It takes only 40 minutes drive from Prishtina to the beautiful nature of the city of Mitrovica. The plan was to hike 16km in total to a place I have never been before. This place was called “Gjydet Castle” and the trip was organized by NGO “Qite Hapin” that operates in Mitrovica.
This time the climb was not as usual, it was more extraordinary since the youth of Mitrovica took an amazing initiative.
They have built the wooden bird houses and along the hike we had to put them to the trees.
Me as a climber I was invited as a special guest to talk and reflect about my climbing expeditions in Himalayas.
Since I was there I was curious to find out more about the word “Gjydet”. It was the first time for me to hear this word. I could not find any public writing or discussion that described its significance. According to the writer Bekim Shala, one of the participants of the hike, Gjydet is located in a volcanic rock in the middle of Cernusha mountain, Kutllovc village and Reshan in northeast of Mitrovica, whereby you can see a part of Vushtrri. In one part of the rock there are caves named as”Church Caves-Shpellat e Kishës”. Appartently you are able to imediately tell that they were built from humans for particular religious needs. According to a myth, ages ago this place was populated, but now it was abandoned. Nobody lives there, no humans, only the nature alone. Bekim had more information about the place, but this was enough to make me super curious. I was so impressed that I could not wait any longer. I was ready to start the hike immediately.
The hike began at around 9am from the center of Mitrovica. I felt great being there and talking to all the hikers, and I felt even better when four kids joined the hike Ajza, Siari, Genci and Ensari.
The hike started gradually. We were marching the route slow with the same pase, because we wanted to go all together. We wanted to enjoy the nature, to talk and to stop and place the wooden bird houses along the way.
While hiking up the sun was with us all time, and for a moment we stopped and looked the view we left behind. We turned to look and there was the beautiful view of the city of Mitrovica. It was wonderful, and so beautiful all as a group wanted to take a picture with that view in the background.
After two hours of hike, it was time to rest for a bit, and we stopped in a wide green field. In my backpack I had the climbing equipment I have used during my expeditions in Everest and Ama Dablam. I did not tell anybody I had them with me and I thought that moment was perfect to show them my equipment. I knew that especially the kids would be super happy.
While I was taking everything out of my bag, the big boots and the rest, I could already see all looking at them amazed. The faces of the kids were the ones I loved the most. They were looking surprised, curios and wanted to imediately touch them. Except the boots I took as well my expedition climbing clothes. I asked the kids if they wanted to try to put them on? “YES” was their imediate answer. I could see the happiness they had in their faces when they all said: I want to climb Everest one day”.
After a bit of rest, we continued the hike towards the castle. The wooden bird houses were decreasing in number because we already placed them during the hike.
In this hike, I got to meet families with kids and friends, and they were all very smily. The nature effects positively all of us, it impacts our wellbeing and human love. I was feeling great surrounded by my friends, because in nature it takes just a little time to build a strong and sincere connection with people. We were discussing different things in a natural way while enjoying the sun and the beauty of nature.
It was 1 p.m and we were hiking up getting closer to our destination Kalaja e Gjydetit. As we were walking all together we reached the peak. Bekim, the writer, was close to me what brought again in my mind the explanation he gave me that morning.
The sun and the beautiful weather made everything even more beautiful, because the view was so clear that we could see everything down the castle. I have never seen so many trail access. They are still in my memory and I want to go one day and hike through each of them.
I as well accepted a great gift from the writer Bekim Shala, which was his latest published book: “Kush e solli çetinën”.
We stayed 20 minutes in the peak and it was time to walk back in the same route we came. While spending time upthere I was looking at the kids and I was amazed by how they hiked with us all that way, and all you could hear from them was the language of happiness and joy. Their smiling faces showed me that they were not tired at all, they were ready to continue the hike to go back were we started. This great hike finished at around 15:00. We said goodbye to each other, and then while driving back in Prishtina I was thinking about the people I met this day: hikers, painters, writers, historians, activists, etc. all different type of careers, something expected from the city of Mitrovica that was always known as a source of knowledge, well known experts of science, art and culture.
By all means, kids made my day and it reminded me that it takes so little to be happy and kind. Those kids are the bright future of Mitrovica and our country!