This is part of the twelfth section of our around
the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Montenegro or read about our previous visit when it was Yugoslavia
1/11/06 The former state of Yugoslavia was divided into five smaller countries in the 1990's. A couple of years ago Yugoslavia changed its name to Serbia and Montenegro, with Montenegro recently voting to become an independent country. Following ethnic fighting between Serbians and Kosovars in 1999 a UN-NATO protectorate was set up to govern the Kosovo section of Serbia. Since then it has been run virtually as a separate country with the Kosovars seeking independence and the Serbians wanting to retain the territory. The last couple of years has seen a more stable situation with building and reconstruction occurring. Like so many of the successful international security situations the media does not cover them as much as it highlights the more unsuccessful ones. We received an UNMIK (UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) stamp in our passports on entering and needed to purchase motorcycle insurance, 20 Euro, as no other insurance is valid in the region. There were the expected bombed out houses where ethnic cleansing and retaliation has occurred. There are police road blocks and a KFOR presence but we saw nothing but relaxed officers, certainly much more relaxed than on our recent visit in Algeria. Kosovo uses the Euro for its currency and prices here are almost half what we have been paying recently for food and accommodation. On the outskirts of Pristina we took a room in the Hotel Aviano for 30 Euro with breakfast. A comfortable room with heating, ensuite and satellite TV. During the evening the local young crowd moved through the bar and restaurant dressed in the latest fashions from Europe. Clothing in this region is more important than the type of motorcar or house owned. To dress well is the priority.
2/11/06 Yesterday was the first day we felt winter rapidly closing in. As if the first of November was the start. Frosts in the hills and snow roadside on the mountain pass. Today we awoke to light rain which turned to sleet and snow before breakfast and decided our staying another night here. It is still a long way to Eastern Turkey with high mountains in that region before we get to warmer Iran. The hotel is incredibly friendly, although most people are reserved. This is the part of the world where the tall, straight backed, strong jawed male lives. Almost everyone fits that description. With it comes the individual independence of the region and unfortunately a strong will.
3/11/06 The snow falling had cleared to a weak sunny morning
around town was covered with the heavy dusting. We had decided to try
get our Iranian visa at their embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, this
needed to leave early. There were patches of ice on the road,
particularly on bridges and over culverts or where water had flowed
across the road and was now frozen. It was a slow cautious 100 km's,
downhill, with the roadside snow gradually disappearing. UNMIK just
waved us through the border as
Move with us to Macedonia or go to our next visit to Serbia