in Macedonia were excessive - the last one costing 10 Euro's for the bikes and the road ended within 2 km's.
We hit the Greek border with a great sigh of releif - civilisation again.
We have no pictures of Kosovo - except one - the carrot chicken that Cliff had on his meal in the Palace Hotel. This was the highlight of two bad days !!!!