Category Archives: The Sovereign State of Kosovo

May 28, 2012- Day 13 (Mirupafshim, Kosovo)

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“When will independence be returned to Prizren, Serbia?”
Rough translation and may be slightly off

This morning we were supposed to sit in on a mock election in Prizren, Kosovo. Unfortunately we were misinformed about the provision of translation and so we left after the lunch break. Instead, we toured the city with Marigona and had a very delicious lunch and gelato at Ambient Restaurant. Today was kind of a relaxed day in which we mostly acted like typical tourists. It was very fun. We ran into some Turkish children outside a convenience store. They were quite precocious and a little rude but mostly cute, especially when Ashley began taking photos of them and showing them. They wanted her to friend them on Facebook and post their photos.

Beautiful 600 year old mosque along the river in Prizren, Kosovo

Gelato! ❤

Some kids having a “water war” in the city square

A Serbian church smack dab in the middle of Prizren
Its under police protection to prevent vandalism

After we left Prizren, it was Mirupafshim, Kosovo and Përshëndetje, Albania! We arrived in Shkoder in the late evening.

Black mineral mined in Albania and used to make roads. It is not actually used in Albania due to the poor condition of the roads and the even poorer construction infrastructure.

The sunset in Shkoder was beautiful

Sunset in Shkoder, Albania

Our lovely hotel inexplicably named Argenti University

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May 27, 2012- Day 12 (Mountain Retreat From Past Sorrows)

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Rugovë, Kosovo

Usually we wake up every morning and just get in the bus with a vague idea regarding the day’s plans, but today was not like every other day, no today we were totally unprepared for what awaited us. First, on our way to Rugovë, we were shocked into grief stricken silence when Shkodran shared his story (which I have sworn to keep secret). The most I can say is that I would not wish what happened to the Kosovar during the war on my worst enemy.

God, Fate, Destiny, whomever you believe in is a sneaky bastard however, because after hearing his story and being unable to process the grief and rage it caused we came upon an extremely tricky bit of mountain road. Three times we had to squeeze past other travelers on a barely one-way dirt path, in the rain, on the side of a mountain. Needless to say, by the time we made it up to our destination we were stress free due to the extreme release of endorphins caused by near-death panic. Luckily we were never in any danger because our driver, Zamir, is an amazing Godsend of a man who safely got us to the top none the worse for wear.

Rugovë, Kosovo

Cows on the front lawn… only in the Balkans
Rugovë, Kosovo

Once there we had a wonderful lunch amidst some truly spectacular mountain scenery and arrived safely back in Pristina.

May 26, 2012- Day 11 (Mitrovica: The Most Dangerous City in Europe)

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Mitrovica, Kosovo

Today we ventured into the heart of the Kosovar-Serbian struggle, a city called Mitrovica. It is currently the most dangerous place in Europe due to the violent tensions between the Serb occupied northern part of the city, and the southern Kosovar side. We were accompanied on this daring journey by Marigona, Gladi, Afet, Shkodran, Yul, and Albert. Our first stop was a Serbian roadblock on the outskirts of the city.

Serbian Roadblock just outside of Mitrovica

On our way into the city we stopped at a memorial site. I didn’t really catch who the site was for but I got pictures 🙂

Memorial Site
Mitrovica, Kosovo

Memorial Site
Mitrovica, Kosovo

Soon after arriving at the memorial site, we were kindly asked to leave because someone had seen our Albanian license plate. This was our first taste of the tensions in Mitrovica. When we got to the city, we saw how serious the situation was.

Serbian roadblock in the middle of the city. It separates the Serbian side from the Kosovar side. We were on the Kosovar side.

Very obvious sentiment

KFOR (Kosovo Force) and police were present to help keep the peace. (Somehow their toughness is lessened by the puppy…)

We quickly left the city due to the unsafe nature of the area. After a quick lunch we were off to our next stop, The Jashari Family Memorial.

My delicious cappuccino ❤

The Jashari Family Memorial
The youngest family member to be killed was a 7 year old girl.

Adem Jashari leader of the KLA

Part of what’s left of the Jashari Family home.
It was bombarded by Serbian forces during the massacre of the family in a bid to kill the KLA leader, Adem, in an attempt to squash the KLA rebels

May 25, 2012- Day 10 (Kosovo)

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Pristina, Kosovo

Today was spectacularly uneventful due to the 8/9 hour bus ride up the entire country of Albania and into Kosovo. One of the few exciting blips on this journey was when Dr. Weigand got in a little trouble with border patrol for taking pictures. Luckily it turned out not to be a huge deal and she got off with a slap on the wrist. We got into the capital city, Pristina, in the early evening and had just enough time to settle into our freezing hotel room before we were scheduled to go out and meet a good friend of Lori’s and refugee of the Kosovo War, Marigona Dulaku, some journalists Shkodran Gajraku and Afet Bela, and a former KLA member turned government official Yul (meaning Star, a very difficult but beautiful name). We had dinner and drinks with them at Corner, a fantastic restaurant, and then bar hopped for the rest of the night. We came back to the hotel tired, sweaty, and reeking of cigarettes, but these were only mere reminders of our fun time dancing at the clubs.

Our hotel in Pristina, Kosovo