It had been a long day of travel; both of the bus journeys had taken an hour more than they should have. Then the taxi driver didn’t know the street our guesthouse was on, and drove around in circles looking for it before we decided to get out and walk.
From then on, it was easy. We found the correct street and the correct number, and gratefully arrived at Arvisa guesthouse in Pristina, Kosovo, where we were greeted by the friendly owner, Sefa.
He showed us to our room on the third floor, which we found equipped with a double bed, table and chairs, a large wardrobe and a heater. We had access to a large balcony, which looked out over the roof of the market below, towards the city centre.
The third floor is devoted entirely to double rooms, and lower floors have twin, triple and single rooms. At present there’s just one bathroom per floor, no ensuites, but Sefa’s planning to install at least three more in the near future, as well as considering converting some of the rooms to dorms.
We needed to eat before anything else, so Sefa pointed us in the direction of the central city. “Do you see that tall building, and that tower with the three fingers?” he asked. “That’s the government building. Behind it, is the street where no cars can go.”
Craig and I looked at each other. These buildings seemed quite far away and we were hungry now. “But how far is it?” we said.
Sefa thought for a minute. “About, mmm, 500 metres.”
Five minutes later, we were peering up at the tower, wondering what trick of perspective had made it seem so far away. Just around the corner was the start of the impressive Mother Teresa Boulevard, where most of Pristina seemed to be enjoying an evening stroll or having a beer or a meal in one of the many restaurants or cafés.
Back at Arvisa, we were ready to sleep, and were impressed at the soundproofing quality of the windows; when they were shut only the sound of the call to prayer filtered through, all other noise was completely blocked.
Arvisa does the essentials well: bathrooms have 24-hour hot water and wifi is available in every room. Security is also good: you enter the guesthouse through a small cafe that doubles as reception, so there’s always someone on duty to screen arrivals. And location couldn’t be better — the guesthouse is right in the middle of the green market, a five-minute walk from the center of town and close to cafés and restaurants. Although the nearest street was sometimes a little dirty in the evenings after the stall holders had packed up, we always felt safe in the area and thought that walking out the front door into a bustling market was a great way to start the day.
However, it was definitely a guesthouse rather than a hostel: there were no common areas for meeting other guests, which we’d gotten used to while hostelling through the Balkans.
But if you’re looking for quiet, well-priced accommodation in the centre of Pristina, Arvisa Guesthouse is a good choice.