Breaking up the journey

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


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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Friday, August 4, 2006

Having managed to quite successfully break up the longer bus jaunts in Albania by visiting smaller towns en route to my destination, I thought I would try to do the same in Serbia. There turned out to be some problems with this. Most importantly, the fact that as Serbia doesnt recognise Kosovo as an independant territory, and the borders into Kosovo are UNMIK (UN mission in Kosovo) controlled, I didnt receive a Serbian entry stamp in my passport. Not a problem when travelling into Serbia from Kosovo, it would have meant trouble when then attempting to leave Serbia. After having checked with the UK representative in Kosovo (a consulate by any other name), I resigned myself to travelling back to one of the few places I had absolutely no desire to return to - Skopje. At least I only had an hour to wait before my bus to Nis, but it did mean I didnt get there until nearly 3 in the afternoon, despite having caught the first bus at 7 in the morning.

After all that, I spent all of 3 hours looking around town (having first left my bag at the tourist info place - they really are quite helpful!). I had considered spending the night, but there really wasnt much to encourage me to stay. Most of the town seemed to be recent (ugly) development with only one real "attraction", depending on how much a tower of skulls appeals to you.
Kula Cela, a fairly gruesome pillar, was erected when the Serbs were still at war with the Turks (quite some time ago) by the Turkish warlord after a large battle (1000 Serb and 10000 Turk deaths) to serve as a warning to any other Serbs who might consider going against his rule. I cant help but feel British politics might be in a very different state if Tony adopted this policy.
Unfortunately, only the base of the tower now remains and less than 60 of the skulls are still in place. I can imagine it must have been quite a sight in its full (gory) glory.

Also the birthplace of Emporer Constantine (the one who brought Christianity to the Roman Empire), I could have visited the ruins of his birthplace. However, they were some 4 km outside of town and it would have meant spending the night in Nis, so I didnt bother, lazy traveller that I am. Instead, I jumped on a bus to Belgrade.
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