British climate activists Rosie Watson and Mike Elm stand Friday on a medieval fortress in Prizren, Kosovo. More photos at arkansasonline.com/430kosovo/.
(AP / Visar Kryeziu)
PRIZREN, Kosovo – US climate activists Rosie Watson and Mike Elm are on an international bicycle and run tour to promote their green campaign when they are trapped in Kosovo because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Watson, 25, from Loweswater in northwestern England, and Elm, 32, from Edinburgh, Scotland, have been stranded in Prizren, a city 50 miles southwest of the Kosovo capital, Pristina.
Since mid-March, Kosovo has been locked, with its borders closed. The virus has killed at least 22 people in the Balkan country, which has more than 500 confirmed cases, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.
The couple decided not to take evacuation flights organized by the British government, saying they were against plane travel and that they wanted to continue their journey once it was possible to do so. Their travel is low cost, and they have had free accommodations from the start.
They enjoy the historic cobblestone streets of Prizren, a city along the Bistrica River and the Sharri Mountains which was founded in the second century CE and has a medieval castle. They have also tasted fli, local butter pies, and have been convinced by traditional welcome from residents.
At Prizren, they focus on writing about their journey. Watson has a blog, as does Elm.
Watson started his blog, The New Story Run, in August from England, planning a two-year walking tour to Mongolia “to tell the story of people who have found better and more equal and healthier ways for us and the planets and dealing with the climate crisis. “After running 2,220 miles, or about 10 miles per day, he has collected a lot of things to write.
Inspired by his efforts, Elm joined him in November, aiming to cycle a total of 7,450 miles, or 30 miles a day. Before getting stuck, they take a different route, but they meet repeatedly along the way.
Elm said he met people at Prizren who were trying to “improve this beautiful city by bringing more trees and green space.” Previously, he was in Zlarin, Croatia, which aims to become the first island in the country that is free of disposable plastic.
“A better world for our children needs a better world for us now,” Elm said.
The pandemic will encourage people to “see some of the benefits of having fewer cars in the city and cleaner air, better sound, calmer environment,” he added.
When the border reopens, their plan is to continue their journey through Bulgaria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and finally Mongolia.
“This virus shows that we, and the government, have the ability to change people and entire countries very quickly – something we need to do to avoid the effects of the climate crisis,” Watson said.
Information for this article was contributed by Llazar Semini from The Associated Press.
Section on 04/30/2020
Print Headline: weather pandemic of a married couple in Kosovo
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