Kosovo Notes 2015

8 April 2015

Monday was a long day, with a bus from Cambridge to Heathrow that left at 1 am and a flight via Vienna that left London at 6 am and arrived in Pristina at noon. From the airport we drove an hour or so to Prizren, where we spent the rest of the day and night with them. Prizren seems a fairly quaint old town, nestled beneath the snowy hills and dotted with mosques and churches and threaded with cobbled paths.

Now, I am writing from the downstairs room of Indira’s childhood home in Peja. Outside, the sun is shining and the skies are showing the first patches of blue since I arrived on Monday, two days ago. The room is cosy, heated by a wood-burning stove. Last night, we fell asleep to the crackle of the burning logs and the flicker of flames. I am happy to be here, meeting Indira’s family and discovering the place where she grew up.

Yesterday, we walked around Pristina’s central square and visited the NEW BORN sculpture, which gets painted with different colours and designs every year – such a wonderful symbol, reminding us that transformation is not a one-off event; we must be born again and again and again, constantly renewing ourselves. There a statue of Mother Theresa in downtown Pristina. Not many people know that she was Albanian.

In the evening, we had dinner at the Symphony restaurant with Indira’s niece and her husband, who is a well known musician in Kosovo. As always, I am attracted to the arts, feeling some kind of natural affinity.

I look forward to exploring Peja over the next few days, especially walking or driving in the mountains. Right now, Indira is making pancakes and I can hear a goat bleating from one of the neighbour’s yards.

10 April 2015

Yesterday, we took a drive through the spectacular gorge of the Acursed mountains of Peja. It truly is scenery to fall in love with. The previous day, we walked the 4 km path along the river, past the old Catholic nunnery. In the afternoon, we had lunch at Ujvara e Drinit. It was a wonderful family get-together in another beautiful spot in nature. After lunch, we walked up to a gushing waterfall.

Later in the evening, we watched a football match (Barcelona was playing and beat the other side 4-0). On our way out of Peja yesterday, we stopped to visit Indira’s mom’s grave, which has nice views of the mountains. In the afternoon, after arriving at Prizren, we drove into the mountains to the Sharri Hotel. The snow is still thick there and we enjoyed more spectacular views. Today, we will have breakfast in town and take a little walk before heading to the airport.

I am really pleased that I have visited Kosovo now. I look forward to coming back often; perhaps even owning a little piece of paradise in the mountains.

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