Pristina, city of roadworks

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Velania Guesthouse

Flag of Serbia  , Komuna e Prishtinës,
Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kosovo is pretty young as far as countries go (or not yet born, if you ask Serbia) and the frenzy of building has hit the capital, Pristina. We walked into the city from the spot on the side of the highway where the bus dropped us off, spending the whole walk looking for the main road amidst all the rubble - turns out that rubble was the main road. Our clue was the 3 storey high poster of Bill Clinton, and the gleaming gold statue of his (sort of) likeness - the road is named in his honour.

We attempted to visit the city museum - a grand Austro Hungarian building advertising exhibitions and not deigning to be open, despite us actually turning up during opening hours. We were reduced to strolling the pedestrian streets instead - people obviously have a good memory of winter here as they take summer, and the outdoor opportunities it provides, very seriously.

The town of Gadime is 20km from Pristina and therefore requires about an hour and a half an two buses to get to. The town itself consists of a few houses, a tourist restaurant and a ticket office for the main attraction - Gadime cave. The cave is filled with interesting formations and crystals although we didn't get a chance to photograph them as we were promptly joined onto a tour in Albanian, with occasional translations into English that set the whole Albanian group into giggles. The tour guide hurried us around, asking for our camera every few minutes to photograph us and putting his arm around Bevan and calling him brother and thanking him for everything Australia has done for Kosovo (evidently I need to do more reading to find out what that might have been).

Back in the city, we saw some more examples of the building frenzy. A huge church, with freshly concreted domes and a shiny golden cross stands in a park, completely empty, surrounded by razor wire to keep people out. On the main street, a crowd had gathered to watch the progress on a multistorey building, where the dodgy loading of the crane saw an entire pallet of bricks shower down from 5 storeys up...

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Candice Patterson on

Don't you remember the Kosovo Conflict in 1999, we had a whole shipment of displaced kosovans come and stay in Perth - they got pocket money and everything :)

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