GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
The Republic of Kosovo is a disputed territory, but its is govern as a Parliamentary republic. It covers 10.908 square kilometres and is the home of 1.859.203 citizens. The majority; 96,5% are Muslims.
The currency is Euro, worth 7,46 Danish Krone. The GDP is US$8.315 billion.
It has a humid continental climate with Mediterranean and oceanic influences.
The biodiversity is quite rich, and among the larger mammals are the Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus), Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) and Boar (Sus scrofa). The flora is also rich, although I fail to find any I will be looking for in particular.
Then the road leads into some green and gentle mountains, and it sure look better. The road is real bad at first: Potholes, fallen rocks and missing lanes. But a new one is being made, and it seem like a better part of it, will be as a bridge.
Never mind where I drive, some construction is going on. In the countryside, it is tubes, bridges and roads. In the towns, it is buildings and roads. As it is Friday in a Muslim country, nothing is happening, but it seems like the heavy machinery and materials are being used.
I have not been lucky with the weather: Dark clouds and occasional rain. Some roads are really flooded, some gravel roads are laying on the sealed road by now. The rivers are red by clay. Some fields are completely flooded.
Here are not that many flat areas, but those there are, are farmed. A lot of vegetables, some grains and surprisingly; a lot of raspberry. There are only few houses outside the villages and hardly any in the mountains. The towns are small, and not that charming, as most are fairly new houses. There are huge piles of firewood in many places.
road pass into the green mountains several times, and in one ravine, I find
a rather large cascade. The water is clear, and it look great.
A narrow gorge have just room enough for the river and road, and the tall, vertical walls look impressive. Then I reach Prizren, which should be an old town. Well, here might have been a town for may years, but here are hardly any old buildings left.
I park next to the river, and do a long walk in the city. Their centrepiece is being renovated, and I can't talk my self into visiting the huge fort on the mountain too. Here are numerous restaurants along the river, but all are closed. Here are actually hardly any people, and that make the city less attractive.
I set the GPS for Monastery Visoki Decan, and head up a huge and fertile valley. Small fields with everything from raspberry to corn and vegetables. Here are several smaller cities, and it seems like the major industry is chop-shops. I could do with a front indicator, but they are all closed.
I stop at a river, which have dug it self deep into the limestone. Here are several interesting plants and some bright green lizards. The next bonus-stop is at an ancient bridge. I love these old constructions, and this is a gem. Pretty intact, elegant and long.
Where the bridge lead over a dry river, the next town are flooded. On the other side, I find vine fields and a new, but rather classic church. A long line of houses in the next little town start as city houses, but the last ones have a lot of cattle and are farmhouses - although they are just alike. I only see a few cows on the fields, but quite some big herds of sheep.
Just before I reach Monastery Visoki Decan, a military post make a note of my number plate. I think the soldier look kind of Nordic, and get the explanation at the next control post: KFOR. They are here to protect the monastery. It actually look like the entire monastery is a military post, but they remain outside.
I have to hand in my passport to enter. Inside the barbwired walls are a absolutely lovely area with a huge, nicely cut lawn with a little creek running across. It is surrounded by different buildings, and in the middle is a church. It look fairly new, but it is from the 14the century.
A young man approaches me, and ask if I want to see the church. It is absolutely fantastic inside. All walls and sealing are decorated with over 1000 paintings, and it is illuminated gently. Where many of these old paintings have a childish design, these are really good. One show Jesus with a sward; the only in the world. I'm not aloud to make any photos, but my right index-finger is a bit trigger-happy.
From here, the tour leads to Peja and its amassing bazaar. Well, except on Fridays, it seems. I have it all to my self., and that kind of spoil the fun. I do a loop around the bazaar and the town, but fail to find anything interesting. The most striking feature in the town might be; half of the parking spaces are reserved to taxis.
Out to the green hills are sheep, under the real dark clouds. Next sight is another monastery; Gracanica. It is found in a little town, and not that heavy guarded. The layout is pretty much the same, but the centre church different outside. It have many narrow windows, all the way down to the ground.
Inside, it is pretty much the same: Dark paintings all
over - except the many places the plaster have gone. No Photos again, and I
only bother to make one. I see a bit of the surounding town, but it is still
Prestina is a rather young capital, and it lack a lot of the dignifying features. However, with the activity going on, it will be nice within a few years. My hotel is right next to the market - which is Friday closed. I walk a tour around town, and find the main pedestrian street. It is vide, new and lined with mainly residential buildings.
central square have a great fountain and a United Colours of Benetton shop.
A line of restaurants and little more. I find some of the old houses - or
ruins just around the corner along with some fine looking mosques.
16/6. I skip the included breakfast, as I have a long drive ahead - and prefer my own müsli anyway. The marked is disappointingly enough not awake yet, ad I head towards the border. There is a fault smell in the car, and it is only in the evening I realises; it is the open can of beans that haven't made it two days. Here are two toll roads, and at the border, I am left with €1,5 in local dinars. I give it to a guy who finally tells me; the line for EC members will not be opened.
I have seen what I came for, and despite the bad weather most of the time, it have been nice. The country is in the middle of a fast development, and I think it will catch-up with some of the western neighbours soon. The nature is nice and really unspoiled, and the people smiling and friendly.
I have driven 327 kilometres, taken 261 photos and spend only €35 - and some diesel, worth around €10. It is not a country I have to return to soon. From here, I head back through Macedonia to get to Serbia.