13th May 2015 – Pristina, Kosovo
In a newborn country, I find myself today.
So new, that youth oozes from its every pore.
And a monument to herald it, stands proud.
Carrying with it a story. The stuff of lore.
I left Belgrade today morning for a new destination. I was about to type country, but then I am unsure about representing it.
(Note: Calling Kosovo a country is only to make documentation easier on my blog. I am not endorsing the right of Kosovo as an independent nation, and neither am I against it. I do not take any sides. I am just a guy that is not home.)
The last time I was here in Belgrade back in February, I wanted to visit Kosovo. But I also had to return back to Belgrade then for my flight, and there was a catch. You see, I can cross from Belgrade to Pristina easily, and there are many buses that ply this route daily. Only point to note: I will not get an exit stamp on my passport at the Serbian border, because Serbia does not recognise Kosovo to be another country.
What’s the big deal with an exit stamp, you ask? Well, without one, you cannot return back to Serbia! So, to keep it short, its easy to cross from Serbia to Kosovo. But returning from Kosovo to Serbia, is near to impossible.
So, this time, it worked out perfectly. Even though I am in love with Serbia, I have no intention of coming back here in the near future. So, the plan was to head to Kosovo, and from Kosovo to continue on towards Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
I took a bus by 12 noon, and enjoyed the bus drive past the pristine mountain views of Serbia. The border was a little tense affair, as I could not even step out of my bus to get a cigarette, which I normally do at all Balkan border crossings. So, no exit stamp from Serbia. But I did get an entry stamp from Kosovo without any hassles. And I was here!
After reaching the bus station in Pristina by 6 pm, I started walking towards my hostel quickly, before the sunlight started to fade. The only pause on the way, was to click the ‘newborn’ monument.
Created by Ogilvy Kosova, this was the monument which announced the independence of Kosovo on 17th February 2008, being unveiled on the very same day when the declaration of independence was made. Initially painted yellow, then the different flags of countries that recognised Kosovo as a nation. But now, it is filled up with graffiti.
Yesterday, I loved graffiti. Today, I hate it.