Not a whole lot to see or do, but really interesting politically and historically
05.03.2013 - 06.03.2013
View Semester Break, pt. 1 on kmclean's travel map.
Our last stop on this leg of our trip was Pristina, mostly because it was the cheapest flight in the region back to Germany at 20 euros with easyjet, but it’s also really interesting to see these places since things change and develop so fast. There wasn’t really must to see in the city, but it’s such a young city and country that not much is really developed for tourism yet. Recently a couple of hostels have opened up, so it’s great that cheap travellers have a couple of options other than the hotels built for diplomats and foreign workers. We only spent a day here, but it was enough to get a feel for the city, and long enough for me.
The city is pretty poorly connected, and like Sarajevo really the only way in or out is by airplane or bus. There are a couple of trains that come to the city from Skopje in Macedonia and Belgrade, but other than that it’s pretty much only long bus rides. We arrived on an overnight bus from Sarajevo, although it was a little less comfy than our overnight bus trip in Turkey. The overnight buses really aren’t as bad as I was expecting, but if you can help it I guess it’s better to avoid them. Sometimes, and often in the Balkans, it’s the only option. I guess nobody's really that eager to cooperate and (re-)build international train connections. We had a hard time finding our hostel, and once we checked in it took a while to get a key, but eventually we made it out of the hostel and went into the city.
There’s not a whole lot to see for attractions, but the city is still really interesting. There’s a statue and a 3 story portrait of Bill Clinton, and one of the main streets in the city is named after him, for his role in helping Kosovo gain independence. There’s also a huge UN and foreign military presence, who are there monitoring things for now. It was different seeing UN and EULEX tanks and trucks driving around. There were even quite a few German and Swiss soldiers on our flight who were on a Kosovo monitoring mission in the region.
The city was pretty brown, and most of the roads are in pretty rough shape. There are metal bars sticking up out of the pavement, and open manholes to watch out for. I guess the thing to do is just get a coffee and watch the people go by. We spent our time wandering around and drinking coffee, and in the end it was definitely a city worth seeing. It’s always interesting to see how a new country can start from nothing and work toward making it on it’s own.