Kosova Ethno-Tour 2024
With Anthropologist Janet Reineck, PhD
Janet Reineck, Trip Leader: "I lived in Kosova for eight years, as an anthropologist in the 1980s and as an aid worker in the 1990s. I love the Albanian people, their culture, their land, and want to share the Kosova experience with others! Last July, I organized the first Kosova Ethno-Tour, a journey of discovery into this little-known region with a group of 12 travelers. It was a wonderful trip – 10 invigorating days in the mountains of Opoja and Rugova, a deep dive into the culture. We're planning an expedition next summer with 12 more people interested in exploring this exotic, beautiful place, the newest country in Europe. I know Kosova well, I know its people and they know me, and I can guarantee a bounty of enriching experiences!"
Ken Olcott, 2023 Traveler: “Janet led us on a wonderful immersion into the true heart of Kosovo. We were privileged to experience the generous hospitality of her friends as they welcomed us into their lives and celebrations, hosted us in their homes and lodges, shared their unique traditions of food, music, and dance, and led us through beautiful landscapes. We joined people celebrating the joy of their homeland through weddings, and enjoyed relaxed times in village cafes and marketplaces, and mountain retreats. You could not see this unique, young country (2008), with its beloved traditions and heritage, with a better guide than Janet: dancer/ethnologist and Kosova goodwill ambassador."
DATES: 12 days, 2nd half of July (pending the dates of folklore festivals in Opoja and Vitia)
(Note: A good trip to combine with other European destinations!)
PRICE: $1,200 double room / $1,400 single room
The cost of the trip (all-inclusive, with lodging, delicious & healthy food, transport, activities - not including airfare) is MUCH LESS what you would pay for most tours - that's because my friends give us great rates and we're not trying to make a profit from the trip.
Balkan folkdance festival
Traditional village weddings
Picnics, nature walks and hikes
Cooking demos - Pita and fli
Music, dancing, and muhabet (conversation)
We'll be visiting these places in Western Kosova:
Opoja & Gora - Mountain valley on the Macedonian-Albanian border
Rugova Gorge - Spectacular scenery, mountain lodging
Has ("Hoss") - Mountain region, customs unique among Albanians
Prizren - Historic town at the foot of the Sharr mountains
Gjakova - Picturesque town in western Kosova
Deçan - Visit to a traditional Albanian stone house (Kulla)
Comments about the 2023 trip:
Arlinda Shatri, Trip Assistant: “Sending love and appreciation to everyone in our 2023 group – thank you all for your sense of humor and love! It felt like having so much of American culture in one place from 12 people who all the time were ready to tell me about the USA. Experiencing the sound of drums and traditional Albanian music with you was something wonderful I will never forget. I was fascinated by the way you danced and felt the music. This was an amazing ethnographic experience for me. I look forward to meeting our 2024 group!"
Lucy Andrino: “The Kosova Ethno-Tour was like no other… it was SUPERB! I’d go again in a heartbeat! We were led by our dance teacher Janet Reineck, and Arlinda, a young Albanian woman who added to our experience. Janet’s book “An American Woman in Kosova” enticed me to go. Since Janet has so many friends from her years in Kosova, we were treated like family and people offered us such wonderful hospitality. It felt like everywhere we went we were treated like Rock Stars. We attended several mountain weddings filled with tradition, closeness of family, dance and music. It was an honor to meet Dushe and her family in Rugova - they were so welcoming! It's a mountain area that reminded me of Yosemite. At the Balkan Dance Festival, dancers from 9 countries dazzled us with their performances! At the after-party Janet got the Ukrainians and groups from the other countries to dance with us. It was an extraordinary treat for all of us. She always makes it fun for all!”
Michael Matthews: “The trip was thrilling! The landscape of Kosovo was stunning. The live music was amazing, especially the Zurna (horns) and Lodra (drums). It was great watching the men dancing with pure joy and happiness, with deep attention to the rhythm, seeing the connection between them all, their grounded presence. The joy of the kids and the young men and laughing and sharing with them. Dancing with Janet and the Opoja Mayor– I was taken in by that. Seeing signs of the traditional ways women carry themselves, seeing them stand tall everywhere. Getting to go with Janet, to be let into their world based on her profound service and love and devotion to them was very special. And being treated like heroes from America, based on NATO’s intervention in 1999, was very moving.”
Leah Hurwitz: “The trip to Kosova with Janet was a phenomenal adventure. A unique opportunity to experience a culture with a guide who has lived there, has studied the culture in depth, is fluent in Albanian, and maintains intimate connections with friends and family there. I can appreciate that Janet is held in high esteem there for her continuing work to advance aid to the country. I felt honored to be given front row seats at the Folk Dance Festival due to her prominence. An extremely talented dancer, I loved watching Janet lead dances with the participants, as well as dancing with them myself, at the after party at the festival’s conclusion. Watching the dancers from the different Balkan countries dance with each other was inspiring, and gave me hope for a united world! Lastly, I sincerely enjoyed getting to know Janet, her assistant Arlinda (a Kosova native), and fellow travelers with whom I hope to remain in contact.”
Sukru Icimsoy: “It's always a good idea to have a local guide to show you around a new place you are visiting. Which we had, a very knowledgeable one, Arlinda, along with Janet, our American tour leader who is an honorary citizen of the country. Wow! Did we get some treats! The tour turned out pretty much what we were told it would be like. The hotels we stayed in were great, service in the restaurants were excellent. The driver was good. The bunch of us who wanted to explore and have fun were great people, and we established new friendships to last a long time. Kosova tour with Janet is highly recommended!”
Donnis Galvan: “What a lovely opportunity to be immersed directly into another world and feel the intimacy of the Albanian people directly via the deep personal connections Janet has with friends & family in Kosovo. I smile thinking about the warmth of the people we met, delicious food and the gorgeous wildflowers in the mountain settings withperfect unspoiled beauty for hiking.”