Where did the lights go??

Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
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Trip End Aug 15, 2008


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Where I stayed
Velania Guest House

Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Monday, July 31, 2006

The capital of the troubled Kosovo region of Serbia (for the moment, at least; a referendum on independence is on the cards following the separation of Montenegro) is perhaps not the most scenic of cities. Some might say it's really quite ugly. Me, for one. However, for the transport connections to the rest of the region, it provided a good base for some day trips, and the Velania Guest House has to be the most comfortable place I have yet stayed. To have my own room, my own double bed for a few days made it very, very difficult to get up in the mornings. Even with the slight inconsistancies in mains power (it seemed to go off for a few hours every evening, leaving us struggling to have lights and cook off the pained-sounding generator), it has to be one of the best deals around.

I explored town a little each afternoon after returning from the various day trips I made. There really is very little to see in town, although someone did see another statue of Mother Teresa somewhere. I failed to find it, but one of the main arteries running through town was named after her. The other was named for Bill Clinton. Strange, who they choose as the local heroes.
In fact, it seems the main sight in Prishtina is the armed forces. There's a lot of them here. As in, it's pretty much impossible to walk down any street anywhere even vaguely near the centre without seeing at least one vehicle (armoured or otherwise) full of police, UN personnel or KFOR (Kosovo Force). The contrast with Sarajevo is quite distinct. There you would see soldiers, but they very rarely seemed to have anything to do, and everyone seemed to be living quite peacefully with one another. Here, there's a very real sense of tension about the place. It seems the security is actually needed. I guess the conflict here was just that much more recent, and there has been no real conclusion to the troubles. If independence is granted, I somehow can't see that being the end of the difficulties, not least for the Serbs still living here. I doubt the more extreme parties in Serbia would let it go so easily, either. The current state of being (I hesitate to call it 'peace') is only maintained by the outside forces present, but I can't see much hope for the place when they leave.
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