In retrospect, I am not quite sure why Kosovo seemed to be such appealing destination. Part of the drew us there must have been the fact that such a place is so rare in Europe. A disputed territory! In the middle of our route! And although it is severely hidden in Serbia, we took the bus and arrived in Priština around midnight. During the first walk we took that night, the city looked very quiet and the next morning we discovered why: Priština is a non-place, a city where the squalor has been hastily covered with brand-new buildings, highways and street lamps. This gives it an extremely artificial air, best embodied in the statue of Bill Clinton, which looks like a caricature of the president. Kosovo uses the Euro so it is very obvious just how cheap everything is. Shops look weird at best, often empty or clearly uneconomical. Pizza shops are a very big thing, they have popped up at every street corner. There is an occasional vehicle from the United Nations, otherwise it is miserly quiet, eerily empty and just plain odd. An American tourist we met at our hostel summarized the experience of being there over a cup of tea: “I can barely remember it but I’ll never forget”.
After a day in Priština, we walked to the bus station and left, passing a beautiful landscape full of half-finished buildings, Albanian flags and a rest stop with two taxidermal bears. The border guard stamped our passports so we now have a lasting souvenir.