Labor Day Weekend Fun

I wrote this post two weeks ago and didn’t get around to publishing it.  Since then, we’ve been dealing with the loss of a dear cousin and friend in JR’s family.   It was unexpected and a sad reminder to not take a single day for granted.   This year has given us the highest of highs with Abby’s birth, but it has also been more difficult than anything we’ve ever experienced before.   My mom never let me say the word “sucks” growing up because I had a little brother and sister around, but I have to tell you, sometimes I just want to yell “This sucks!!”


Anytime we have a long weekend, we prefer to take advantage and head out of town for a few days.  Anticipating that, JR and I both requested vacation days for last Friday.  As the weekend drew closer, we realized that with all of JR’s recent – and upcoming – travel, a staycation might be best.  So we decided to stay close to home and explore around here a bit more, and spend quality time with Abigail.

Friday morning we drove to Mirusha falls.  If you’re a faithful reader (hi Mom!), you might recall that I had quite the experience on this hike about a year ago.  Our sweet little VW Passat was not cut out for the unpaved, rocky road that led to our destination.  I also had zero recollection of how to get there, so I wasn’t certain we were in the right spot.  We contemplated turning around but didn’t want to give up.  Finally we reached the parking area with our car and tires intact.

mirusha 1

Abby and I stayed put while JR hiked to the next level of the falls.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot so we enjoyed sitting outside and waiting for him to return.

mirusha 2

mirusha 3

That night we had dinner at one of our favorite places, Pinocchio.  It’s the best to us because the servers are super friendly and we always enjoy ourselves.  Plus they have a lovely view of the city.

Saturday morning we drove to Gracancica, a Serbian community with a beautiful monastery founded in 1321.  It was beautiful and peaceful.

monastery 2 monastery


Abby wasn’t all that interested.

abby mon

After lunch – chicken wrapped in bacon, ah the joys of finding a restaurant that serves pork! – we visited the Bear Sanctuary.  I went last year but JR had never been.  It’s on the small side and you can’t really spend a long time there, but they’re expanding it and it’s so great to see the bears in this environment, compared to the tiny cages they used to live in.

bears 1  bears 3

bears 4bears 2

Sunday was a lazy day and Monday we went downtown to walk around and have lunch.  We also happened to find this little sign that I wanted to buy months ago!  It’s perfect for Abby’s room and a neat souvenir from our time here!


Finally, Abby has a lot of cute clothes and we keep waiting for nice occasions to have her wear them.  She’s growing so fast that we anticipate her growing out of many of these outfits before they’ve been worn, so we had a few photo shoots.

photo (5)photo (6)


photo (1)abby 1

Also because I feel like a negligent cat-parent, here’s Annabelle.  She’s still pretty ticked off that we left her and then came back with a baby.



Mirusha Falls

I contemplated several different titles for this blog post, including “Our First and LAST Hike with Jessica”, “Why I Don’t Hike”, and “You Said We Were Taking a Short Uphill Walk.”

Jessica had the day off on Friday and offered to take Stacey and I to Mirusha Falls, a waterfall and swimming hole about an hour outside of the city. Now, Stacey and I aren’t the most outdoorsy people, but Jessica assured us that it wasn’t really a hike, more of a short uphill walk to get to the top of the falls and the place she wanted to swim. We both want to see more of Kosovo, and we were feeling adventurous so we said let’s go!

The drive was very pretty, and we only made a few wrong turns. It’s not always easy to find things here. Eventually we made our way to a very small, windy and bumpy road that promised the waterfalls were ahead. We parked and started walking.

This is the kind of “hike” I was imagining.

Right away we saw the beautiful waterfall, a large pool of water, and a few stands to buy refreshments and enjoy the view. It was gorgeous. I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, this took like 5 minutes and we’re here. I don’t even think it was uphill. How fun!” Little did I know, Jessica had other plans for us.





We started to make our way up what she called a trail, but I use that word very loosely. My thoughts alternated between “JR would be so proud that I did this” and “How proud will he be if I’m dead”.





It didn’t take long before Stacey and I were starting to struggle, even though Jessica hadn’t broken a sweat. She just continued on her merry way – upright, I might add, while Stacey and I were using more of a bear-crawl approach on all fours.

We heard whistling from down below, and looked to see the men from the restaurant waving at us and trying to get our attention. Stacey thought they were trying to tell us that we had gone the wrong way, but Jessica and I thought they were just saying hi, so we just kept going. A few minutes later, we realized one of the young men had actually climbed up to get us, to tell us we were in fact headed the wrong way. Oops!







Right before he stopped us, I swear Jessica was about to head directly up that cliff. There is no trail there!

So we had to backtrack through some tricky areas, but eventually we got to the next waterfall. Stacey and I were quite relieved to take a break, and we got some nice pictures.





Jessica informed us it was time to keep moving, we STILL hadn’t reached the swimming spot. This is how we felt about that.


We struggled uphill a bit further, and came to another waterfall and beautiful pool of water. Now, a word about me. I don’t think I have EVER just jumped into water like this. I can rock a swimming pool, I usually do okay in a lake with a lot of other people, and you know how I feel about the ocean, so when Jessica said it was time to swim, I was a bit scared. But I didn’t want to chicken out! I came this close to asking if there was any Kosovar Loch Ness Monster I needed to worry about, but I threw caution to the wind and jumped in. It was absolutely freezing, but it felt awesome. We couldn’t believe we were the only people up there.




Look at those bathing beauties! 🙂

I totally want to go back with JR. I have a very romantic notion of frolicking under a waterfall, like the scene from Cocktail (what a classic!) with “Run for the Shelter of Your Love” playing in the background. I’m sure he’ll be super pumped to play along. If you don’t immediately know what I’m talking about, shame on you.

The hike back down was pretty rough. Considering how much trouble we had finding a trail on the way up, it’s not surprising that we got lost. Jessica thought she had found the way down, and wound up going down a really steep incline. She couldn’t get back up. She thought she would find another way out, and said that Stacey and I (experienced hikers that we are) should try to find another way and she’d meet us at the bottom. How could that plan possibly go wrong? Stacey and I quickly realized we were not cut out for doing this on our own. We made our way back to where we had left Jessica, thinking she was long gone and we’d just try to make our way following her. Turns out, she was standing right where we had last seen her, and she was kind of stuck. She couldn’t find another way out, and she didn’t think she could get back up to us on her own.

Poor thing. After seeing Stacey and I struggle the whole morning, it’s no wonder she was skeptical when I told her I could help her. But we got her back up, and with our little group reunited we managed to make our way back to the bottom of the waterfall, with just a few scrapes and a lot of dirt covering us. Oh and we got to see this guy cliff jump/dive from pretty high up! Can you spot him sitting on the cliff?


It was a really awesome way to spend the day, and I can’t wait to go back. Thank you Jessica and Stacey for such a fun experience!