Balkans – End

The Balkans are a fascinating, very diverse region in Southeast Europe which had to deal with a lot of conflicts in recent history – the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the resulting Yugoslav wars made it almost impossible to travel the region from 1991 to 2001.

A lot has changed since those darker days and most of the countries are back on track, the reconstruction is in its final stages and the tourism is on the rise. Changes can also be seen in the countries which haven’t been affected by the wars – Bulgaria became part of the EU, developed it’s infrastructure and is seeing an economic growth, even though this growth decreased recently.

Learnt so much about the Balkans during the trip. I find it so rewarding knowing that this was a region previously so foreign, so completely unknown to me. But now I know just a little teeny bit better.

Yay! Done with this!

Pristina, Kosovo

The cold of the winter was setting in. I stuck to my phone camera somewhere along this part of my trip. 
 
 
 
 
Kosovo has a pretty complex history I’d briefly read about before my arrival. The newest country in Europe, it declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognise its sovereignty though. 
Things are still going on between the Serbia-Kosovo border.
 
I was not able to enter Serbia through Kosovo; one would have to exit Kosovo and enter Serbia from another point. This is because Serbia still sees Kosovo as part of their territory. 
 
Interesting conversations with Bris, one of my favourite CS hosts because of the way our conversations so fluidly jumped from one topic to another –
Countries and borders and identities and self-others to solidify one’s identity, concretizing differences to maintain one’s sense of self
Religious- tolerant in Kosovo, harmonious 
‘Racial harmony day’ as an interesting concept
 
 

I read about how America had helped Kosovo in their movement towards independence. As a recognition of America’s efforts, the statue of Bill Clinton was erected somewhere near the main square. 

 
 

 recent riot 




food is pretty cheap


yummy food but my phone camera is not doing it justice

bread + sauce  / cheese / greek yogurt 


 

 

Contrast between the new and the old
 
we went into a mosque, in which bris kept laughing

 

 

Brisi got permission to take photos so I took them because 1. I am Asian 2. I am a sucker for prints and doors

 

 
The first sculpture was painted newborn. Every year they set a theme for it, last year it was eu or something and they had different countries’ flags and colours painted on it. This year, well, hmm..
 
 
​bye to this curious terrain



so fun :’) i had a really, really great and meaningful time here. not just learning about Kosovo but also having conversations that ranged a huge spectrum, and feeling somewhat sisterly at home.