a country in between …. kosovo

“We must take care of our families
wherever we find them.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

on great wings

There is NO IKEA in Kosovo!!!!!!

I haven’t seen that much of Kosovo more around the area I stayed with my “family” from Landskrona at their summer house in Vushtrri and Pristine, but I have seen and taken part of is it a very amazing and strange setup.

Everything from the war is gone, all the burned down and destroyed buildings are all cleared. The sad thing is that the capital is without hardly any history. A mosque and a clock tower, that is all. It’s only 16 years since Kosovo was in the war and totally flatten.road view

Kosovo is a country that tries very hard to recover, but it hasn’t managed to the full. It’s like the money is all gone. Same in the villages and countryside plenty new build house, but they are not finished or people live in them, but some floors are not finished and the outsides have nothing been done to.

During the summer returns nearly every family that had a chance to escape the war. Can see it on all the luxury cars on the roads, German and Swedish most of them, but also Switzerland, Belgium, and Nederlands. I didn’t meet one local that didn’t have relatives in Sweden.typical new family house

They have all big houses in Kosovo in the area where they have relatives and family … and they return for a couple of summer weeks every year. First to visit family and then they take off to Albania for a holiday by the ocean.
There are very high present of EU, UN, US Aid, NATO and of course soldiers, mostly from Italy, Germany, France and US. Sweden only has a few left for administration. Passed the French camp a couple of times.serious heels

All government buildings are new and slightly high and there is plenty of them in Pristine city center. There is embassies from most countries and US are just building a new big like a baseball stadium.
Kosovo are trying very hard to get there, but I don’t think there is money for everything and just now they spend a lot of money to get all roads in order and also highways.plenty around

The people is just amazing, they work hard … most shops open around 7 am and open into midnight. And average salary is around 200€, but everyone is well dressed even out in the villages. There are some elderly ladies that still are dressed the traditional way, but I have only seen a few.cousins

People are welcoming, friendly, so generous with themselves and what they own. They have so big heart. There is no limit to their hospitality. Suddenly I have a massive family in Kosovo that I’m welcome to visit whenever I want. It feels fantastic.

One evening between the 2 wedding was I invited to the families relatives that live up in the mountains. What a feast!!! We must have been about 30 adults plus 15 children. Eating and dancing outdoors until the sun went down.on guard

I asked about why all men sit together and it’s because they want to talk about Men-stuff. There was a very clear rank order at the tables. Men first, then the most important ladies (I was one of them) then the rest of the ladies, teens and children.beautiful setting

It’s a group of 3 family houses + a barn, two house are own by two uncles that live also in Landskrona and the 3 belong to the brother that have stayed behind and have a little farm … two cows, chickens … his wife does an amazing cow milk cheese that tastes far better any Feta cheese. The two brothers that live in Sweden make sure that he and his family survives. Families are so important and everybody looks after each other.

In Kosovo the coffee, watermelons and tomatoes have more taste than anywhere else.

I feel so privileged to have been taken into their families and that they accepted me as one of theirs.

My days in Kosovo was very intense, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I so glad that I decided to come.

And I hope that I will be able to return in a couple of years time to visit my “big family” again.loads of fresh air

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26 thoughts on “a country in between …. kosovo

  1. A wonderful blog Vive. What you have written shows Kosovo in a new light. I admit that all I would have thought about previously,was the Civil War, and to be truthful, that is what would have put me off going there.

    Any time I do see posts about Kosovo, they are generally negative, but yours comes across as being largely positive. I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself.

    • Barry, there is loads of problems in Kosovo like in any poor country … but I had an adventure of my life and I was so welcome anywhere … and they really made me feel like a member of the family and the family are massive.
      It’s terrible what happen during the Civil War there and loads of scars yet, but the people are working so hard to leave that behind. There will be more posts about the weddings and Pristine too.

      • I’m sure there are still a lot of problems in Kosovo. But to go somewhere like that, and receive that kind of warmth and hospitality, even if the people, and perhaps the infrastructure, are struggling. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? 🙂

        I look forward to reading about the weddings and Pristina. Sounds like you had a real adventure. 😀

      • Barry …. it was so intense and mad … but it was filled with hearts and souls .. and loads of care. Plenty tantrums, dancing and tiaras.
        The country is corrupt in the top … meet a Dutch man that had been living in Pristine 8 years and was working for EU with ecomoncy crimes, but they can’t do anything because EU and UN wants stability in the country and if they remove people in top … they don’t know who will take over.

  2. You have written a lovely post, Vivi…clearly you were made very welcome, and this comes across well. I have always found the poorest people are the most generous…..

  3. I remember when I used to hitchhike along the Adriatic coast in Yugoslavia times with another girl. If the car was a Yugo, not much space inside but running fast, and the driver complained of hard times but then bought us dinner, cigarettes and coffee, he was from Kosovo. And never any misbehaving either. I’ll never forget that. Lovely memories and your post.

  4. Fascinating .Viveka. I visited the coast of what was then Yugoslavia, in 1968 and it does sound as though things have changed. I thought it was a beautiful country although the war may have changed it, certainly in Dubrovnik there were wonderful old buildings. When we went there, the people were not too friendly but some of that was because of WWII and because my mother and I looked Germanic.

    • Dubrovnik wasn’t damaged by the Civil War … they have all their old history yet. Where we stayed there was not one whole building standing. Everything was more or less burned down and people was slaughtered. 20.000 women was raped. Kosovo is a very wounded and still … they welcomes everyone. Amazing!!!

  5. My Husband worked as a UN Peacekeeper in Kosovo for 2 years in 1999-2001. He was based in Mitrovica. It was right after the war and still a lot of tension and problems there. He’d like to go back and see how things have changed in the last 15 years. I’ll be sure to show him your photos.

    • Wow, Mitrovica is the closest town to where we were only a couple of minutes away with car. And that area was really damaged. There is no tension now what I understand .. Serbs are living in the area too now. I think people are so busy to build up their lives and country so they don’t bother so much about the past, but talking to the people there .. they all said that it was the best thing that the country was split up. There was to much tension before.

  6. I love that you now have your very own ‘family’. 🙂 They seem to me just like my own Polish family, Vivi. It says a lot for the Swedish people that they have given homes to so many whose lives were in ruins. Hugs, darlin. I love the way you can fit in anywhere! Did you have any language problems?

    • Jo, thanks for you lovely comment … didn’t have any language problems as such .. there was always somebody that was talking Swedish around. The father (Puff) of the family had his sister staying with us for a couple of nights and I wish I had been able to talk to her on my own. She is such beautiful person with the most wonderful smile. And sometimes she sat on the side on her own.
      In Pristine everybody spooks English in shops, restaurants, hairdresser … and hotel.
      Yes, that is one thing I’m proud over that it’s that Sweden always has open their borders for them that need to escape from fear and war.

  7. A very moving account of the warmth you experienced in Kosovo, which your photos reflect. Also your grasp of what’s going on there. I particularly love the sun-filled photos of your walking date and the two young girls in traditional clothes. I’m so glad Turkey didn’t get in your way.

    • Meg, it was a very moving experience the stay. That family get together up in the mountains was very special to me. Thanks for your lovely comment. Turkey will happen next spring … I hope.

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