I think I mentioned I lived in Pristina for around 9 months and had quite a good time learning about the country, its people and cultures. What a fascinating place I learned quickly. As a whole it’s quite conservative and although friendly I found it a challenge to walk up and start a conversation with a female. Seems that although it’s possible depending on where you are, say a public place it’s possible to ask questions but quite often there are language barriers as English doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as elsewhere although there are pockets within the population where this is possible.
Like I said earlier, the people are generally friendly and accommodating but the location and surrounding activity will influence whether or how helpful they area. Nevetheless, I quite enjoyed my attempts to communicate with a few exceptions, the people would at least point to someone who could help me.
I spent time, from several hours to a day or more in many of the cities within Kosovo like Ivanijica, Ferizaj, Leposavic, Skenkeraj, Mitrovice, Prizren and Peje to name a few of the major ones. Each city was somewhat unique in the level of activity and diversity of cultures (Albanian and Serbian) and I found the whole experience unique and quite interesting. Many of the little villages are suspicious of outsiders but welcoming of Americans or Westerners if you’re in an Albanian area. If you find yourself in a Serbian controlled area they were generally distant and not all that interested in helping although they would sell me things when I was shopping.
I saw mosques, churches, museums, cathedrals, wineries and liquor production facilities that seem to be popular. I think the drink is called Rakia which is a fruit brandy popular in the Balkans. There are a variety of types made out of everything from honey to prunes or basically whatever fruit or resource is locally available.
I visited a few of the battle sites from the events that took place during the 1990s making sure I was sensitive to all the sites and did not disrespect the locals. The entire country still bears the scars of war and I found quite a number of buildings and houses that had been destroyed.
As the country continues to develop and loosen the grip of outsiders it will be fascinating to see what transpires and this landlocked country evolves into independence.
Ready for a ton of pictures: