Monday, June 26, 2017

Kosovo Arrival and Stone Castle

It was a long, but successful day or days of travel. With the time change it became hard to tell how long we had spent on airplanes and in airports. Once we arrived in Kosovo we received a very warm welcome from Consul General Xhavit Gashi who ushered us to a bus to take us to a VIP reception. We were able to enjoy coffee, water, and conversation while our baggage was collected and passports were processed. This allowed us to bypass the hustle and bustle of the airport.

We then were able to see some of the city as we made our way to our hotel for check-in. Right after check-in we enjoyed appetizers in a ped-mall area as we reviewed our schedule for the week. Following this time we headed back to the hotel and prepared to head out for dinner.

For dinner we travelled to Stone Castle Winery and Vineyards, about one hour from Pristina. This allowed us to see much of the countryside. We noted most of the fields were small and the terrain became rougher as we traveled away from Pristina. For crops we saw a lot of corn, small grains, and hay. As far as livestock we came across some cattle, horses, and sheep.

Before dinner we had the opportunity to tour the production facilities of Stone Castle Winery and Vineyards. They have many award winning wines. They have 2,243 hectares at the winery and vineyard with 600 hectares in grape production currently. They must buy 3/4 of the grapes they use creating a great market for grapes in the area for other producers. They have separate facilities for white and red wine production making them unique from others.

Following our tour we enjoyed an enormous meal at Stone Castle. We were not sure if the food would ever stop coming. We shared great company with many honored guests in attendance. As we return to Pristina this evening we are enjoying the wisdom and conversations shared with Secretary Northey. We look forward to our first full day in Kosovo tomorrow!

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