Sunday morning we woke up early to say goodbye to a few Monsooners whose trip was ending in Podgorica, and for the rest of us to head to Ostrog Monastery. It was an easy 15 minute walk to the bus station from our hostel, and then about an hour bus ride to the city Niksic. From there the 10 of us squeezed into two taxis which would wait for us and take us back to the station. It was hot and uncomfortable, but for only €20 for each taxi and this incredible monastery, it was well worth it.
It was established in the 17th century, but underwent renovations in the 1920s. Unlike many other churches and monasteries I have visited, Ostrog is still an active pilgrimage site, and we were without a doubt in the minority as tourists. Many people doing the pilgrimage will hike the 3km from the lower monastery (which we did not visit) to the upper monastery barefoot and there was no shortage of bare feet while we were there.
After making the trek back down the mountain in a taxi that was way too hot and had a gas meter indicating the tank was empty, we made our way back to Podgorica to relax until our overnight bus to Peja. The bus left at 9:30 PM, and around 2:00 AM we went through the border crossing between Montenegro and Kosovo. We were all pretty much passed out so I was very glad when our passports were collected instead of having to get off the bus. Around 3:45 AM we arrived in Peja and decided to walk 20 minutes to the hostel instead of taking taxis which would be €15 each (for comparison the taxi from the hostel in Podgorica to the bus station, which was a longer distance, was €1 per taxi). Upon arrival we discovered the hostel to be open but no reception (questionable security, but in this case it worked in our favour). We found some couches and chairs and it was every person for themself to find a place to crash until the morning since our beds would not be available until the afternoon. I was lucky and got a section of pretty comfy couch.
When we were woken up by the hostel staff making breakfast, we decided to go explore the city. There isn't much to do in the city of Peja itself besides the bazar and a few mosques, but there are lots of wonderful hiking trails on the outskirts. We went to Patriarchate of Peć, a medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery that is about a 20 minute hike away from the city centre. The tensions between Serbia and Kosovo has resulted in the monastery being protected by police officers and we had to register with our passports before entering the complex.
After wandering through the grounds and the church, one of the nuns gave us all shots of their homemade rakia. Unexpected but very nice. At this point the rest of the group went to another monastery (which they discovered was closed) while I took a cat nap and relaxed by myself for a while. I love travelling with groups but sometimes me time is necessary.
Once they returned we made our way to Semitronix Hotel to enjoy the views of the city from their rooftop bar before dinner and hookah and calling it an evening.